Every year in December, ad agency creatives get SWAG from editors and music houses, stuff like sweatshirts and baseball caps, and most of mine got donated to the junior creatives who actually look good in it. But one year, many years ago, I was given a little book, and it set me free. I confess I don’t even remember which editor gave it to me (an opportunity for better branding on their part), but I have carried it around with me for years. It is “Watercolor for the Artistically Undiscovered.”
Having worked with incredibly talented art directors my whole career, I was justifiably intimidated by their ability. I would never presume to draw or paint or design anything, as whatever I did was always so ridiculous compared to what flowed magically from their hands. Once, in college, I had a sympathetic illustration professor who was kind and encouraging to me, but even he had to point out for me where I got the curve of a torso just right, or captured the light nicely. I knew in my heart that this was a realm that I could never master.
But this book brought out my inner kindergarten artist, who was joyous and proud and creative, if not very gifted. It made painting fun again, and made me not feel like an idiot for trying.
When I was working I rarely had time to play around with watercolors, except on the occasional Sunday afternoon after the chores and groceries and crossword puzzles were done. Fortunately, now I have time, and I have once again dug out the paper and paints and feel like a happy little kid again.
This book is still available on line from all the usual sources, and if you are looking for an inexpensive, last minute gift that can just possibly change somebody’s life, or at least their disposition, I recommend it highly.
And maybe one of these days, I will share a painting or two on this post, if you promise not to laugh.