When met with a prompt of vegetables today, I first thought of cucumbers, but then realized they’re technically a fruit, like tomatoes. This always creates an interesting problem trying to juggle the definitions between botanists and the culinary world. So, I just pickled them instead. Not something you’d find naturally in nature, but definitely something you’d naturally find in the cellar of my grandmother’s farm. I adore just about every type of pickle except for the really sweet ones. Though, I guess they really are a culinary fruit version, but I like the salty and savory versions more. One can also find themselves “in a pickle” which is a cute phrase that alludes to being mixed up and disoriented. In truth, I find myself in this situation quite a lot as I’m never one to look before I leap. What I love about this phrase is that it’s not foreboding enough to describe anything truly challenging or awful in life. It’s really best used to describe all of the crazy little bumps that happen along the way. Those moments where no easy answer can immediately be found. Yet, life would be terribly dull were it only made up of easy answers. So, when I find myself “in a pickle,” I relish the opportunity to come up with a creative solution!
Once, many years ago, when I was starting my very first job as a Creative Director, I was thrilled beyond belief. I was so happy to be given the chance to do a job I just knew I was well-suited to do and at an age younger than most for that position. It wasn’t until my first day on the job that I realized something rather important. I literally had no idea exactly what a Creative Director was supposed to do. I’d been promoted so quickly, I never had the chance to work under a role model of any kind. Suddenly, my youthful exuberance turned to sheer terror and I was worried they would discover they’d made a huge mistake. I was in a pickle. Refusing to be daunted, I just jumped in and made up the role as I went along. I had no idea if I was doing everything correctly, but I was sure having fun trying to riddle it all out. I ended up putting the small unknown agency on the map, got our work published in international books and magazines and won a box of awards. I think that was the general outcome expected of the job, so I guess I was doing things correctly after all. Years later, I was having lunch with a friend in the same position who quipped, “literally nobody knows what a Creative Director really does.” Though years too late, it was still rather comforting to hear.
In high school, I was determined to become a reporter for the school newspaper. Another job I had absolutely no experience doing, but simply one I thought I’d enjoy. I’ve no idea how I managed to convince the teacher, but I was soon reporting for both the newspaper as well as the school yearbook. All of my early attempts were rejected, and I was told that I was burying the lead. To me, that was the coolest part so I would put it toward the end, but apparently I was meant to do the opposite. I was in a pickle. So, I just inverted my pyramid, won a news writing award and then promptly quit because it was so terribly dull. I’ve since bounced through life in a similar fashion. Always trying new things that come to mind and never letting a complete lack of skill or knowledge hold me back in any way. And for the most part, things generally work out just fine. Sometimes there’s a success, but really it’s just really fun to try and figure it all out as I go along. I’ve learned that every little problem is indeed solvable and can sometimes make the journey even more interesting, if not a bit fun. Life can be a crazy and unexpected ride indeed, but I find a strange comfort in knowing that, in the end, life is just a jar of pickles.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, and Indigo (my “Vintage” Trio!). 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!