I had a Christmas card order to complete but my favourite black watercolour pencil kept breaking. I’d sharpened it so many times it was now just 2” long. I needed it for my project so set out for the shops to buy another one. However, the only ones I could find were in expensive sets that I didn’t need. I had two full sets at home, both missing the black. At first, I started to think, “I won’t be able to complete the order” and “What will I do?” Then I started to think, “Is there an alternative?” Instead of focusing on just the watercolour pencil I widened my field of vision to consider what else was available. Standing in my local art shop my eyes rested on a charcoal art set. I wondered if it would be suitable and decided to give it a try. It turned out to be far better than the watercolour pencil and opened up a world of new ideas and opportunities. I’m now regularly using charcoal to complement the inks and it gives far superior results. It made me think about how we can get stuck with something because it is what we are used to, making us blind to alternatives. I’m now deliberately looking at other things that I use or do as a habit i.e. for cooking, clothing, gardening, as well as art. I’m asking myself, “Is there an alternative?”
Sometimes opening our eyes to new possibilities can lead to something better.