The very idea of walking on the beach, our prompt for today, is quite a dream indeed. As it turns out, the temperatures here are still ridiculously cold right now and won’t be warming up until the weekend. That doesn’t mean it will actually be warm, per se, but it will have finally creeped above freezing so I’m sure I’ll see people running around in shorts and flip flops to celebrate the occasion. And Philippe the Parisian will make me giggle once more as he remarks on how such clothing should only ever be worn to the beach. I’ll just tell him, as I always do, when you live this far from a beach, you just have to take what you can get. So, at the first sign of warm weather, I’ll happily be like this heron I sketched today and strutting around enjoying myself. With a bit more clothing, to be sure. And it’s quite fun to at least imagine a bright and beachy scene in the pages of my little sketchbook. I can imagine back to years ago when I went snorkeling for the first time. Sure, I ended up with a rash of some sort due to brushing up against a bit of nefarious seaweed, but it was totally worth it to get an up-close look at life under the water. So I only have the fondest memories of beaches.
It occurred to me that this is how I live my life all of the time. Omitting the little bits that aren’t so favorable and focusing on the awesome and wonderful bits instead. That’s the fabulous part about memories. They can often scrub away all of the questionable bits to leave only a beautiful sheen of impossibly happy times. So, each time I sketch something related to a beach, I’m always put in an instantly happy mood. I hear the sound of those waves and remember just how lost I can become in them. For what always feels like the first time in my life, I pause and do nothing at all. I just let the music of those waves surround me and let my mind drift into a bit of nothingness. The only other time I experience something like this is when I’m sitting down to color a bit each evening in my sketchbook. I get so lost at times that if Philippe says something to me, I often have to ask him to repeat it. Thankfully, he’s painted as well, so he knows exactly what’s happening and doesn’t get irritated. This “zone” is a wonderful thing indeed and extremely addictive. It’s like I get to visit a beach each and every day.
I’ve got so many projects I’m working on right now that it’s bordering on insane. Each day, I move them forward just a bit, and that’s fine by me. One would think I’d stop these daily posts in order to focus on those projects, but then I’d lose my trip to the beach. Projects just don’t hold the same allure as showing up to sketch and color for no reason other than taking a happy little break in the day. This is how I relieve stress and regroup for a moment so I can return to those little projects waiting for me. That’s why my posts are so oddly raw and lacking a level of craft. They’re just a quick reaction to a tiny bit of time spent doing something I adore. Yet, today, I was reassured that the little thing I do every day means everything to me. I cherish my sketching habit and though I can’t do it as much as I’d like, I can at least make a moment to play each day. Yes, I’m still just playing and learning and enjoying every second. I’ve so much more to discover and so much more to try in the future. And there’s plenty of time for all of that to happen. For now, I’m simply caught up in the waves of creating things and enjoying the breeze of satisfaction that comes from spending each and every day walking on the beach.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Nickel Azo Yellow, Quinacridone Red, Bezimida Orange, 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!
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!