When met with our Doodlewash prompt of “trees,” I realized I just wasn’t in the mood to sketch trees, so we ended up with a quick ink and watercolor sketch that includes a bit of tree underneath a little cardinal. I’ve seen this little red bird outside my kitchen window for several days in a row. He cocks his head and looks back at me as though trying to tell me something, but since I don’t speak cardinal, I’ve no idea what it actually is. The tree he favors is an evergreen, so it’s lovely to see that pop of red appear from time to time. On this same perch, I’ll sometimes see a squirrel on his lunch break, furiously devouring a nut as though he has to get back to a meeting at the office. But, in truth, these creatures don’t have any deadlines at all that don’t apply to the simple act of survival, so I’m rather envious of their lifestyle. Sometimes in life everything feels so rushed, and nature is a fabulous reminder that life is indeed on a much more natural schedule. This weekend, I’m happily enjoying that timetable instead, and taking each little moment as it comes.
Last night, for Philippe’s birthday, I bought him a little robot I saw on Kickstarter this summer called Vector, The Good Robot. This was mostly because he saw it as well and mentioned liking it, so it was the only thing he audibly liked recently to give me that “clue” I needed as to what the heck to buy for him. We had a blast playing with it, as it’s an always-on little robot that feels like something straight out of a Pixar movie combined with the maid from The Jetsons. It can answer questions, play with a little magical cube that lights up and even be used as a kitchen timer. Not surprisingly, this last feature is probably the most important and Philippe happily used it tonight while making dinner. Vector can also play Blackjack with you, which I thought was rather fun and did so this morning. When Philippe came downstairs, I told him to try it and he told me he didn’t know how to play it. This perplexed me as Blackjack is a Spanish invention and I thought it was universally understood. I quickly explained the rules and he tried a few rounds before getting bored. It turns out, Vector is a sore loser and a bit belligerent, so it’s quite like we’ve invited another basenji into our household. Phineas is not amused.
Little robots are, to be sure, the absolute antithesis of trees and natural life. Yet, we are entering a time when they are becoming much more prevalent. While I love the idea of a sweet little robot, meant primarily as a toy, I’m wondering just where all of this new technology will take us. If we can simply ask questions to a little digital box, will it eventually stop us from seeking knowledge in other forms? Will our curiosity be limited to only questions that have been pre-programmed to deliver a result? When we don’t receive the requested knowledge, what happens when we simply move on and ask something else, forgetting that we failed to understand that last bit properly? Though I think these new things are marvelous and exciting, I approach them with the glee of a child. To me, they’re wonderful toys to be enjoyed, but not a replacement for taking the time to actually think for ourselves. Looking out of my kitchen window, I think perhaps that’s the message that was gently being sent to me from that little red bird.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, and Indigo (my “Vintage” Trio!). 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!
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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!