I’m feeling a little under the weather today and was finding it difficult to paint. Nothing seemed to interest me and I was a little lost, which made me think of a compass, so that’s what came out today. In a world of traveling that relies mostly on the GPS in smartphones, there’s something wonderful about the beautiful simplicity of a compass. I’ve been told I have a rather evolved internal compass when it comes to finding my way around new places. When traveling with friends, I was usually the one they would turn to if we ever found ourselves lost. Yet today, my internal artistic compass seemed to be on the fritz at first. Then I remembered it works differently than this contraption. When it comes to an artist’s compass, “Due North” becomes simply “DO North.” So, I picked up my pen and began to draw.
It amazes me that after all this time of daily doodlewashing, I still have days where I just can’t bring myself to get started. But the second I have my pen in hand and start drawing, every worry fades away and eventually something always comes out. Granted, I may not love what comes out as much as something I made the day before, but I always love that I succeeded in making something. I’ve never known if I actually have a true muse as some writers and artist’s do. I’d love to think that I did, but more often than not, I’ve found that it’s more a matter of turning to my internal compass and letting it gently tell me, “Draw something. Anything. Move forward. DO North!” We all have that little voice inside our head telling us how we might fail, but this little voice comes from inside the heart.
I love sketching and painting and on days like this one, when I’m tired and exhausted, it’s easy to think I’ll just skip it today. But not doing something you love every day you possibly can feels like a miss somehow. And when we really want to do something, we can always find the time to make it happen. Maybe this is the day the sketch feels like a failure, or maybe it’s that wonderful day that feels like breaking through to something new. The only way to know for sure is to try, and see what happens next. Listening to my internal compass I know I will always end up moving in the right direction. Especially on the days when I feel like doing nothing at all. Grabbing my pen, I travel inside my sketchbook waiting for that little voice to move me forward. DO North!
About the Doodlewash
M. Graham Watercolors: Quinacridone Gold, Pyrrol Red, Ultramarine Blue, and Neutral Tint. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon sepia ink and second pen with black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal.
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!