Our second little thing is a doodlewash of a goldfish in a bowl. I was always fascinated with these creatures as a kid. They seemed like they were trying to communicate (most likely saying, “get me the hell out of this tiny bowl you jerk”) and always seemed incredibly bored. Lots of my friends had them when I was growing up because they were the go-to low maintenance pet. All of them had asked for a hamster, dog or cat and were instead “surprised” with one of these instead and told not to touch it.

Since I was one of the kids lucky enough to be given a hamster, I wasn’t allowed to also have a goldfish. When my whining grew too great, my mother finally gave in and got me my very own consolation prize: Sea-Monkeys. Instead of being disappointed, I was absolutely thrilled and thought I had really scored something magical. That was until I discovered they were not actual little monkeys who lived in water, but something else entirely.

The packaging showed a disturbingly naked family of human-like creatures with tails who were wearing crowns. Along with this was the exciting proclamation that these were “Live Sea-Monkeys” which was good, as nobody ever wants to receive a dead pet. I vaguely remembered the ads from my comic books and so I was intrigued. After all, they had promised these were “a bowl full of happiness you can grow yourself” and, best of all, they are “so eager to please – they can even be ‘trained’!” The fact that “trained” was in quotes had escaped me during my initial excitement.

Unfortunately, once the “live eggs” hatched, what appeared was something that looked like floating pieces of lint. I used the growth food as instructed, however, they never grew up to become that happy family from the box and remained seemingly lifeless microscopic sea creatures. Refusing to give up, I attempted to “train” them as described and play some music to watch them dance. They just stopped moving entirely. This was when I realized it was a hoax. I mean honestly, who could resist the sultry belting of Tina Turner or not bounce around happily when hearing the theme from Footloose.

Once, as an adult, I almost bought some Sea-Monkeys just to see if maybe things had changed. But I resisted. I didn’t want to live through the disappointment again should the same outcome occur. And if they had grown up to become the happy family on the package, I would have just felt bad that they had to live in a tiny bowl and likely found their nudist lifestyle to be uncomfortably awkward. So, I think I’ll just stick with dogs. Now that I’m old enough to have one without having to ask my parents first.

About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Azo Orange, Quinacridone Gold, Pyrrol Red, Cobalt Blue, Neutral Tint. Winsor & Newton: Permanent White Gouache and Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal


Posted by:Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world!

39 replies on “Fish In A Bowl

  1. What a cool doodlewash! You even captured it’s scaly reflection! I’m sorry about the sea monkeys. What a disappointment. I’ve never tried anything like that. And now I’m very curious. I have to investigate.. Maybe instead of a hedgehog that my girls want, I could get them a family of sea monkeys! And we already have a dog! 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Beautiful gold fish Charlie! Okay, moment of truth, I too wanted sea monkeys and as an adult I bought a package of them. It turns out they are brine shrimp and from what I could tell they ate each other or so it appeared or maybe they were just dying from my lack of required care(?). They had a sad ending and I’ll say no more. So I have learned, sea monkeys really are not the perfect pet. Like you I’ll stick with my four legged friends!

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      1. Boy, you and me both. Since high school, I had pretty much done no art (unless you count quilting) all my life! You do make it look easy, Charlie, but I’m quite sure glass is quite beyond me at this point! It’s nice to see you reaching out into difficult arenas though, and you really give the rest of us hope when we see you succeed! Lead on, MacDuff! 💛

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  3. That is an absolutely perfect goldfish, Charlie, and reacting perfectly to the water – love the slightly distorted and rippled end of the tail through the top of the bowl. Perfect!

    I was clearly spoilt as a child, as I had hamsters, goldfish AND Sea-Monkeys all at once. I won my first goldfish, though, at a country fair; I don’t know if they can still do that – I’d presume not. Your talking about Sea-Monkeys amused me though because I was pretty much the same. I think the packaging for ours was similarly curious/disturbing. I just didn’t get what I was supposed to be so engrossed and enamoured with. I’ve just googled them and they look far more interesting than mine ever did. But still, a strange business!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww you’re too sweet…don’t think he’s quite perfect, but glad you like him! Hehe That water and glass stuff is hard to pull off my hand. I need more practice!! And you were spoilt as a child!! You had it all! And yeah… now that you’ve seen the American 80’s version via Google you can’t unsee it! Lol It’s totally bizarre!!

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  4. Oh, yes, I remember the Sea Monkeys! 😜 Lol! My older sis and I came home with chameleons from the circus. They were really cool how they changed colors with their surroundings. Then mom had to buy mealworms for their food and that quickly ended our pet relationship. 😁 I think we had a circus gold fish or two also. They never lived very long. 🤔 You were lucky to have a hamster. I think I told you before that I had a gerbil named Charlie. 😮 Great doodlewash BTW – love how you painted the reflection on the glass bowl. 👍🐠🌟

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jill!! 💕😃 And too funny!! I had started a contour sketch of a baby chameleon and then changed my mind (perhaps tomorrow unless I get distracted by some other shiny thing😊) Cool that you had one! For a little while at least. Hehe And yes!! Charlie the gerbil. That’s a good name for a gerbil I think!! Hehe

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lindsay!! I chose this subject specifically to practice caustics…super hard! And thank you!! See? It was totally false advertising. But still not sure I’d want to be in charge of raising that freaky naked family, so it as probably for the best! Hehe


  5. Awesome as always Charlie O – so amazing what you are able to do every day. I remember sea monkeys – never got to get them – so glad I didn’t – doesn’t sound like they were much better than pet rocks. LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Rachel! 💕😃 Trying to work on reflections and shadows more. So picking things that help me with that! Hehe… and poor fish! Fish everywhere breathed a sigh of relief when my request was denied. And killing Sea-Monkeys didn’t seem to matter as I was never sure they existed anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

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