It seems fitting that on this lovely Mother’s Day, in certain parts of the world today, our art challenge prompt is camera. I hope everyone who celebrated today or was celebrated had a fabulous time full of memories and lots of pictures. Back when I was a kid, when it came to making smiles, mom would always do so with a camera, and a Polaroid camera was a sure bet. This behemoth of a camera, doodlewashed here, was a top-seller in the late 70’s and called the Polaroid Land Camera 1000. Not sure why it could only be used on land, and not out at sea or in space, but that was what it was called. The very thought of such instant gratification was intoxicating. Just press the button and a loud and startling whirring and grinding sound would spit out a photograph. Amazing! In reality, the “instant” part was a little oversold. Once the photo was ejected, the actual image would slowly appear over several minutes, forming contours, and deepening colors, a bit like watercolor. As much as I enjoyed watching this process, I usually lost interest before the final version was ready and just wanted to see another photo spit out of the cool machine. In many ways, the act of taking the pictures became more of a memory than what came out.
That horribly wonderful sound of the picture being taken and thrust out of the camera was really my favorite part. It was like a tiny factory was inside processing the image. It made the experience feel visceral and important. Each time, it would startle the hell out of me and I would giggle, producing the kind of smiles my mother only wished she had actually captured in the moment before. But it was too late as the tiny camera gnomes had already done the deed and loudly delivered the “almost but not quite a photo, please wait.” These days, the gratification is far more instant as we snap our digital photos with our cameras and phones. But rather than huddling around to enjoy the process of watching an image appear, it’s usually just a quick glance, often to gain approval as to whether we can post it online or need to take another shot. The Polaroid experience made something entirely different happen. The photos became a side effect of a process of giggling and truly coming together in a single moment.
Though I certainly love and use all of the delightfully modern tools we have at our disposal today, I do miss the days when life wasn’t quite so instant. Slower days when the photo itself was the only thing you had to remember a particular time. It wasn’t turned digital and immediately broadcast to multiple places. Perhaps it might find a place in a scrapbook to be enjoyed much later by a select few who were lucky enough to be able to flip through the pages. In many ways, this modern approach can make memories seem less like memories at all. Simply moments instantly captured and instantly forgotten. Saving them online only matters if we take the time to go back and review them. So, that’s what I did today. I went back to the beginning and read some of my earliest posts. I read about an enthusiastic guy who was enamored with watercolor and wanted to create a movement for an approach to art he coined “doodlewash.” Not quite three years later, so much has happened, and yet, I’m thrilled that I’ve managed to capture the journey here. And a special thanks to each of you who have subscribed to receive new posts via email, and continue to support this watercolor passion, while waiting for memories to appear.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Nickel Azo Yellow, Terra Cotta Cobalt Blue (my Da Vinci Trio, Click Here to Learn More!) + Cobalt Turquoise, and Quinacridone Red. 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!