These are actually the very shoes that I was wearing today. I kicked them off to make this sketch. They’re not new, but I still remember finding them that first time in Paris at a Le Coq Sportif shop. Getting new shoes is a rather transformative experience, opaqued only by getting new glasses. That sort of trumps things as you wear them ever single day and adopt a an entirely new persona in the process. But new shoes are up next, likely because we notice them more than we do other bits of clothing. You might not think about the shirt or pants you wore throughout the day, unless they’re incredibly tight or get that way just after lunch, but each step reminds you of your chosen footwear. This doodlewash of them probably doesn’t do these shoes justice as I had only a few minutes and just grabbed for three colors. They’re a burnt orange suede sneaker with stripes down the side and lighter orange laces. I pretty much just wear various forms of sneakers on a daily basis, saving my more adult shoes for a trip to the theatre. Adult shoes can be a bit boring, often simply black, so the majority of the time you’ll find me in multi-colored sneakers instead.
As I approach 50, my fashion sense is probably seen as a bit quirky. What could once be considered a hip thing to wear can quickly become the ensemble of a nutty professor. As my hair turns grayer, seemingly with each new day, I still don the footwear of my younger self. Not in an effort to appear more youthful, but simply because it’s the aesthetic I still prefer. In my mind, I’m still in my 30’s, happily bouncing from one thing to the next, and still so curious about the future. Then I look in the mirror and I see lines that weren’t there the day before. Mostly laugh lines, as I’ve spent much of my life laughing back at it, but other lines as well. I’ve considered getting a tattoo before, but my mind changes so much that I couldn’t possibly land on a specific theme. And truly, I consider those little lines that form on my face as organic tattoos. Designs that I didn’t select, but life itself selected for me. A patchwork of memories and life experiences that I couldn’t have chosen better if I’d tried. They define me and complete me, and in the end, I’m rather happy that they’re there.
Sometimes, I think, in a way, we’re all like a living sketchbook. As the years pass, new lines appear and new shapes form to tell the story of the life we’re living. Looking in the mirror each day is simply an act of flipping through pages, discovering little changes in what appears there each and every day. A single page can feel revolutionary on a specific day and other day’s pages can feel simply ordinary. But when you put all the pages together, they tell an intriguing story of life, love, dreams, and hope. A story we couldn’t have told better if we tried. So, when we meet one day, you’ll likely still find me in sneakers and dreaming of things that are probably too miraculous to ever actually occur. And you’ll also find me with a pen and a paintbrush in my hand, capturing not exactly what’s happening before me, but an idea that occurred in that moment. Losing myself in the thrill of capturing bits of previous memories will likely always be what connects with my heart the most. Thinking back to that time in Paris, when I had Philippe talk to the salesman like he was my personal shopper, so thoroughly excited and enthralled to be getting new shoes.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Da Vinci Yellow, Terra Cotta, and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book.
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!