Choosing a single favorite song is an impossible task to be sure. So much depends on your mood and the particular time period that you’re living through at the moment. I jumped back to the 70’s for today’s doodlewash and just depicted the origin of my love of music itself. Cassette tapes were still considered experimental and the sound quality had just caught up with 8-track tapes. Those were those large cumbersome things that my dad was quite proud to have in his car when I was little. When we got a new car with a cassette player, my mother asked me what I thought of it and I told her that I hated it. She asked me why, and I simply said, “No more Ray Charles.” His soulful melodies, in my little mind, only came on that giant 8-track and the second I spied that new tiny slot in the dashboard, I knew that things had changed for the worse. But thankfully, we still had records that I could listen to and that was a lovely thing indeed. The record players were often made with handles as though they were actually portable, when in reality they never really left the room they were first plunked down in. They weighed a ton so it was easier to just enjoy the music wherever it landed.
When you’re a little kid, you don’t usually get to choose the music that gets played in the house, so you adapt to the tastes of your parents. In my case, and in the case of the early 70’s in general, folk music and singer/songwriter hits were still all the rage. I used to love listening to their beloved 60’s music as Peter, Paul and Mary sung Puff The Magic Dragon, although it would be years before I actually understood what the song actually meant. Beyond just listening to songs, I loved to sing along with them. I’ve no idea if I was any good back then, but years later I would actually sing professionally for a brief period, so the early practice must have helped. Songs had a way of speaking directly to my heart and, over the years, there would be new favorite songs depending on my mood. When I reached high school, the cassette tape had taken over completely and the fact that you could record your own tracks onto one was amazing. Getting a “mix tape” from a friend, or even better, a love interest, was the most incredible thing in the world. It was like getting a love note of recorded poetry, even though the songs were all written by other people. It was the choices of tracks themselves that made it special.
Fast forward to now, and it’s not surprising that watercolor holds the same affection for me. It’s unruly yet rhythmic movements express surprising emotions that still seem inevitable once they appear. Like the turning point of any great story. I don’t sing much anymore, save those odd times when I find myself driving alone in the car and hoping the people around me think there’s actually music playing. But, each day, I sit down for a brief little moment and enjoy the melody of watercolor. I’ve literally no clue what I’ll choose to paint, and even less clue as to what will appear on the paper. This, for me, is why it’s so much fun! I’ve never been a fan of knowing exactly what would happen next. I prefer to live life with a healthy appetite for surprise. Sure, I have a thousand dreams, but I know that I can’t actually force them to happen. I can, instead, make space in my life for the art of the possible to occur. Good things will always happen, when the time is right. Until then, I just keep moving forward and enjoying the moments that come my way. Each one, no matter how simple, becomes another note in the melody of life. In those beautiful moments, when they occur, I can say without a doubt, that it’s my favorite song.
About the Doodlewash
M. Graham Watercolors: Gamboge, Dioxazine Purple, Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Blue, Phthlocyanine Green, and Nuetral Tint. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black ink in an A6 Hahnemühle Watercolor Book.