When I was a kid, I loved enjoyed having a Popsicle in the summer months. They were a welcome thing indeed as the hot sun blistered down on me, threatening to melt me into molten lava. My mom always had the kind in plastic called freezer pops that were just a neon-colored frozen liquid that you pushed out of a tube. The really fancy popsicles were acquired only by chasing the dinging bell of an ice cream truck like a pack of wild dogs. This required quick thinking as I first had to run inside to get a couple quarters from mom and then dash back out again into the street. There I would meet back up with my other pack animals, panting and drooling, as we screamed our way in the direction we thought the truck was heading. Looking back, had it not been such a crazy and gleeful event, I’m not sure we would have bothered. We might have stayed indoors simply building things out of popsicle sticks. That was an equally thrilling experience for me. Like when little kids ignore the main gift and would rather just play with the box.
I would build amazing things out of popsicle sticks! Well, made amazing almost entirely due to my imagination. To those I showed my creations, I’m sure they were just being polite and commenting on what still looked very much to be just a bunch of sticks. Popsicle sticks have a maddening inability to bend, which makes creating organic shapes a bit of a challenge. Showing a square lump of sticks to an adult and calling it “cute puppy” is indeed cute, but for entirely different reasons. Even as a very little kid I knew when I was being humored and I didn’t like it. I quickly switched to chairs, houses, stairs, bridges and lots of other far more geometric structures. And I would often get so engrossed in making things, I could sometimes barely be broken out of my trance by the dinging ice cream truck and start my frantic primal pursuit. This “zone” that I was in, is the same zone I finally found again as an adult, now painting with watercolor each and every day.
My friends are amazed at my commitment of doing something, anything really, on a daily basis. Particularly since they’re well aware of my notoriously short attention span. But for me, it’s as simple as choosing to always make a tiny bit of time to go into that wonderful zone. It’s refreshing and makes my entire day better having taken just a few minutes to disconnect and relax a bit while sketching and painting. Sure, there are many other things I could or “should” be doing, and lots of shiny distractions in my path as I head to my kitchen counter each and every day to sketch. But no matter how sweet the proposed treat may seem to me, I know that making something new is the greatest treat of all. Results may vary, but the results aren’t really the point. The point is in the making and taking the time to make. So, that’s what I do each day now, finding that I’ve actually managed to still have all of life’s other little treats while I also make a bit of time to paint. So, I guess it’s not really a question after all. It’s quite possible to enjoy both the popsicle and the stick.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Quinacridone Red, Cobalt Turquoise, 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!