Today, I decided to doodlewash an old vintage camera because it has lots of little details and interesting perspective. I also wanted to try using only 3 colors. I love vintage cameras and my first foray into blogging years ago was as a photographer. At that time, I still hadn’t picked up a pen or a brush, and my introduction to watercolor was still years away. But, I was committed, and started my photoblog by posting a new photo each day for more than a year, hoping that through the process I would become an amazing photographer. I wanted my photos to look like the professionals I so admired. But they never did. I was kind of bummed out at the time, but looking back, I realize I simply had the wrong goal. So when I started with watercolor, I approached it with an entirely different goal: To simply have fun without ever worrying about the result.
Even after a year of painting, my goal has never changed. I don’t aspire to be a famous painter and I don’t hope for skills beyond what I naturally possess. The weird part is, unlike photography, this approach has made me a better artist. After a year of sketching and painting daily, I’ve actually gotten better and I can feel the difference when I go to sketch something. When I see something beautiful made my someone else, unlike those professional photos I used to fawn over, I no longer get impressed – I just get really inspired! It makes me want to try again the next day. And that’s all art is… that thing you tried one day. Sometimes you love your attempts and sometimes you don’t. But that’s what makes it so exciting!
I think if everything I did came out perfectly, I’d get bored and quit. That would feel like mastery, which has always felt like an end to the journey. I don’t want this journey to end, so I’m not hoping to achieve the hand of a master. I’m just happily hoping for those little surprises that come on that day when everything comes together. Sure, I’m hoping you’ll like it too when I share it with the world, but even if you didn’t it wouldn’t bother me. It would just make it more personal. That one, I would have to guess, was just for me alone. And that’s just fine. There’s always tomorrow. When, I might just make one you’ll love.
About the Doodlewash
M. Graham watercolors: Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Pyrrol Red. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal.
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