Years ago, when I was a kid, photos had to be taken with an actual camera containing film and phones had cords on them. While it’s certainly convenient that these days we can just snap a picture with our phones, those old days of analog are still a really wonderful memory for me. This particular camera is actually from the late 50’s and is a Brownie 127 which ranks among the most popular cameras ever made by Kodak. Other models continued through the 60’s until the line was eventually discontinued. Putting a fresh roll of film in the camera, one would start winding and winding it until the little arrows appeared, then dots, and finally the coveted number “1” letting you know that’s it’s ready to take that first shot. It was quite a process to get to that first photo back then. And even after shooting an entire roll of film, there was no immediate gratification as you had to wait for the film to be developed to see what appeared there. That was all part of the lovely experience. Reliving each moment again together much later with those little physical trophies of that awesome family trip you’d just enjoyed.
I’ve always loved photography and used to enjoy working in a dark room during college and developing my own photos. It was strange and almost creepy being in a room with just a red light, peering through the enlarger to get just the right crop. The smell was intoxicating in a literal way, versus the more pleasant form of the word. It truly stunk, but dunking those white sheets of paper into the tubs of liquid and watching as an image slowly formed there was amazing. It’s not terribly different than watching pools of watercolor swirl about on paper and waiting to see what happens as the paint begins to dry. I loved photography for this, but when it became fully digital I began to lose interest a bit, with those various attempts at trying analog once more. But without a darkroom, I felt like I was missing the fun part. My first blog was a photoblog called Always Curious, and I’ve donated every photo from that one to this one in the form of free reference photos for artists and writers.
These days, you’ll of course, find me painting with watercolor instead. It’s a joy to be once again staring at a blank sheet of paper waiting for that image to appear. And though some people plan out their paintings, mine are always a bit of a surprise to even me. I just jump in and start sketching and then grab a brush and race to the finish. This is partly due to my notorious impatience, but it’s also because I just think it’s really fun that way. No pressure about “messing up” or fear of “ruining a great sketch.” I don’t stop long enough to judge if the sketch is actually any good at all. When it comes to daily practice, I think this is an important approach. There’s plenty of time to judge the work after the fact, but getting lost in the process is key to always enjoying it. I would be terrified to sketch each day if I thought everything had to be perfect or turn out in a particular way. So, instead, I approach it like did my photography years ago. By simply getting lost in act of making images and then watching the memories develop on paper like those good old analog days.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, and Indigo. Photo Reference: Leif Skandsen. 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® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. 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!