While I loved lemonade as a kid, our art challenge prompt for today, it occurred to me that I haven’t had a glass in years. Mostly because my childlike metabolism left me years ago and one sugary glass of the stuff would now take me days to work off the calories. But lemonade was definitely a drink of summer in my family. It appeared at every family gathering and I couldn’t wait to have a glass. It wasn’t freshly squeezed or anything elegant, though placing lemons near the pitcher was often done for decoration. It was simply made from a powdered mix, as the miraculous convenience food inventions were all the rage back then. Just “add one thing,” because you couldn’t be troubled with more than that, and buying something entirely pre-prepared just felt lazy. So we would “make” lemonade each time we came together and it was delicious. Filled with tons of ice, it managed to take the heat out of the day and provide a refreshing break for the famly before going back to risk our lives playing with steel-tipped lawn darts.
We also served a lot of iced tea, which I switched to as an adult, but the lemonade was my favorite back then. And when I look back on my childhood, though I remember many actual stories, sometimes only images come to mind. For example, I remember the plastic covering on the picnic table, and a stack of red Solo cups with markers next to them so you could write your name on your cup. Just tiny little glimpses of my past, but remembering them feels like getting hugged. A warm and wonderful feeling of happiness that doesn’t have a specific event attached, just a memory of smiling while squinting into the sun. Things seem a bit blurry, but there’s something bright and wonderful to be found there. Many times, I wish I could remember more about what exactly happened after we poured that lemonade. I’m sure an uncle told a joke that had everyone giggling or an aunt, wanting a break from the heat, asked if anyone was up for a game of Scrabble indoors. We kids ran off to play, which for a kid means doing whatever comes to mind in the moment.
I’m always sketching stuff like this, because I feel like each little doodlewash is another piece of a grand puzzle. Each tiny memory connects with the next and builds my life story. And perhaps, even yours. We all have those little bits of memories that are so often a shared glimpse into the past. Our histories can be quite similar to each other on the surface, yet are always filled with their own perfectly unique moments. For me, this has been the joy of writing these posts each and every day. I love hearing about your own childhood moments and those pieces of your own past that come to mind. We were never more ourselves than that moment when we were children. Creating art is an opportunity to return to that and check in on that inner child again. Pure whim and imagination combine to make things come to life on paper. And though I may not remember every little piece of my life, the best bits always manage to shine through when I let them. Like those vaguest of recollections bringing to mind a decidedly perfect moment, triggered only by those summer memories of lemonade.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Nickel Azo Yellow, 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!
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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!