Today’s Inktober prompt was “tranquility”. The obvious choice was to draw my boat, but then I had second thoughts. While it’s definitely still one of my most happy places, sailing also requires a lot of vigilance. If I’m going to feel tranquil, then I don’t want to have to be on alert for anything, especially not drunk speedboaters who have more money than sense (welcome to Seattle, everyone!).
The news has been awful lately (#ibelieveher), and when that gets mixed with memories of my own that I’d rather forget, and news about the environment, and on and on…..tranquility has been hard to come by. On Sunday I had a panic attack that really shook me up. Tonight I’m going to take a bath, and let my mermaid half take over. There’s a reason I love watercolors. I just love water.
Today, I asked myself what it would take to feel tranquil, and I thought, “I want an alpine lake high above everything, where the air is still clean and the water is still fresh, and I want a little community where all my family and friends could live.” This is, of course, mostly a mythical place – although my friend in Norway shows me photos sometimes that make me suspect that my mythical place really does exist somewhere in Scandinavia.
Nearby, in this mythical land, you’ll find fields of wildflowers, and a big field for our horses (hey, it’s mythical, let’s have unicorns), and I think we’re going to need some waterfalls. Also a bog, because bogs are cool. And goats. And goat cheese – which will have no lactose, because I’m lactose intolerant. There will be three very large libraries. Upon move-in, everyone will get a coupon that entitles them to free art supplies and a voucher for a musical instrument of their choice.
And because it’s my mythical land, we’ll also have a Level I trauma center a few miles away, Dr. Jorg (my dentist – she’s really good), and a cadre of excellent therapists to help everyone with their issues.
But about the actual art….
I’m still failing to grasp the INK in Inktober, and seem to put 97% watercolor on my page. Sorry, Inktober people. Next year I’ll do something else. I know, I know, it’s okay to use watercolor, but I also know the spirit of the exercise is to practice pen and ink, and I’m not really doing that.
I started out thinking I liked this image a lot, but then I couldn’t get the colors of the water and hills and sky right, and that made me a little surly. Despite this, I’m overall in possession of something I’ve never felt before: the sheer wonderful ability to enjoy something that isn’t perfect. I know it’s not perfect, my brain can see that, I’m not blind. My perspective is way off, there’s so much about angles and buildings I need to learn, there’s very little depth, I haven’t figure out how to put shadows into anything. On and on.
I just don’t care! It’s fun. It’s SO FUN! You guys, you have to try this. TRY THIS. Go draw something. Anything! Then color it in with watercolor. I’m telling you. It’s a delight!
And I should amend that – I definitely care. But I care in that way where I think, “Okay, so I need to learn this, and this, and this…..I guess I’ll just keep painting!” When I used to think, “Okay, so this is wrong, this is wrong, and I’m already middle-aged – why do I even bother?” That second voice is just absent, and I don’t exactly know why. It still pipes right up when I screw something up on the ukulele, but when it comes to drawing and painting, it turns constructive and kind. It’s so nice. I’m so grateful.