I always experience a bit of emotional jet-lag at the end of a long trip, and this time is no different, despite having done all this travel sitting right here at my laptop in the living room.
It was exhausting at times. Each of the ten episodes took over six hours to create (research, writing, editing, drawing, and painting), and I know each one took about five minutes to read! That is why, every single day, I made sure I was still enjoying myself, despite the work involved. If it isn’t a labor of love, it’s not worth doing. Like so much in life.
(Before I forget: Here is the link to the Road Scholar Adventure that was the basis for the tale I just spun for you. Feel free to sign up, and see how much of it I got right, or not!)
In the past, when I have arrived home from a trip, I felt cured of wanting to see a suitcase for a very long time. Today I feel a bit ‘cured’ of the need to write for hours on end every single day, but I know that will be short-lived. In a few days I will continue writing this tale, but more privately, as I write about the next leg of this imaginary trip, next in England in 2022, to visit five wonderful women who actually do exist, who live in England, Scotland, Belgium, and Germany. These are ladies I met through our friend Michael Nobbs whom you met in Episodes 6 & 7. Who knows what trials I will put them through before I am done with them!
I am also eager to get back to ‘studio painting’: painting on nice thick watercolor paper, making big juicy messes with all sorts of experiments, without the pressure of an impending one-woman show. As some of you know, when I started this virtual journey through Wales, I had just come off of several months of working diligently in ‘direct watercolor’, creating over two dozen framed 10 x 14 paintings. To go from that to doing small watercolor-and-ink sketches in a book with fairly flimsy paper for this Fake Journal Project was an adjustment!
Having said that, I don’t want to abandon the quick shorthand of sketchbook art. Studio painting and sketchbook art are exciting in such different ways. I became so comfortable with this simple approach while working on my Wales sketches at home, that I actually ventured outdoors in April, right here in Concord NH, to do some ‘urban sketching’ in the style I have done for years now.
I have been 98% house-bound since early March (I am in the high-risk group for Covid-19), but nevertheless, I suited up one day in mid-April with hat, sunglasses, mask, coat, gloves, and an outrageously flimsy notebook, a Pilot G-2 bold gel pen, and a water brush, to see if I could remember how simple it can be. And I did!
Other future plans
I want to establish a more normal, healthy rhythm (where I am not glued to my computer chair for hours on end every day), and incorporate stretching, strength-training, and a bit of cardio into the day, even if I don’t go outside.
I want to return to studying watercolor techniques with the amazing Lois Davidson, whom I support on Patreon, and whom I recommend to anyone who wants to see their watercolor work go to a higher level of loose, inspired semi-realism.
After a bit of time has passed, I want to also go back to my ‘Wales Tale’ and flesh out this 10-day journey that you have just read, by creating a few more characters, adding more interactions and conversations between them, as well as sprinkling in an unavoidable mishap or two! If it seems like it has gone well, I will look into ways to offer this funny little story as an e-book and as a small paperback, as I mentioned in Episode 10.
Why the heck am I telling you this?
Isn’t this blog supposed to be about “celebrating words and watercolor”? Well yes, and no.
It is about creating a life that is well worth living, and for me personally, that does include words and watercolor. I spent decades just surviving, and now during this pandemic it is more important than ever for all of us to remember to tuck little bits of joy into every day, and not wait for later when there may actually be no time left.
All of this is to say that if I can do it, you can do it. Exercising your imagination is as important as exercising your biceps. Otherwise, how will you be able to move aside the boulders, real or imagined, that may fall in your path in the future?
What we’re after here is resilience, every possible kind of resilience, and it is built one gentle, frequent stretch at a time. Stretch your muscles and stretch your mind. The imagination you use in writing fiction, and drawing from online photographs during this pandemic, is the same brilliant imagination you will have at your fingertips later when you need it to create a new world that is far better than the one we left behind a couple months ago. I need your imagination as much as I need my own.
We are all in this together. Get sketching. Or writing. Or, oh heavenly day, both.