When it comes to flowers, I’m not really very experienced in painting them, since I rarely do. So today, I decided to mix things up a bit and use four M. Graham watercolors, two of which, Quinacridone Violet and Permanent Green Light, I’ve never once used before today. Lovely colors! One of my favorite bits of World Watercolor Month is that it inspires me to push myself a bit more and try new things. The effect today was a bit more moody than my typical candy colors, making me wonder about the story behind this little rose. Was it placed there as a gift for someone to find, or left lonely by someone who passed right by it. In many ways, when I dare to share my art each day, I place myself in this very story. When I was younger, I was terribly shy and putting myself out there was simply not something I would ever do. As an adult, I’m still rather shy, but I’ve learned that if I just push myself to show up and share something, even something that feels a bit personal, I can push past that shyness. And somebody, somewhere, will appreciate that I did. A simple exchange, like the gift of a flower.
My shyness was particularly at its peak in high school, even though I was a member of many different clubs and many times even one of the officers. As it turns out, my drive to try new things won out, no matter how nervous I was to start them. I remember my first year of high school. I really wanted to try out for the school musical, but the thought of actually doing so had me terrified. In truth, I had no idea if I could actually sing. Sure, the acoustics of a bathroom shower are stunning, and I had rocked many a tune while getting sprayed with water. But that was just me, all alone. To actually sing in front of an entire auditorium of people left me feeling, well, rather naked. While I was fretting about whether or not to give it a try, my dad in his typically blunt fashion said, “Do it. How else will you know?” This has always stuck with me over the years. It’s such simple and true advice. I was fretting about what might happen, but there’s only ever one way to find out for sure.
So, I began to trade shyness in for the pursuit of certainty. If nothing else, I just had to know what might actually happen next. How has this worked out for me over the years? Well, that all depends on how you look at life. In truth, my spontaneous impulse to just rush into things hasn’t always worked out exactly as I’d hoped. But I’ve never been left wondering what might have happened, and that, in the end is a rather amazing gift. And best of all, I’ve learned the things that I’m great at and the things that I sort of bungle my way through. But, I’m still doing all of it. And it doesn’t matter if I’m the best at any of it. What matters is that I’m enjoying myself along the way. The only things we shouldn’t do are the things that hurt ourselves or others. If there’s passion there, pursue it with all of the misplaced confidence you can muster! Don’t wait for anyone to tell you that you’re awesome, if you feel awesome doing something, you already are. All those new little experiences may not always turn into a lovely bouquet of flowers, but they are always guaranteed to produce beautiful blooms.
About the Doodlewash
M. Graham. Watercolors: Quinacridone Rose, Quinacridone Violet, Permanent Green Light, and Turquoise. 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!