When I think of innocence, our Doodlewash prompt today, babies come to mind, but since I don’t paint people, baby animals were my next choice. Not knowing how to choose between a puppy and a kitten, we ended up with one of each. Looking at babies is a wonderful reminder that no matter how much we think we might know today, we were all perfectly innocent once. Each new little thing was a total wonder that could be exciting or even a bit scary. Growing up was actually a slow process that contained lessons to be learned both in and out of a proper school setting. Leaving high school or college, I was deemed “ready” for the world, whatever that meant, and told to go forth and conquer life. It was as if all of the teaching abruptly stopped and suddenly it was time to bounce through life without a guide. I remember this moment when I was young. A part of me was exhilarated by the chance to forge my own path, and another part, of rather equal size, was scared as hell! My confident side won out so I could proceed, but I made so many ridiculous mistakes back then that I could have hardly qualified as “ready” for the world. I’m not entirely sure the world was even ready for me. But, it was all part of the wonderful journey of life and I’m thrilled to have bumbled my way through it all.
Today, I often feel like I’m still a student of life. I’ve not mastered its crazy idiosyncrasies and find myself still bumbling at various times along the way. I still spend an inordinate amount of time dreaming of possibilities. I know I should expend more studious attention to completing the ideas I already have brewing, but that next idea is always right there waiting to be developed. This has plagued me my entire life, and it was something that, at one point, I desperately wished I would simply grow past. Now, approaching 50, I can say without a doubt that this is simply part of who I am and not something that will ever change. And I’m now rather thrilled by this fact. I adore that the process of growing up didn’t actually rob me of those very qualities that made me unique. And, while meeting hundreds of artists around the world, I’ve learned that I’m not really all that unique at all. And that makes me happier still. It’s wonderful to know that I’m not alone in this journey of art and life. While it’s tough enough to grow into adulthood, becoming an artist, of any kind, is like starting all over again.
I’m just three months past a three year art journey. So, yeah, in “art years” I’m a toddler. I’m just a little three year old boy who is still trying to learn everything as he goes along. Sharing my art with the world online opened new possibilities, which I’ve adored, and also a world of things that constantly change and have to be learned and relearned as well. It can all get a little overwhelming at times, and make me feel like I’m actually that little boy again. Starting at the very beginning and trying to figure out what step the world wants me to take next while balancing what my heart tells me I should do. And being back in that state is a very illuminating place to be. The answer is simple and has never really changed. I will always choose to follow my heart, not because it feels like a youthful and exciting transgression, but because it’s the one thing I can say I’ve well and truly learned on this journey of life. I’ve found the heart to be the truest teacher of them all. And there’s really no age limit when it comes to the age of innocence.
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. 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!