Today we celebrate Winston Churchill Day, and a rare attempt by yours truly to make a doodlewash of a human being. Though primarily known for his political career, Winston Churchill was also an accomplished artist and wrote a book called Painting As A Pastime. After facing depression during his working career, which he referred to has his “black dog,” he decided to pick up a paint brush for the first time at the age of 40. By the 1920’s, he would send 5 paintings to be exhibited in Paris under the assumed name of Charles Morin. Four of them sold for £30 each.

“Just to paint is great fun … Try it if you have not done so – before you die.”
– Winston Churchill

Churchill first started painting in 1915 when he was at his country home in Chartwell. Up until this point, his hobby had been brick laying and he would build walls as a form of relaxation. While in the country, he happened upon his sister-in-law, Gwendolyn, as she was painting with watercolors in the garden. Seeing that he seemed to have a bit of interest in trying it for himself, she gave him her young son’s paintbox and encouraged him to give it a try. Though watercolor started it all, he ultimatedly decide on a different medium. He later wrote, “Experiments with a child’s paintbox led me the next morning to produce a complete outfit in oils.”

“We must not be too ambitious. We cannot aspire to masterpieces. We may content ourselves with a joy ride in a paint box. And, for this, Audacity is the only ticket.”
– Winston Churchill

He had an outward flippancy about his painting and continued to exhibit under assumed names, including Mr. Winter, but he privately took learning very seriously and set out to master his skills and discover all he could. He loved the challenge of art, but also the peaceful tranquility it gave him. Though he started half way through his life, he would continue to paint for more than 4 decades, producing over 500 canvases before finally setting his brushes aside. In 2014, a collection of 15 of his paintings sold for an incredible £11.2million at a Sotheby’s auction. His modesty about his ability in life never stopped him from simply continuing to paint for the sheer love of painting. And that’s something definitely worth celebrating, each and every day.

“When I get to heaven, I mean to spend a considerable portion of my first million years in painting, and so to get to the bottom of the subject.”
– Winston Churchill

Join me any and all days you like during April by celebrating a National or International Day with a doodlewash! Tag your image #doodlewashaday and I’ll feature everyone who played along on at the end of the month! 

About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Quinacridone Gold, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, and Nuetral Tint. Sennelier L’Aquarelle: Opera Rose. 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!

62 replies on “Winston Churchill Day

  1. I think you did a fab job on the portrait! I have to check out his painting! The story reminds me of George W. Bush who became a painter after his presidency.. Perhaps he painted before but I remember seeing an article about his paintings., not bad.. You’re really never too old to learn something new. 💕😘

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well this has made my evening, for obvious reasons – your portrait is so good! I reckon he would approve, though not without a clever remark or two on the perfectly stern look. I must look up his artwork – I knew of his avid painting but I’ve not checked the works out before. I’d no idea they were going for such ridiculous amounts of money either!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jacob!! That means a lot coming from the portrait Master!! 😃 I was so worried he’d come out looking like an animal. People really aren’t my thing. And yeah…I knew he painted but didn’t know he was so prolific and successful with it. Interesting guy!


  3. So enjoyed your post today Charlie! I love his attitude about creating! I did not know that WC was a painter. And you should paint people more often, Charlie! This is truly marvelous, friend!! 💕🎨😃👍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hehe!! Thanks Laura!! 😃💜 I really appreciate that. I thought this one was a bit better on the likeness, but it’s only the 5th time I’ve tried a human being. Hehe…I definitely would like to try more!! I think the black and white reference photos helped me on this one. Not distracted by the colors! Hehe

      Liked by 1 person

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