For Day Twenty-One of World Watercolor Month, and the optional prompt of “Tactile,” I imagined playing a rousing round of pat-a-cake, or sometimes called patty cake, with a cat. Not entirely sure how I ended up here, but it’s the first thing that popped to mind so I just went with it. I used to have a very complex sort of hand patting exchange with a good friend in grade school. We’d devised a series of different ordered gestures that involved smacking a pair of our closed hands together, hand smacking, hand shakes, and even finger snaps. It was silly fun, but what made it even more awesome was when we’d get the whole sequence going on a steady repeat and try to increase the speed as we went. If neither of us ended up being smacked in the face during our wild enthusiasm it was considered a success. By the end, our hands were bright pink and our hearts were quite happy. That friend moved away, and I haven’t tried anything like that in years, but it was fun to think about again today.
Our secret handshake game was just a complex version of pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker’s man sort of thing… and then that devolved into a range of lyrics usually personalized for the people involved. Or totally made up for the fun of it. After a of year of quarantine and the death of handshakes, it’s fun to think back to simpler times. I don’t actually mind handshakes going away as I never really liked them. And, since people I meet in business meetings have never once challenged me to a game of pat-a-cake, nothing much has really changed. I’m actually rather protective of my hands since they’re what I use to write and sketch stuff so I can’t risk the rough games of my youth that left them red and swollen. But, as I was thinking back to those times, I did try the “moves” again to see if I could remember the sequence. I think I recalled most of it, but there were still little bits that I couldn’t remember.
Memory is a funny thing and I’ve realized that any sort of wonderful memory is still wonderful with or without complete accuracy. I tend to remember things being super incredible, but in reality, they were probably not that amazing. Yet, it’s the sheer joy that I recall and that’s memorable enough to still feel when I close my eyes and think back to those moments long ago. Even if every little moment gets a bit blurred, that feeling is always in sharp focus. It’s why I love to recall being a kid and pulling back those feelings while I sketch and create. Philippe and I both enjoy Lego, puzzles and playing games. Even our dog Phineas will play like a puppy anytime there’s even a morsel of food involved, at least. Looking at things through the eyes of a child opens up my mind and heart and allows to me to make things really quickly. It’s not about precision, it’s about connection and fun. It’s very freeing to lose the very idea of perfection, and simply approach sketching as one would approach a lovely round of pat-a-cake.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Gold Ochre, Quinacridone Red, Terra Cotta, Hansa Yellow Medium, Cobalt Turquoise, and Indigo. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black 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!