Painting with Water Online

When I was little, I loved to create. From drawings (see beautiful creation below) to oral stories to painting with water on my grandparents’ front porch, my favorite thing in the world was to let my imagination run wild. As I’ve grown up, I’ve put myself in a position where I create less and less often. School has become a major focus in my life, and any creative energy I have is usually spent towards earning a good grade on a project. When I do have free time, I find myself wanting to enjoy it in a mindless way like watching television. Since I’m at a point in my life that requires so much of me mentally, it is difficult to get myself to create something just for fun. This frustrates me.

However, today I was introduced to an awesome online resource that has the potential to yank me out of my creative rut. ds106 is a website that provides daily creative “assignments” anyone can complete and then share using social media. The assignments come in a myriad of  different forms, including: visual, audio, web, writing, animated gifs, design, video, mash-up, fanfiction, and even 3D print. Everything from creating your own Game of Thrones house (I’m super duper excited for this one) to transplanting a beloved character into a new world using only audio clips.

The best part? ds106 is actually a class… but it TOTALLY doesn’t feel like it! Started by professor Jim Groom of the University of Mary Washington back in December 2010, ds106 was actually founded on the idea of digital storytelling. People in the class and outside of it come together to create a vibrant online community dedicated to telling bits and pieces of their personal story through digital creations. While some people are participating for a grade (myself included) it is easy to say it reaches far beyond the classroom. Many of my past creative assignments for school have felt tedious, but this is like an outlet. For a short amount of time every day, myself and who knows how many others get to take a break from life and simply let our creative juices flow. How neat is that?

ds106 provides the means for me to feel like a kid again. I might be in my dorm room instead of outside the home of my grandparents forty miles away, but it’s like painting on the concrete porch by dipping my Grandpa’s old wood finishing brushes in an ice cream tub of water all over again. Only online, this time. 😀 I can’t wait to start creating with ds106 every day.


I didn’t have a picture of my water art, so here are a few of my drawings circa 2004. The likeness is uncanny. 😉


9 thoughts on “Painting with Water Online

  1. I so agree with you on how the older we get the less time we have on creating fun things! When I watch that “try something new for 30 days”, I got so excited just because it’s a great challenge! Then I got to thinking, it really is going to be a challenge because I am so busy with everything! I can’t wait to see what everyone creates though in this class!


  2. Jess,
    I completely agree that the older we get, the less creative free time we have. I too devote much of my time to studying and striving for good grades. I too am excited to begin the daily create challenges! Great post!


  3. I did not understand the meaning behind your title which lead me to look deeper into your post. As I began to read, I quickly became intrigued by the underlying meaning in your title. I completely understand feeling mentally drained, however I feel this project is almost like a booster to my cognitive ability. You did a wonderful job describing the meaning and story behind ds106. I have since found many other challenges such as this one for all ages. Have you done any of their challenges before? What other things can you think of that you would be willing to do for thirty days?


    • I’m glad that you read this post! Thank you. I have not done any online challenge like this before so I was excited to start it. There are a ton of things I could do for thirty days. Being an English major, I hardly ever read for fun anymore since I have to do so much required reading for my classes. What I’m craving right now is thirty days of reading whatever I want. Maybe that’ll be a challenge to complete over Christmas break. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love how you captured the awesomeness of ds106. I loved taking art in high school and creating weekly sketches. I am excited about the daily creates and where they will take me in the digital world. Your drawings are so cute!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awh, thank you. 🙂 I’m not much of an artist, but I’ve always loved to create. I’ve enjoyed the last few days of participating in ds106 and I’m looking forward to completing the rest of the daily create challenges! I hope that they help you cultivate your artistic abilities even further.


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