When I was a little kid, going to parks, our art challenge prompt today, was a total joy! Though I loved the little swing sets and, of course, the slide, I was mostly a fan of the little creatures on a spring that you could hop on and take for a ride. The ride itself was really just up and down and sometimes a precarious sideways as they were “hopefully” firmly planted into the ground. It was perfectly ridiculous and completely satisfying. I could imagine a million places that I might be heading to on that little springy animal, including fantastic places from my dreams. No matter the destination, getting there was all of the fun. As I grew up, I traded in the bouncy ride for bouncing in my seat during class at school and imagining I was somewhere else. Teachers told me to sit still, and assumed I had attention deficit problems. I totally did, but in my defense, I wanted to learn things faster and was growing bored. One teacher finally recognized this and everything would change for me from that day forward.
I was plucked out of regular grade school classes a few days a week to work on my own projects. These were called “independent studies” and I could choose a topic of my choice to learn about each semester. This was back in the days before medications were ever considered an option. My problem wasn’t really a problem at all. I was just highly creative and my mind worked a bit differently than the majority of the other kids. Had there been other options, my mom probably wouldn’t have explored them. She rather enjoyed the fact that I was a bit different. It made me seem more special. But it takes a special sort of mom to deal with all of that. I wasn’t unruly, I just imagined a different world, a magical world that I loved to explore in my mind. In that world, I could do anything I set my mind to and there were no limits. I loved those grade school years and remember them fondly. And today, I’m happily still bouncing from one thing to the next.
And I feel totally grateful that nobody tried to make my brain function just like everyone else’s, but just let me be myself. We’re born such fabulous and creative creatures, yet step and by step we risk losing that in an effort to fit in. Sure, we must join in and be a functioning part of society at some point, but there’s little point in removing our own individuality to make that happen. This is the very thing that makes us so important to society in the first place. Life would be terribly boring were it only a sea of clones. The ability to imagine things that aren’t there isn’t necessarily a sign of insanity. It can also simply be the young artist’s mind at work. You might find him bouncing on a little metal animal and painting impossible pictures in his mind of places he’s not even visited yet. Perhaps, even places that don’t really exist at all. But maybe they should. When we’re artists, we get to choose. And in those moments of circular imagining, we can reconnect with and even wink at our inner child, as others think we’re only oddly reveling in the joy of going nowhere.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Benzimida Orange, Nickel Azo Yellow, Quinacridone Red, Leaf Green, and Cobalt Turquoise. 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!