For our prompt of “Fish” today, I opted for a couple koi and painted them using lots of different colors. There’s a large koi pond at our local zoo and it’s mesmerizing and relaxing to watch these fish swim around. I have to push myself to move along and not spend the day there. Also, koi fish are said to symbolize luck and can also symbolize abundance and perseverance. I like the last one best, because perseverance is always the perfect path to abundance and feeling lucky, even when luck has little to do with it. Often in life, the best things simply come from a lot of dogged determination. This is certainly how I’ve approached my own art by just showing up each and every day to make a little something. There are many days where what I made doesn’t match what was in my head. I’d imagined a completely different result than what appears on my sketchbook page. This never bothers me in the least. And, more often than not, I liked what suddenly appeared there even more. So, that’s why my single greatest piece of advice continues to be, “show up and make something, no matter what!”
You’ll notice that I don’t qualify or describe what gets made. I never think about making something “beautiful” or “worthy” or “better than the last time.” I hope it turns out to be any of these things, of course, but it’s never, ever the goal. If it were, I doubt I’d show up at all as it would always seem a touch terrifying. Thankfully, what I’ve learned is that little improvements happen no matter what when I show up and make something. Some improvements are so microscopic that I have to go back and look at things I’ve sketched more than a year ago to truly notice them, but they’re always there. And that always makes me feel good. There’s no such thing as a waste of time, when it’s time spent doing something you love. And if that something is a creative endeavor, then the more you DO, the better you get. This is exciting to me! So, I just keep showing up with whatever little doodle happened each day. That said, if you want to get better at a specific subject matter faster, then focusing only on that helps. I haven’t painted fish in ages, so I’m not on any path toward mastery. But it’s fun to show up and try my hand at sketching them again.
I’m not sure if I’ll personally ever find that one subject matter that I’ll do on such a regular basis that I can speed my way toward perfecting it more. There are just too many things I want to sketch. So many different things that inspire what I write. And tonight, I’m enjoying a glass of wine with Philippe while he watches another documentary. This one is in French, so I only understand every fifth word, and can mostly just appreciate the pictures. But, this is our little life. It’s nothing incredible, and consists mostly of a burning joy for each new day. Each day is a chance to make a little more, dream a little more, and love a little more. And while I do dream of amazing things that might happen in the future, I would be remiss to ignore this very moment. Its significance can be difficult to spot, to be sure. Philippe and I are doing nothing remotely more interesting than last night. But it’s our night, and our own special way of living through life together. And, to me, that makes it the most incredible thing of all. So, it’s in these moments that I realize that I’ve managed to make the best dream of all come true. And, why I start each and every day, feeling lucky.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Quinacridone Red, Leaf Green, Opus (Vivid Pink), Cobalt Turquoise and Ultramarine (Green Shade). Staedtler Pigment Liners 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!