Today we went to the an afternoon show at the theatre with friends and then came back to our place and had pizza and salads. I still hadn’t sketched anything yet for our prompt of “favorite place” and had no idea what I would choose. I asked Philippe and my friends to tell me about their own favorite places for a bit of inspiration. And, as it turns out, they were just as perplexed as I was to answer this question and it spawned an interesting conversation about what makes a place a favorite. The universal conclusion was that it simply depended on a singular moment in time and what memories were evoked. Though there may have been an amazing trip to an exotic location, on a particular day, simply being in your own home with a cup of coffee and nothing much to do at all could feel equally amazing. The one common trait was simply that feeling. A sense of quiet, warmth and comfort that seems beautiful and rare. Philippe remarked that if he were to visit a special place all of the time, it would become too ordinary and no longer rank as a “favorite” place at all. This felt rather true also. As I thought about my own favorite places, bits of dreams came to mind and memories I had almost forgotten. Nothing concrete, just that feeling of being impossibly content.
After my friends left, I had just a very few minutes to quickly doodlewash something that reflected what I’d learned. So, we ended up with a fox thoroughly enjoying a spot on a tree trunk that seems like a perfect fit. Our dog Phineas also has spots like these in our house. We’ll find him curled up there with that look of pure contentment. We also like to imagine that he’s done amazing things in his head while laying there. And since we like to talk for him we imagine him saying things like, “You’ve read my book right? It’s titled Good.” Since we don’t curl up in a ball for hours during the day, we’re totally certain he thinks, “You don’t know good.” Being only a dog, we imagine his book simply has the word “Good” printed on every single page. Though ludicrous to be sure, there’s something profound about a book like that. What if life were just that simple? Understanding what “good” feels like and going to that place whenever possible. While Philippe and I are making up these stories about Phineas and giggling about them, I have to pause sometimes to consider them more. Perhaps I should remember to take a page out of that book Phineas wrote more often.
Many times in life I find myself being rushing about, trying to get things accomplished and often forgetting why I thought accomplishing them was so important in the first place. Other times, there are dreams that burn in my heart that I rush towards, but they always feel just out of reach. This act of rushing in various directions is certainly not as relaxing as simply finding a spot and resting there for a moment. My fevered mind rarely ever lets me rest like this. But, I spend much of my time fighting anything that feels like stasis and constantly pushing forward. Yet, when I stop to consider those places I enjoy most, my mind floats back to the quietest of times. Whether they were on a beach, while the waves rolled gently in the background, or sitting in our Paris apartment enjoying a bite of baguette. Nothing ground-breaking is every actually happening in these moments. They’re perfectly mundane, in truth. But, they give me that feeling that’s nearly impossible to put into words and feels like pure magic. It’s in those quiet moments that I realize I’ve finally found my favorite place.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Benzimida Orange, 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!