Just do it!
Those words were popularized as Nike’s slogan for a long time. It’s a positive, uplifting, encouraging statement. Whatever it is you’re wanting to do, just do it.
For me and my art work, just do it has become a good slogan in recent days. Doing the 30X30 Direct Watercolor Challenge has been a real challenge for me because I’m not good at watercolors — though I’m getting better — and I’m especially not good with direct watercolor, meaning a watercolor painting done at a single session. and one that’s done using very limited, if any, drawing.
This all means that I’ve struggled a bit to find appropriate subjects. I fooled around a bit with colors at first, just making designs that weren’t really anything in particular. I tried landscapes. Awful! I soon found myself being very judgmental about what I should try to draw.
No, that would be too difficult. No way! I could never complete that in one session. Nope, couldn’t possibly do that without drawing it out first. Nope. No. Absolutely no way.
One by one, I discarded what to paint ideas as quickly as they came. I wasn’t getting anywhere. So, I headed to Doodlewash, the awesome watercolor blog of Charlie O’Shields, and the home of July’s upcoming World Watercolor Month.
I needed prompts. I needed an “Okay, this is what you’re going to paint today,” push to get me going. Along with the big World Watercolor Month, there are regular little “art challenges” there, as well, including a list of prompts for June, all based on shapes.
Just what I needed. But, oh, what a time I had convincing myself I could actually paint any of the things on the list.
A feather? Seriously? With watercolor? I sighed. “Just do it,” I told myself. It was fun to see the colors blending, and I had a chance to use one of my lovely “Blue Squid” brushes.
The next day I read the prompt and rolled my eyes. Cookies? Are you kidding? I can’t paint cookies! Another sigh. “Oh, just do it,” I said aloud. And, I not only did it, I put the cookies on a little blue plate. I’ve been wanting to do more food art, you know.
And then came the next prompt. Seal. What? You mean a seal as in sea lion? Like, an animal? Sorry, I don’t do animals! I briefly considered trying to paint another kind of seal — like a wax seal — considered that trying that might actually be harder, let out another sigh and said those words. “Just do it.”
It’s funny, really. Every time I tell myself I really can’t paint something, I find that if I sit down and just do it, I come up with something better than I’d expected. Each of these paintings — and all the others I’ve done for the 30×30 challenge — could be better, sure. But the point of the challenge is to learn and to improve. What fun would it be if my watercolor skills were already at a high level? I’d really be fussing and fretting then.
Instead, I can sit back, have fun trying watercolor, and enjoy the results I’m getting. It’s become exciting now, you see. I check the prompt list, shake my head, and then let out that sigh each day.
Just do it.
I sigh, I pick up my paints, and I just do it. Regardless of the results I get, I’ve benefited from the experience, and you know what…? I think my watercolors are getting a little better. Maybe if I just keep doing it, I’ll keep on getting better, too.
NOTE: World Watercolor Month begins tomorrow! I’ll be taking part, but I won’t be posting paintings here each day. I will, however, share a few of my watercolor creations throughout the month. Are you participating too?