While I think I’ve mentioned several times in my posts that I’ve always wanted the ability to fly, I hadn’t ever seriously considered the idea of a broomstick for travel. Though certainly a flying machine made for witches during Halloween month, they’re also used by the characters in Harry Potter to play a game of Quidditch. This is a fictional sport, which is really the only kind I could ever imagine myself being good at. But the whole broomstick ride doesn’t seem like a particularly comfortable way to travel. It’s just a stick really, with a bit of straw at the end. Though my butt is not particularly large, it’s still a fair bit bigger than a stick. So, true to form, I got a bit lost for a moment in a rabbit trail of online videos of people flying on a broom. These were all from movies, of course, as any other form of this sort of travel has apparently not yet been caught on video. As far as I could make out from my brief “research,” the broom seemed like merely a prop. Take it away and it felt like the person could still, somehow, be magically flying. But, I guess it’s a good thing as a squatting stance while flying would look perfectly ridiculous without something there to justify it.
My flying dreams are ludicrous as an adult since I have a fear of heights. But those fears are only experienced when being on the roof of a very tall building. It’s really the fear of falling off, since I don’t actually possess the ability to fly. Were I able to soar through the clouds on my own, perhaps those fears wouldn’t be there at all. It strikes me that this is very similar to any fear I might have of failure. If I’m not certain I can do something properly, there’s always a chance that I might mess things up. This is likely why I’ve never enjoyed sports, Quidditch aside, of course. For example, I don’t have a fear of walking because I’m rather practiced at doing so, and only very occasionally find myself doing it wrong. This happened much more in my youth, when my happy hours weren’t reserved for painting. But as I’m painting each day, I’m wondering whether or not the result will be something remotely interesting to anyone. Will I soar or will I fall? If my painting fails to intrigue or interest people, they’re far less likely to even read the ramble that’s happening here now.
And yet, I totally enjoy the devil-may-care attitude that comes with social media and daily sharing. The daily stuff is not a gallery show where you obsess over every little piece you’ve made recently and worry whether or not you’re selecting the best ones. It’s a flick of the mouse or a touch of the phone, excitedly sharing whatever just happened, because it’s simply time to post and, well, that’s just what came out. This, to me, is freeing. It’s a world where the only real failure comes from failing to show up at all. And as artists, daily practice is the absolute key to improving our skills and turning our flying dreams into a reality. Each time we sketch or paint something, we learn so much about light, shadow, and our own visual perceptions. Each time we post something we learn a bit about the visual perceptions of others. This is the sheer thrill and joy that keeps me coming back each and every day. A feat, that when combined with a busy life, can often feel impossible. Yet, finding a way to actually DO so, makes me feel like I’m doing the impossible and finally getting that mind-boggling experience of riding on a broom!
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, and Indigo (my “Vintage” Trio!). 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!