For our prompt of “Wildflowers” today, my mind always travels back in time to summer days spent on my grandmother’s farm. The flowers are simply drawn from fragments of my memory and I’ve no idea what names they have. Yet, I can remember clearly the gravel road that I walked down and seeing flowers popping up all along the side. As an adult, I simply admire them, but as a kid I had to rush over and collect some to bring back with me. What I love about sketching stuff is that, in the process, I’m reminding myself of things I often forget in the rush and stress of everyday life. And while I could document what’s happening in front of me, my own form of travel sketching is more about time travel. In the case of collecting wildflowers, that’s something a bit more timeless. It’s something I could do right now, if I wanted to, but the heat and unhealthy foul air outside is keeping me indoors. But, with my sketchbook, I can still take that journey in my mind. I can travel just outside my window or, as I often like to do, much farther back in time to when I was a child. This has been the unexpected joy of my watercolor sketching habit. I’m creating new memories born out of ones that I’ve almost forgotten.
And as World Watercolor Month gets closer (just 54 hours or so for some parts of the world!), I’m excited to see every memory from now and then that each of YOU create! Whether we’re remembering the past or painting something that’s happening right in this moment, we’re all making history. Together, as we create things, we’re adding more beauty to a world that really needs it. We’ve always needed art in our existence, but I like to think that art will play an even more important role in the future. That unique brush stroke that we each make is invaluable. No robot could perfectly replicate it, making each stroke of paint incredibly special. And, as I always like to say, even if you’re just starting out, don’t worry about finding your style as it’s already there. What happens next is a journey of finesse and technique that transforms that style into the truest version of you there is. Never be shy about sharing that style with the world. I was at first, but did it anyway, and it’s made for such a thrilling adventure. I’ve made sketches that have totally bombed when it came to likes and/or comments, but there was always that one person who said, “I love this!” or at least gave me an emoji thumbs up. If I can make at least one person smile each day, then I know that what I’m doing is worth doing.
On a personal note, I now have a searchable diary here on Doodlewash.com. The one I told myself I’d keep when I was young, older, and now quite middle aged. I would try in fits and starts and never managed to keep a journal going for more than a couple of weeks. Today, I can’t imagine not showing up to share whatever little thing I made and my latest thought about the day. And yes, I do hope that people comment about what I just created. But, the thrill for me has always been the conversation. What I sketch and write is just a conversation starter. I place you, my lovely reader, in the middle of an idea that has no specific ending. I then ramble on about myself because that’s what I know best, but what I love most is learning about what you know. Those little bits of forgotten moments that lay along that road less traveled in our minds. We would all love to see vast improvement in the things that we make, and many of us may have big goals in place to make that happen. I myself, am still content in just showing up to make anything at all. I think it’s a rather miraculous thing indeed to sketch, paint and write each and every day. For me, it’s not a journey toward mastery, but simply a glorious and unexpected adventure of collecting memories.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Quinacridone Red, Terra Cotta and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black 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!
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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!