For Day 7 of #WorldWatercolorMonth (and the end of week 1!), we have a prompt of “Shiny Things,” which could be many things indeed. Yet, as I was heading to create my sketch and post today, I once again found myself pressed for time, so it made me think of an alarm clock. This last minute approach of doing things in what’s also known as doing things in the eleventh hour, and it’s the very approach I’ve taken all of my life. I used to think I had an issue with procrastination, but it’s more about waiting for an idea to strike me. There’s little point in starting something without some sort of idea in place, so I just wait for it to happen first. When I think about it, I’m not really procrastinating at all since I spend most all of my waking hours thinking of various ideas. Many ideas never see the light of day, but others are still brewing there and will hopefully appear one day soon. While I always promote the idea of DOing, thinking about ideas counts as that as well. Sometimes when I find myself a bit frustrated with my watercolor sketching, I just pause and think about ideas instead, then when I have a thought that inspires me, I go back and try again!
One of the things I’ve learned on this art journey is that trying to force myself to show up and make something is the least inspiring thing I could do. Yet, I’ve still managed to show up each and every day now for over 4 years! How do I DO it? Well, I stop the moment I feel uninspired and think of things I’d most like to paint instead. Once I have that thing in mind, I jump in with glee once again! And, many of you may have noticed that even if I’m “following” a prompt, I’ll often bend it to my will and make it work for whatever I really most wanted to make! Oh yeah, this year, in all of the fun and festivities of World Watercolor Month I totally missed my Doodlewash birthday post which takes place on July 3rd. Also, I sketched watermelons in plastic wrap that day and really wasn’t sure how to add the birthday candles. But yes! I have been sketching and painting with watercolor now each and every day for over 4 years! Today’s doodlewash is number 1,464, which seems a rather high number for a daily painting challenge. So, if you’ve taken on our 31 watercolor in 31 days challenge this month, that should be a piece of cake!
One of the most important things I have to share about my own journey is that I didn’t set out to complete anything. I simply wanted to sketch, paint and write each and every day. My personal challenge has only ever been to do just that. With no number or end date in mind, I just kept right on DOing it. While this month’s challenge is dedicated to watercolor, I hold monthly watercolor and drawing challenges every single month of the year. My secret hope is that you’ll discover what I’ve discovered. That showing up to make something is the most incredible feeling there is and it’s so much easier to DO than you think it is. I hope people will become hooked on sketching like I’ve become and stop counting the days entirely. At least the days where something is actually created. I think it’s far more productive to count the days when something isn’t created instead, and try to make that number as low as possible. For me, I like keeping that number to zero days. So, if you’re up for taking on my “zero day” challenge, that simply involves showing up to make a little something each and every day. No pressure or expectations of greatness, but instead, a journey of discovery, wonder, and fun lies ahead! And the best news is that when you’re making that little thing your heart desired that day, the timing is still perfect, even when it’s in the eleventh hour.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Leaf Green, Terra Cotta, and Cobalt Blue. 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!
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!