A Holiday Wreath

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Day 11 - A Holiday Wreath - Doodlewash

Though I paint every day, I’m not particularly crafty in other ways. That’s why I was rather proud of myself when, not liking any of the prepared wreaths at the store, I managed to fashion my own a couple years ago. It was quite fun to choose bits of pinecones, bobbles, and miniature wrapped gifts and combine them in just the right fashion on a wreath strung with multi-colored tiny LED lights. The base was a plain and rather sad artificial wreath that is now appropriately pimped out and glistening on the back of the front door. Best of all, it’s managed to survive for a couple years now and this is its third year making an appearance. In fact, the actual one has bits of gold tinsel and a lot less restraint, but I didn’t have time to sketch all of that for today’s prompt. So, we have a crop of a more demure version that was likely in my head before I lost all willpower.

We put the final decorations on our tree yesterday and it shows a similar pattern of excess. From the impossible number of ornaments jabbed into every nook, cranny, and crevice to the blazing trail of lights surrounding it. And yet, it’s somehow perfectly right and appropriately festive. Unlike watercolor, where it’s very easy to overwork things, the holidays are built with a more is better approach. That’s why I adore this time of year. We spend so much time holding ourselves back, that when there’s a chance to just let ourselves go, it’s fun to embrace it. To me, that’s always been the thrill of the holidays. Even my late father, who wasn’t overly involved in purchasing gifts normally, would go a bit crazy on the rare occasions he would accompany my mother to the store. One year, I received an insane number of Atari 2600 games and every year after that, I would politely encourage him to assist my mother on her annual shopping trip.

Today, I shopped online for some of Philippe’s presents and went a little crazy as well. So much so, that I actually cancelled a couple of the more ridiculous ones, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be replaced with something else as the big day approaches. The gifts aren’t particularly expensive, but really just fun things that I think he’d like to unwrap. In my head, I’m imagining the evening ahead and planning out the order of the gifts for the night. A slow build and quite often a theme with a bit of story as I’m prone to do. It’s never really about the gifts in the end. It’s about creating a memorable night of fun surprises that warm our hearts and make us smile. As the years go by, sometimes the actual gifts are forgotten, but the joy they brought in the moment is never lost. And some things return each and every year, creating a fabric of tradition that’s uniquely us. Whether it’s that silly ornament of Santa camping in a tent, or that time I pushed the limits of my crafting ability and decided I would make a holiday wreath.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Quinacridone Red, Leaf Green, Terra Cotta, and Cobalt Blue.  Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book.
#WorldWatercolorGroup - Day 11 - A Holiday Wreath - Doodlewash


Recommended6 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Sharon Nolfi 5 years ago

    I love hearing about your gift-giving! Nice job capturing the form of the fir and the sparkle of the ornament.

  2. Sandra Strait 5 years ago

    Your enthusiasm for life is inspiring, Charlie, whether it’s for painting wonderful paintings every day or celebrating the holidays. You make both fun for all of us!

  3. Sandra Gilbert 5 years ago

    My daughter and I make a wreath every year withe branches we trim from the bottom of our tree. They generally turn out silly and wonky and we love them.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 years ago

      Silly and wonky is the best part of the season!! Yay! It sounds festive! 😃💕

  4. Jodi 5 years ago

    So I’m chuckling as I think of you typing this and Philippe reading it and thinking, “Oh boy -what is he up to? Now I need to get… and …” Oh the fun of this time of year!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 years ago

      hehe! Actually, I’m confident Philippe doesn’t actually read my blog. I’m sure I could simply list all of the gifts he’ll be getting and he’d still be surprised! lol 😉💕

      • Jodi 5 years ago

        lol – I’ll bet he sneaks peeks!

  5. Rod Fletcher 5 years ago

    Charlie, thank you for creating the wreath again – well part of it. You do realise that you have become my stereotype of an American, and I love the insights into your culture that you share. No doubt you are unique, but allow me my imagination.🤭

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 years ago

      lol… yeah, I’m probably not a perfect American stereotype…. too many European habits. But I do try to jump in and do my part! hehe 😃💕

  6. Hand made Christmas wreaths are ridiculously expensive in Austria. I’m always making several wreaths using the trees from our garden, and decorate them with ornaments and wax candles, or LED lights.

    Your painted wreath is very well done, Charlie. The pine needles are superb – fresh and full of character! Very nice!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 years ago

      Aww thanks, Violeta! 😃💕 I’m so pleased you liked this one! I sort of improvised and was playing with my illustration style. hehe

  7. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 5 years ago

    Sounds like you have a really fun holiday each year, and your wreath is just the prelude.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 years ago

      It’s sooooo fun! hehe… I’m getting extra excited as I just finished shopping for Philippe! hehe 😃💕

  8. Pamela Smith 5 years ago

    Somehow,I imagine this wreath as beautiful as this story and your artwork..

  9. memadtwo 5 years ago

    All the right elements! Your holiday cheer is contagious, Charlie. (K)

  10. Jennifer McLean 5 years ago

    My plan is to save all year so I can do just what you did this year, go crazy with presents for my favorite people. What fun Charlie!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 years ago

      hehe… yeah, going crazy with gifts is the BEST part of the season!!! lol 😃💕

  11. grace 5 years ago

    Lovely,bright and merry!

  12. Susan Cuss 5 years ago

    Good for you creating your own fabulous wreath, Charlie! I can just picture it all a-sparkle and aglow.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 years ago

      It’s totally glowing right now! Yay! Best season ever! Thanks, Susan! 😃💕

  13. smzang 5 years ago

    “perfectly right and appropriately festive.”


  14. jmnowak 5 years ago

    Hmm, this looks familiar! Clean, bright and cheerful. And, I have noticed your style has refined itself quite a bit. I like it! 🎨

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 years ago

      Thanks, Janina! 😃💕 I’m so happy to hear you think so… I do think there’s a bit more refinement there now. Glad you like it!

  15. Kaye Boggs 5 years ago

    shoot!! I really wanted to see the pimped out version 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 years ago

      hehe… never enough time for that many elements in a painting! 😊

  16. […] attempted to truly look closely at a pine cone and paint one. During the holidays this past year, I snuck a loosely sketched one into a wreath, but haven’t really tried painting one on its own before. They are devilishly complex and so […]

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