This winter has been unseasonably mild and although it was rather cold here today, there’s still no snow in the forecast. It’s only been officially winter for the past 8 days, but I always prefer snow early in the season. Getting a snowstorm on Valentine’s Day just doesn’t have the same festive feeling, but that’s far more likely. As a kid, getting snow early was the best thing in the world because it coincided with my winter break from school. I used to wish for snow all of the time so I could spend the day sledding. These days, when it snows, I rarely go out and play in it, preferring to admire it from the warmth of my home. It strikes me as funny that I would still long for snow in the same way, but no longer have the urge to run out of the house and jump into a pile of the stuff. My rational mind tells me that it will only leave me feeling cold and wet afterwards and so I now avoid it. Sometimes, my rational mind is total buzzkill. This year, I think I’ll be donning my boots and jumping in that snow, should it ever arrive here. Memories are wonderful, but sometimes it’s even better when you throw caution to the wind and just go ahead and become that child again.
In just a couple of weeks we’ll be heading back to Paris to visit Philippe’s side of the family. As ever, I’ve made no special preparations and will likely pack the night before we leave. It’s truly just a lovely family trip, though much farther away than when we visit my family in Texas. Our friends are oddly never envious when it comes to the Texas trip. And they should be as my family is quite fun! Though yes, Paris has been the setting of far more movies and does have a unique sense of magic and wonder. But, it rarely has snow, so it will most likely be a bit cold and rainy much of the time. Last year, our family there got a bit of snow and it was so much fun to see photos and videos of our niece, Alice, playing in it. Though much of my artwork is meant to evoke nostalgia, there’s no better way to be reminded of childhood than viewing an actual child enjoying the experience. Each little glimpse into that beautiful world is a gift for me. I study each reaction like one studies a class on painting to reconnect with that perfectly wondrous way of seeing the world. And as much as I think I live life with the spirit of my youth, I’m reminded that I’ve still much to relearn.
Since I’m the maker of regular challenges, I would like to issue another one in the coming year. If you’re reading this, I challenge you to not just think as a child might, but actually DO something only a child would. Something so silly and unexpected that your adult brain will chastise you every moment of the way, telling you to stop this nonsense immediately! I like to think my adult side as Mary Poppins. A seemingly strict voice that secretly wants me to play and get the most out of life. After all, the best way to get a child to do anything is to tell them that they shouldn’t do it. That’s why when I access my inner child, I get perfectly petulant and then say, “Oh yeah, I’ll take that dare!” It’s truly the most amazing mindset to have when it comes to creating art. Let’s face it, it’s not always easy to create something new. There have been hundreds of days for me now on this journey where I’ve simply wanted to give up and worried that what I was making simply wasn’t good enough. That it was silly and simple and nobody would care. But, no matter what, a handful of people always do care. And that’s more than enough to cheer me on! When you adopt the spirit of a child, you don’t need as much validation. Just a chance to truly take a chance and go running into a winter day and have some fun in the snow.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Vermilion, Quinacridone Red, Yellow Ochre, Terra Cotta, and Cobalt Blue. 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!