Today, I was looking through a packed box that I haven’t opened in years and ran across an old journal, pen, and a travel clock. The clock was a find an antique store and I thought it was rather fun, but the journal isn’t that old at all. It was from a trip to Portugal and Spain that I took back in 2003. It was entirely written words, and as ever, I could barely make out what I’d scrawled in my terrible handwriting. Thankfully, the words in this journal have already been transcribed into digital form, but I didn’t even realize I still had the physical journal. I wasn’t sketching at the time, so not a single image appears on those pages. It would have been wonderful to see something visual as well like my daily posts. But, it would be 12 years later before I would pick up my pen to draw and play with watercolor. In truth, I used to travel much more, both personally and for work before I ever started sketching. This is why I didn’t really become an urban sketcher and chose instead to journal about moments from the past. It’s a way of recapturing the memories I might have made were I sketching at the time. But it was fun to sketch something from life today that brought back so many wonderful memories.
When I showed Philippe the travel clock, he got very animated and said, “My grandmother had the same one!” Then after a few beats, he looked at me and said, “You didn’t buy this new, did you?” I’m a bit older, but not by that much. Yet, it was fun to see him enjoying a memory from my find as well. A glanced through the journal, picking out words as I went. Much of my writing style has remained the same, but it’s matured a bit more over the years. That said, it’s still always a stream of consciousness and not edited, but I guess even that gets a bit better with practice. The journal wasn’t even full, however, which is a definite change today. My towering stack of sketchbooks are completely filled with various watercolors. And there are more than 1,300 written journal entries now on this blog. It will be over 1,400 when World Watercolor Month returns in July! So, when I thumb through this journal and see my intention of wanting to write daily slowly dissolve over time, I’m enheartened to know that I finally figured out a way to do it that works for me.
That clock is still present in my daily offerings. It’s not there to wake me for the next day of travel, as in the past, but to tell me that I only have a few moments left to sketch and write what I’ve made for the day. As weird as it seems, I rather enjoy that. If I had all the time in the world I would take it and do nothing at al. But, give me a time limit and I can make the impossible happen. Procrastination is a badge that many creative people wear with pride. What I love today is that what I DO has become a fun routine. Something I don’t worry or fret about having time to do, but something I enjoy so much that I can’t imagine not doing it one day. Sure, perhaps, someday in the future I might pause for a few days or move on to something else. It’s not impossible. But, today, it feels completely impossible and that makes my heart smile bigger than it ever has before. I’m thrilled to make my little coloring pages each day and let me mind wander and type what it wants. Someday, I’ll look back on everything I’ve collected here and feel so grateful to have captured a life so full it would be impossible to remember it fully. I’ll thumb through these digital pages and be able to reminisce and enjoy those moments again, like that time I found my first travel journal.
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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!