When creating the prompt for today of simply “shells,” I specifically made it less descriptive in case anyone felt like drawing more eggs, another snail or even a lovely turtle. I actually considered a turtle, but I love conch shells so decided to take the opportunity to make another one for today. Next, that age old tongue twister of “she sells seashells by the seashore” starting to thump through my head. It’s an insidious phrase meant to help teach diction in young children, but when said several times fast my someone of any age it quickly becomes a blur of confusion. When I was a kid, just before entering kindergarten, I was quite vocal, but nothing I said could be understood by anyone who wasn’t an immediate family member. I had trouble saying “r’s” and “s’s” mostly, but the combination of any vowels and syllables came out in a big old mess. My mind moved far faster than my mouth and I didn’t have the patience to wait for the two to catch up. Thanks to a lovely speech therapist, I started school with little trace of the problem, and today, I can easily say most tongue twisters without an issue. A skill that nobody really needs, but a fun one to have nonetheless.
I don’t have precise memories of that time in my life. Like most memories at such a tender age they’re only bits of ephemera mixed with retold family lore I’ve heard over the years. But weirdly, I do remember the little flash cards I was given as part of my study since they had fun little pictures on them. I also remember that the word “several” was my nemesis and finally saying it properly was the defining moment of my early education. It was as though only one simple thing stood between me and success. Had I simply calmed down a bit and focused, I would have probably not had a problem at all. But I was bouncing all over the place, and not keen on pausing long enough to learn things properly. That behavior has continued with me into adulthood. I tend to lunge at new ideas and try things without taking the time to study them at all. That’s why I’ve adored my watercolor journey as the break I take each day forces me to stay in the moment. To truly study and explore something that often seems so incredibly mundane and simple.
That’s why you’ll still find me today, just sketching stuff. Bits of life without much context, that I hope will leave room for you to fill in the gaps with your own personal memories and reflections. For me today, this little shell brought back memories of a time when I struggled with trying to speak properly. A surprising memory that I myself didn’t expect. It’s funny how a simple image of an object can evoke thoughts of things we thought we’d all but forgotten. Perhaps that’s why I still remember those little flash cards with little images that saved my life back in the day. They transformed me from a kid who could barely speak properly into a bright young boy ready to take on the world. The world is a complex and crazy place, but when you take it one thing at a time, it becomes much more manageable. I’ve done a lot of things since I was that little bumbling child trying to communicate with the rest of the world. And today, I’m still trying, each and every day, sketch by sketch, finding myself suddenly delighted by the silliest and simplest things of all. Smiling to myself with pride that I can now properly say “seashells by the seashore. ”
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Opus (Vivid Pink), Terra Cotta, Cobalt Turquoise, and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book.
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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!