When I’m traveling, I always love to bring a book to read of some kind. I love the printed page and taking a physical book is always a joy, but most of the time, the book I ended up with wasn’t quite the one that I wanted in the moment. Once I’m in a new place, I never know exactly what type of mood I’ll actually be in until I’m there. In truth, even at home I have trouble sometimes finishing a single book before starting a bit of another one. I’ll sometimes have three stories going and eventually read them all until completion. It’s not surprising, I’m sure, to anyone who reads my blog as I tend to bounce around to various topics quite a bit. So, when traveling, I mostly use my Kindle instead now so I can be assured of having just the right story for the occasion. I almost added an e-reader on top of this doodlewashed stack for authenticity, but I still prefer the look of actual books much more. While I happily embrace technology, I love to keep plenty of analog things in my life to have a bit of balance. I’m not a robot, so having lots of things to enjoy that don’t always rely on batteries is a very wonderful thing indeed. But, no matter what form a book comes in, it’s the story itself that will either win me over or send me in search of something new. The story is the most important thing after all. That wonderful intangible journey that truly sparks the imagination.
Once when I was visiting Portugal, I landed there with a book that just wasn’t suiting my fancy. In the little hotel in which we were staying, they had a common area with a bookshelf full of books. I grabbed one of those instead and started reading it. I can’t even remember the story, but do remember that it was translated from French into English. I’ve no idea which previous patron decided to leave this book here, but I was thankful that they did. We had to leave to head to a new destination and I was only a few chapters in, so I left the book that I had brought and took this one with me. Looking back, I’m not even sure why I thought this might be okay, but I assume from the eclectic collection that that’s exactly how this little library had been curated in the first place. What I loved about the story that I ended up with, was that it was one I never would have chosen. It was, instead, one that chose be by being in the right place at just the right time. That’s always the most wonderful story of all.
For me, I think it’s always best to let your heart guide you whenever possible. You can plan and prepare all you like, but in the moment of actual doing, if the plan fails to ignite your passions, then move the heck on and find something that does! A plan isn’t like a promise. It’s just guess of what should happen next. Sometimes, we guess wrong. But that should never stop us from quickly resetting that plan to include something more exciting. We about to head into another art challenge in September, celebrating all of the special days that occur in the month, and they can be interpreting in a million different ways. And if you join in this little challenge, and don’t feel inspired by a particular day in the list, simply make up your own! When we try the crazy act of making art daily, the first ingredient to success is always creating whatever moves you most. If you feel an urge to create something, by all means follow that urge and take us down that wonderful path you just discovered. Art isn’t about following a strict plan, it’s simply about doing what feels best for you by choosing the right story.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Quinacridone Red, Bezimida Orange, Leaf Green, Terra Cotta, Ultramarine Blue and Indigo. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!