When someone is described as having been born with a “silver spoon” in his mouth, our prompt for today, it usually refers to someone who’s very wealthy and has lead a privileged life. This is something completely foreign to me, so it was a good opportunity to check some dessert. I may not have had much money growing up, but we always had dessert and that made me feel like I was rich. In truth, my father worked a blue collar night shift and my mother took on extra work as a seamstress. It honestly wasn’t until high school that I discovered that we didn’t have as much money as many of the other families in our city. My mom made many of the clothes I wore to grade school herself, but by the time I was a teenager, fashion had brand names. Names I didn’t really know or recognize, but names dropped by other teenagers as the latest and greatest thing to wear. Many of these kids had indeed been born with a silver spoon in their mouth and didn’t think twice about buying everything they wanted. I remember wearing lots of cheap knock-off fashion in order to fit the times, but it always felt like a costume one might wear for Halloween. I just didn’t care about what was “in” and instead loved to do my own thing. Maybe this was my inner artist screaming for a bit of individuality or maybe just my insatiable curiosity for all things unique and different.
Today, we live in a world of trends fueled by the Internet. A host of memes appear every now and again, and to be honest, some are rather fun! I’ve participated in a few trends on Instagram, like posting your top nine posts for the year, but mostly I just do my own thing. Our monthly art challenges are just prompts that come with the friendly reminder to always paint and draw whatever inspires you most! I think my childhood shaped everything about how I approach art. I didn’t like being told I was wearing the wrong thing any more than I enjoy being told I’m painting or sketching in the wrong way. So I just kept right on sketching and coloring in the way I loved most and when people asked me to share my tips, they ended up with a “you DO you!” Activity Book instead. I was actually quite terrified that a book devoid of step-by-step instructions, allowing people to just jump in and paint in their own unique style, would be seen as something wildly odd and horribly out of fashion. Stranger still, I wanted to create a book that worked well for adults and children both, which is a crazy thing to attempt. But, I’ve always loved Disney and Pixar movies and how they’re able to speak to both adults and children at the very same time. And though I was not a privileged kid, I had more dreams than anyone could count and I wanted to recreate the experience of going back to that time again.
Today, I received a video of a 5 year old drawing a tree frog in my book, which I posted in our tiny new Sketching Stuff group on Facebook. He was amazing, and it was so confirming to know that along with all of the pages from adults, I had managed to create something that was actually fun for people of all ages. But, what strikes me most is that I’ve realized that we were all born privileged. We all began our lives with a natural creativity and a confident approach to art. That’s a very rich power to possess indeed, so we were all very wealthy once. My hope has always been to inspire and help as many people as possible feel that way again. So, sure, I didn’t show up to teach you something you didn’t already know. Instead, I showed up to remind you of the talent you naturally possess. It’s why so much of this blog is about stories from childhood. They send us back to a place and time when we had less doubt and less fear. It’s indeed, the first step in learning how to make art. Reliving that very first step we all took as children. And, remembering to go back there each time our newest masterpiece doesn’t turn out as expected. As I say in my book, sketching should always feel fun, “when it doesn’t anymore, go back to the beginning and Sribble until it does!” It’s then that we can all adopt that special secret smile and join the club, knowing that each and every one of us was indeed once born with a silver spoon.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Nickel Azo Yellow, Leaf Green, Quinacridone Red, 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!
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!