For our prompt of “Tools” today, I immediately thought of art supplies, of course. Truly, they’re the only tools I know how to use outside of a hammer. And, I’m not allowed to use that very often for fear of causing bodily harm to myself and others. My grandfather once tried to teach me to use farm tools, but quickly gave up after realizing I just wasn’t inclined to such things. But, the moment I held a pencil and started doodling, I was in love. I’d found the tool I loved most. Later, I would use that same tool for writing and discovered I had a love of that as well. Quite a versatile tool indeed. And today, of course, I use pens and paint brushes as well. I actually don’t own an easel, but since I used a cat as my stand-in today, I figured I should add one. For some reason, I just think a cat would demand one. Though, I’m quite content just making little doodles like this one in my sketchbook each day.

I can’t quite tell if this little cat is admiring a finished painting or trying to decide what the heck to paint in the first place. Indeed, the latter is always the hardest part. Even with our lovely prompts, some days, I just have no clue what to make. Despite all of the tools we use in art, the most important ones will always be our own imagination and creativity. In that magical place, we can find big ideas or just clever tiny ones. It might just be a little dab of color, used in a slightly different way, or something completely unexpected and totally different. Again, that latter one is probably the rarest thing of all. It’s a very exceptional day when all of the stars align to create something truly noteworthy. But, that’s never been my goal. In my mind, it’s simply enough to show up each day and create something. I get such a rush from making something each and every day. For me, at least, it fixes everything that sort of didn’t happen as I expected. Any little setback in the rest of my life is immediately made better when I’ve made a little sketch.

Sometimes, the idea of art therapy is described in terms of helping someone through something singularly challenging or even horribly tragic. But, for me, art has always been therapy. It helps me get through the little kinks of the day, so they don’t add up to become something that makes me sad. And, since you know I’m ruled by my inner child you probably won’t be surprised about what I’m going to say next. Focusing on something fun to DO, is the best thing we can do for ourselves. Truly, I’ve never once been disappointed in life when I stop to actually enjoy it. This, like most wonderful things, is easier said than done. There’s so much that needs to get done and so little time to make it all happen. But, we can make anything we imagine happen when we take that moment to once again pick up and use our creative tools.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Hansa Yellow Medium, Vermilion, Opus (Vivid Pink), Quinacridone Red,  Cobalt Turquoise, Terra Cotta, 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? Click here!
Cat Thinking Artist Easel Paint Watercolor Painting Illustration Sketchbook Detail

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32 thoughts on “Creative Tools

  1. Sometimes, we start doing something for fun and suddenly realize we’ve created so many rules and deadlines for it that it has become a struggle instead. Finding that place in-between is so important, where we make the time to DO, but keep it flexible enough and simple enough where DOing isn’t a constant hassle. Having worked so many years for an organization where I had to document every move I made, meet irrational deadlines and submit plans without knowing what the obstacles might be, I find myself falling into that mode. Now in retirement, there are times it comes in handy, because I’ll have already figured out what I need to do to have time to DO. But I also have to pull back and remind myself “This is Fun! If I’m not having fun, I’m not doing it right!”

  2. Cute kitty 🐱🐱🐱. I agree. I think the cat would demand an easel. haha I THINK he is trying to decide which of the pictures that he took with his cell phone to paint. Should he paint the embarrassing photo of the dog sleep/running or the squirrel hiding his nuts for winter (blackmail him or the cat gives out location info to other squirrels) or the nudie photo he took of his owner coming out of the shower, who didn’t take his blackmail demands seriously. haha haha Kitty revenge! By the way, your autumn leaf is gorgeous!

  3. Good essay. And truth. I’ve been artsy since I was little. It was encouraged by my mom who was artsy too. She didn’t do much until she was older, but then she too up painting. My dad did bird carving and yard art. It was a wonderful thing to do art as a teenager because it was a good way to stand out from the crowd. My school had an annual art show and pancake supper every year and we always went because I had something in the show. I’m pretty sure in hindsight that my dad hated pancakes for supper. But he went every year.

  4. Oh squeal!!!! This is so stinking cute. I have a thing for pictures of characters painting. I’ve picked up a few old valentines with child artists on them.

  5. Hello Charlie,

    Is the cat called Picasso – the famous feline artist? Or is he a serious art critic who after examining scores of paintings made by grown-ups has suddenly come upon a child’s artwork and is bowled over by the bold happy imagination? Thanks very much for your kind words yesterday. Yes, imagining stories about everything is definitely the best way to live. What would make it even better was if the stories unravelled themselves till the end. Its frustrating to be able to begin a story and get stuck midway. 🙁


  6. Adorable! Haha, people are the same with me and ‘proper’ tools funnily enough. I can’t say I blame them; I panic when I have to use a screwdriver, never mind anything else. I’m just waiting for things to go Mr. Bean levels of wrong!

  7. Love love love this!! and again the expression on the cat is priceless…And art supplies my favorite tools as well..thanks for supplying us with a wonderful way to express the creativity in all of us..when we take the time to DO it!!!

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