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January 1, 2018

It must now be twenty years since I read Stephen King’s book; the craft of writing.

In that book he advocated that any serious writer must be committed to writing at least one thousand words a day.

It was a promise that I made to myself time and again, but never kept.

Today is January 1st, 2018, the first day of the new year and I have made two New Year’s resolutions.

The first is to commit myself to writing one thousand words a day. I feel I have a better than average chance at doing this because on December 28th of last year, less than one week ago, I retired after working 29 years at the post office. This retirement did not come one minute too soon. After suffering a serious shoulder injury last fall which rendered my tow motor driving days at work over and done with, the horrible night shift of 3:00 am to 11:00 am has left me exhausted.

My husband who retired last summer make it very clear to me that my retirement would be filed with everyday walks and plenty of activity.

Well, that hasn’t really happened yet because of the extreme temperatures outside. Indeed, every day seems to set new low temperature records. Even some of last night’s new year festivities were cancelled due to public health and safety.

As for my second New Year’s resolution, it is about 44 years since my school band instructor Mr. Inglis told his music student’s that if you undertake a hobby and commit yourself to it, you must strive to learn at least one new thing a day. It doesn’t have to be anything overwhelming, but something you noticed, that you have never noticed before.

About a year ago, I began to notice that I was beginning to take on an interest in watercolour art. My daughter had purchased a travel sized watercolour palette that really began to peak my interest.

What made me take notice? You ask…

Well, it was probably when she, my husband and myself were making our way through security at England’s Heathrow airport. She failed the carry on luggage test when the screening noticed something odd in her suitcase. It was pulled over for inspection much to our chagrin. Anytime you are pulled over to have your suitcase inspected the world seems to grow dark with shame and fear.

In the end it was her travel size set of watercolour paints that caught security’s attention.

They opened it up and asked her what it was.

She told them.

They allowed her to pass through their sacred portals along with her box of paints. However, they made it clear to her that had they been in liquid form, they would have been confiscated.

During my summer holidays in June of last year, I bought myself a box of paints and some paper and began to paint.

Badly, of course…

However, I found joy in my awkward paintings. Underwater scenes seemed to be the nicest ones that I produced.

I began to dabble my way around the internet and you tube looking for direction.

From “The Watercolour Misfit” I eventually learned how to properly push water and paint around the paper. Mind you, I still need a lot of practise of this and many other things.

Anyway, my second New Year’s resolution for this New Year is to learn something new each day.

This, of course does not strike me an overly time consuming commitment, yet I recognize it will require some sort of dedication.

And so, on this first day of the year, I discovered not only one, but two epiphanies in regards to the fine art form of watercolour…

The first discovery came when I was doing a pink flat wash background for a bird that I had sketched onto my cold pressed watercolour paper.

Noticing that in my paint mixture, there were small specks of debris, it didn’t take me long to figure out that they flecks had come from the rubber eraser of the pencils that I used to sketch my drawing. I had erased several pencil lines and did not think to ensure the remover of the eraser leavings. That’s a mistake I will not be making again.

The second lesson came as I was putting away the tubes of paint after I had finished painting.

I noticed that the white tube of paint that I had used to highlight my bird’s eyes with was missing it’s small little cap. It was in that moment that I realized that after removing the cap on a tube of paint, you must immediately replace the cap.

Why?

Because those little caps are so small, once misplaced, you will be hard pressed to try and find it.

Good thing that I had made a new palette of cooler hues of blues and greens and had emptied several tubes. I retrieve an empty tube from the garbage, removed the cap and rinsed off the dried paint from inside.

And voila, I had a replacement cap.

While, I was at it, I retrieved two more caps from other discarded tubes. I know myself well enough that I can be quite absent minded when I am preoccupied with my tasks at hand.

And so, there you have it. I know two things that I did not learn yesterday.

Yay me.

Tomorrow, I will write of the painting books that I made.

To be honest with you, I actually had three epiphanies today, however I’ll leave it to next time.

I was just informed by my husband that I don’t have to worry about running out of paint anytime soon.

It seems that along with the three reams of paper that I asked him to order for me, he also mistakingly ordered another three boxes of 18 count paint tubes.

Three boxes.

Fifty-four tubes of paint.

I am going to be doing a lot of watercolour painting this year.

There’s going to be a lot to be learned.

There’s even more to be done.