Unrequited Dreams

Unrequited Dreams


Maybe it’s because we’ve had a cool spring or maybe it’s because I’ve been so busy this year, that my annual ritual of bringing out ALL my water color paints has been delayed. But today, yes today, I gathered everything together and, well, instead of retelling an old story, I’ll share a post I first shared back in 2008 on OneGenerationToAnother.com. I would like to say I took the plunge back then, and that today I’m an accomplished watercolor painter, but the truth be told, I’m no farther ahead today than I was back then. Here it the original post

Spring is here. You know how I know? It’s not because the robins and red winged blackbirds have returned to our yard, although they have. It’s not because there is a multitude of tiny squirrels raiding the bird feeders, although they are. And it’s not because the bulbs are pushing past last year’s yard debris, although there appearance does in fact herald the arrival of spring. No, the undisputable indicator of spring is my yearly rummage through my craft area looking for my watercolors and sketch pads. Now this, in and of itself, may not seem like anything unusual. Nice weather makes us want to open windows, fly kites, plant trees, and get outside to do some watercolors. The only thing is, over the past 25 years, each spring I always assemble my watercolor collection, and NEVER paint or draw a darn thing!

 My family knows of this unrequited desire. And they try to be supportive and encouraging. Just about everyone who knows me, at one time or another, has bought me paints, sketch paper, and pencils. They’ve bought me nature journals and watercolors. They’ve bought books that inspire and instruct…yet I’ve yet to open a single tube of paint. 

Tim says maybe I need an easel. Eureka! I think he’s right. I also think he just made more work for himself, as I send him off to Home Depot to buy the supplies necessary for constructing a personalized easel. Let’s see…I’ll need a cup holder for my diet Pepsi…and a little clip where I can hang my cell phone. And, oh yes, I’ll want a stool…and perhaps it should be adjustable. And since I can, I think I’ll have him install a garden umbrella with a 360 degree turn radius allowing for the greatest solar control. Did I mention that I will need somewhere to hold an iPod? Music can be very inspirational when painting. Anyway, I’m sure with a quality easel I’ll finally start painting!

“Yeah right”, she says, with a noticeable amount of sarcasm! When it comes right down to it, I don’t paint because I don’t know how. I want to. I mean I reeeeaaaaallllly want to. I’ve signed up to take classes, but something always seems to come up, and it’s never worked out. Who am I kidding? Truth be told, I’m intimidated. When I see some things past students have painted, and I go all limp in the wrists. How could I possibly hold a paintbrush? I look at a virgin piece of paper and I get the phalange equivalent of being tongue tied! I suppose I’m use to being good at the things I do…sometimes even “the best”. I can knit and sew with confidence and ease. I can hold my own at cooking and decorating. But short of this one cute drawing of my old dog that I’ve perfected over the years, when I draw something, it’s about a 50/50 chance that others will know what it is. There was this one Pictionary incident that will live in infamy, when my frustration resulted in me impaling my sister-in-law with my uncooperative pencil! You know, you stick a pencil in someone’s forehead ONCE, and they never let you forget it! Anyway, I’m reminded of the scene in The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery where the young boy draws a picture of a boa constrictor right after it swallowed an elephant. Having shown this picture to many adults, and all of them insisting that it’s a fine hat, he gets very frustrated. I can’t remember if he gives up drawing or just showing his pictures to adults. I totally get how he feels. Perhaps my talents are simply misunderstood…Nah.

 So, as always, spring is here and I’ve started assembling my multitude of artistic supplies. Although I may not be an artist, it can never be said that I’m not a cockeyed optimist! Besides, this year is going to be different. This year I’m going to throw caution to the wind, unscrew a tube of watercolor and, and….and probably screw it back on again! No, darn it, not this year. This year I’m going to do it! I’m going to take my paints into the garden and actually use them. And then, out of gumption or sheer spite, I’m going to hang them all over my walls as if I’m proud as punch of them! When people say, “Hey, that’s a nice…mountain?” I’ll just say, “Silly adult! THAT is a dappled daisy unfurling her petals in the early morning sun! Or was it a caterpillar?” Doesn’t matter…I’ll be painting!

What unrequited dreams do you harbor?




  1. I used to be a bit intimidated before I learnt to paint,
    but don’t worry….everyone has to start somewhere.
    It’s fun!!!
    Cheers, Anita.

    1. Thanks for the words of encouragement. Just bought watercolor paper and I'm just about ready to start! (gulp!)

  2. I too wish I could draw or paint, at least draw. To be able to put some of my ideas down on paper. Good luck, and keep going. I would also like to know if it’s ok that I use your painting of your coneflowers as a screen saver only on my computer and no place else? Yes, I like it that much. Thank you , Debi

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