"Practice makes perfect." "Work begets work." "Begin and the muse will arrive, or whatever." No one hates that these moldy nuggets are true more than I do. They are right up there with "wear weather-appropriate clothing," on the list of things grown-ups always told me that incited my eye-rolling derision. I wanted to be good at something right away or forget it, brilliant ideas would just come to me, and winter hats and gloves were for dorks. I took piano for many years and was supposed to practice for half an hour a day. The clock above the piano, a wonderful seventies meld of heavy frame and green velvet, had no glass covering the face. I started small, nudging the hand maybe five minutes ahead before skipping on my way, brushing off my mom's suspicious "Was that a half an hour?" questions. But as is so often the case with childhood deceit, I over-played my hand. Who knows how long I actually practiced that final day, five minutes maybe? No amount of protest and gesticulation at the obviously half an hour later time on the clock could convince Mom, who no doubt was beginning to have concerns about what kind of pathological liar she was raising. A heavy, loud kitchen timer appeared on the top of the piano and parental supervision was noticeably increased. My playing improved, albeit sullenly, and it was my first brush with the sometimes tedious but ultimately satisfying discipline required to skip recess and DO THE WORK. Not that I would connect the dots until sometime much, much later.
Cue much, much later music. I love sketch-a-day challenges. Every time I participate in one I finish feeling like my creative brain is firing on all cylinders and I learn something new each time. Even if it's just that I prefer drawing hair this way or noses that way. Plus, it forces me to DO THE WORK. No waiting around for my thus far late to the party genius to strike, I have to sit down and produce fast. So when I decided I really wanted to switch to watercolor as my medium, what better way to make myself DO THE WORK than a sketch-a-day challenge. #doodleadayjuly from @ellolovey appeared in my Instagram feed and I got busy. I used watercolor a lot in college, and hey, what do you know, muscle memory is an actual thing, but I still learned a bunch in a month of tiny paintings. I feel much more confident in my abilities to work larger now and that's no small reward.
So now I shall share the love to thank everyone for enduring incessant posts on Instagram and Facebook. Scroll through, tell me your faves in the comments, and I'll put your name in the random drawing to win the #doodleadayjuly watercolor original of your choice, drawing to be held next Monday. Fine print-they are small, about three by five average and "Tropical" and "Float" have already been spoken for. Hey, a girl's gotta make a living. Thank you!