For Christmas 2015, I was given my first proper set of watercolours (Winsor & Newton 45 half pan set) and a Moleskine watercolour journal. I was thrilled with both, excited to get back to Glasgow so I could crack into them.

Something held me back though. Since I was a kid, I have had a weird reluctance to “spoil” anything. Things that are so pristine and lovely when untouched that marking them and using them for their very purpose seemed a shame.

Having recently become aware of this tendency however I sat down on the last day of the Christmas holidays and tore open all 45 pans (they were individually wrapped!!) and got stuck in. Then something switched: I was frustrated that my pans and palette weren’t messy and used! They were too pristine! Fortunately this has been an interest I have stuck with and the pan set now looks suitably broken in:

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It took longer to move onto the Moleskine pad though. Being a Moleskine you feel obliged, if not downright dutiful, to only fill it with the most glorious works of art. It’s not for practice pieces or experiments: save it for the best of the best.


I’m sure Winsor and Indeed Newton would scoff at such a ridiculous idea. Art is there to be created! No matter how precious the paper brand! And so after starting with one or two tentative tests with a newer set of watercolours, I have now delved into the pages of the book and now don’t care about “saving it for the best”.

It only hit me tonight how much pressure that puts on myself – to only use a certain pad for pieces worthy of it? This would most likely result in that poor, high-quality and not-exactly-cheap notebook sitting empty, possibly forever! And that would just be a downright shame.

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I once read a blog (which for the life of me I can’t remember the name of) that talked about saving your “nice” things for only special occasions, in this bloggers case, cosmetics and smelly products. She made the point that her job and lifestyle didn’t include many fancy outings that would be deemed special enough for her treasured products, and so she made a change: to use all of her products whenever she felt like it, best or not. Otherwise they would never get used! And then what would be the point in having them?

Same goes for my wee Moleskine. It doesn’t deserve a life of blandness. I’m going to do my very best to make it colourful and interesting, no matter how “good” the outcomes are.

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