When it comes to adorable, our Doodlewash prompt for today, my mind immediately goes to baby animals. In this case, we have a little corgi puppy who is waiting to grow into his ears a bit. I love the cute awkwardness of baby animals, even if my own awkwardness as a kid wasn’t quite as amusing. Puppies have the luxury of skipping the long and tedious phase we humans know as puberty. They just go from cute to complete in about a year. I’ve seen photos of myself at a very young age and I think I was rather cute by most standards. But these are followed by way too many photos of a comically odd looking little boy. I have to chuckle at these when I see them, as he always has a huge smile plastered across his face. In my head I’m thinking, “you’re so weird! Ditch those glasses, and seriously, what’s up with that hair?” Yet, in my heart, I just have to adore that kid. Rather than ever let himself feel truly out of place, he just happily found his place and charged forward, smiling all of the time. And, that, to me, is really quite adorable.
As I continue to sketch and show up each and every day, I feel like I’m still in the artist equivalent of puberty. Shining moments mixed with periods of confusion and a yearning to understand everything just a bit better. I dream of a time when I can spend more than a little hour each day painting and writing. But, rather than give up and wait for that day to arrive, I just keep moving forward. Perhaps, after all, that’s what that awkward little teenager taught me. It doesn’t matter if we aren’t everything we hoped we might be as long as we’re the very best version of what we actually are. I now realize why he was always smiling in those photos. Life may not have been perfect, but it was still perfectly fascinating. The measure wasn’t about the present, but the intoxicating idea of what the future might hold. So, today, I find myself in the oddest of places. A man who politely refuses to grow up, looking to the past for inspiration, while happily embracing the future. And you’ll still find me smiling through all of it. Happily celebrating all of the crazy turns that life throws at me. In a way, puberty is just an introductory course that we take, and the rest of our lives are spent hoping to achieve that PhD.
But I have to believe we’re really pretty awesome at every single point in our lives. There’s always something unique and wonderful that I think should be applauded each and every step of the journey. My own doppelgänger was a boy who was so exuberant about life that he never bothered to care when it didn’t work out properly. That’s why I choose to honor him and delve back into my past. As an adult, I can get stressed occasionally and begin to worry about whether I’m doing everything correctly. But unlike when I was a child, I’ve no clue as to where I should make that comparison. My steady tribe of classmates have been replaced with the entire world at large. Instead of measuring myself to a classroom full of people, I now have a world wide web of comparisons. And most of the time, I still just feel a bit awkward. I can’t seem to follow a particular trend or abide by all of the various social rules that crop up almost daily. I guess, you could say, I’m still that kid from those now embarrassing puberty photos. Doing whatever joyous thing comes to mind without fretting over whether it’s the “in” thing to do. I guess, in many ways, I’ve just learned that life is far more enjoyable when you live it like a little puppy.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Opus (Vivid Pink), 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!
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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!