If there’s one thing certain to produce smiles it’s our art challenge prompt of babies for today. Since I don’t paint humans very well, I opted for one of the things I get enamored with most about babies. Their little shoes! Mostly because they are often tiny miniature versions of “big kid” shoes or even adult shoes and just look extra adorable at that scale. I can’t remember anything from when I was an actual baby, but as I became a toddler and grew older, I really wanted to fit into those shoes of the big kids I admired. And equally, my father’s shoes, which I would “try on” only to realize they were gigantic and impossible to walk in. There’s a phrase of having “big shoes to fill,” referring to living up to another person’s previous triumphs. But when I was little I just wanted the bigger shoes to actually fit me. To become older and taller and do all of the things that I saw the older kids doing. It was always a quest to grow up, and now, after all these years, I find myself doing all I can to stay young. It’s funny how times change.
Throughout life, I’ve never found myself wanting to actually be like other people. I just wanted the bits of their life that I found awesome or admired. In the end, of course, I’m just me and that will produce whatever results it eventually does. I now find myself in awe of other artists, only wishing I had their incredible skill. But that’s what keeps me coming back for more. Not to be like them, but to be inspired by them and find out what it is that I’m supposed to contribute to this world of art. For me, it’s just these little illustrations that accompany my rambles that I post here. No idea if the combo counts as art, but it’s what I make and enjoy. I’ve learned as I get older that the best experiences in life come when I just let the experience take me where it wants to go next. Even my young yearnings to be a big kid were always tempered with a healthy dose of curiosity and sense of discovery for whatever what happening right in the moment.
So, as I look back to that time when I wore the littlest of shoes, I have to admire that little kid. Rather than looking ahead at others older than myself, I tend to glance back at him as the role model that gets me through life. His unfailing passion for life and intense interest in others and the world around him were rather enviable. These days, I can get so caught up in the adult stresses of life that I forget to pause and enjoy the point of it all. Life is here for us to enjoy every precious moment, and find awesomeness in the littlest of things. At least, it’s all there if we take a moment to view it properly. If anyone ever wonders why I often wax about the past, this is precisely the reason. I can only hope that as an adult I’m approaching life in a way that would make that “little me” proud. But I strive to do so each and every day. After all, I have little shoes to fill.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: 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!
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!