A Horse Of A Different Color

Seahorse Colorful Watercolor Painting

For our prompt of “Seahorse” today, I wasn’t sure which color to choose, so I just used them all. When I first started sketching, I would try to match the colors of the references I was using. This month, whenever possible, I’ve decided to turn those decisions over to my inner child instead to see what colors Little Charlie would prefer to see. And actually, my reference in this case was a black and white x-ray of a seahorse skeleton, simply because I liked the pose, so I had to make up the exterior from memory. This approach was a touch scary for my adult mind, yet I’m always impressed and amazed by the confidence of my inner child. To him, literally anything is possible. Anything imagined can be created on paper, and nothing is ever really out of reach. We all have this inner voice, the one full of courage, but it’s a tiny and quiet voice. It’s so easily drowned out by the much louder objections that often come from that adult voice. As I’ve often said before, that one is a total buzzkill, so I always try to ignore it when I’m sketching. Easier said than done sometimes, but so much more fun when I DO!

Today, Philippe and I just hung out at home and binge watched documentaries. That wasn’t the initial plan, but as we were doing other things, they just kept playing in the background. These were about how the universe works, or at least what scientists know about it today. It struck me that for each known thing, there always seemed to be something that’s still unknown and still yet to be discovered. For each answer, another question was posed. It was a bit like when I was a little kid and constantly asking my mother those “why” questions. She’d attempt to answer some, but would then refer me to my set of encyclopedias. No doubt, purchased for her as much as for me. Sometimes, I would find my answer, but other times I would find myself still wondering about things. There was a time when I was young that I thought I wanted to be a scientist when I grew up. But, that’s about finding actual answers and I realized I liked inventing my own to fill in the gaps much more. Sometimes, it’s just really fun to make things up from imagination. Though, it’s nice how life worked out in that I ended up marrying a scientist instead.

I tend to ask Philippe a lot of “why” questions as well. Perhaps putting on documentaries in the background is his version of subtlety sending me off to my encyclopedias. But, the world is just a fascinating place to me. Its facts are often as intriguing as its fictions and I find both so thrilling. It’s that combo that I think sneaks its way into my art. It’s not real life, but it’s realistic enough to create a plausible facsimile. Indeed, scientists make their best discoveries not by chasing after the known, but by imagining the unknown. By stopping to ask not simply “why?”, but the even more important question of “what if?” It’s this question that can create the most wonderful new breakthroughs in both science and art. And when you throw in lots of creativity and imagination into the mix, then well, you might just find yourself with a horse of a different color.

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Seahorse Colorful Watercolor Painting Sketchbook Detail
Recommended5 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
38 Comments
  1. CURIOUStotheMAX 2 months ago

    As I grow older I find myself increasingly asking “Why not?”

  2. Walter F Pierluissi 2 months ago

    Another Charlie’s cute guy….. Love it.

  3. Karen Fortier 2 months ago

    I love all the colors Charlie! What if is the best question to ask!😉

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much, Karen! 😃💕 Yes! I love to consider creative possibilities!

  4. Mary Roff 2 months ago

    He looks like a happy as well as colorful seahorses. Nice one, Charlie!

  5. Lisa 2 months ago

    Adorable seahorse! I used to love visiting the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago to see seahorses! They are quite magical. I ask hubs questions about his electronic stuff. I can also usually work up a football question on a day like today. Not that I care much, but it makes me a better spouse when I pretend to care. Lol

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕 I love Shedd Aquarium… it’s so fun to visit! hehe… I actually had to explain football to Philippe as we watched part of the game (it’s not a thing in Europe! hehe). I was surprised how much I knew! And it was cool, of course, that my hometown team won! 😉

  6. Sandra Strait 2 months ago

    I was probably a rarity in that for Christmas and birthdays, I always asked for dictionaries and history books. Well … books of all kinds, really. I wasn’t into deep science, especially where mathematics were involved, but love knowing how things worked in general. I was an odd child, and I’m so glad I was, lol!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      hehe! Yay for being odd children! 😃💕 I was the same. Well, actually books are still my list at Christmas. And video games… if there’s a story and/or a fun puzzle to solve!

  7. Sharon Nolfi 2 months ago

    You made a lovely rendering of my favorite sea animal! Keep asking questions – it’s the only way to knowledge.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Aww glad you enjoyed this, Sharon! 😃💕 I love seahorses as well! And yep… I don’t think I could stop asking questions if I tried! hehe

  8. smzang 2 months ago

    Charlie says, “make their best discoveries not by chasing after the known, but by imagining the unknown. By stopping to ask not simply “why?”, but the even more important question of “what if?”

    You constantly amaze me with your natural wisdom. Sometimes I think you don’t realize your own magnitude.

    As for the seahorse, beguiling!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      You’re too sweet! Thanks so much, Sarah! 😃💕 I’m so happy you enjoy what I write!

  9. Hninn Hninn 2 months ago

    Colorful seahorse….
    Yes..”what if” questions will make many thoughts and
    it leads to Fantastic creations for arts!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much! 😃💕 Yeah, I love imagining wonderful possibilities!

  10. Susan Masters 2 months ago

    Love this little guy… my sweetie keeps live critter cams from YouTube going in the background all day… did you know there are possums in South Carolina and wild turkeys in Iowa and oh course Moose at the Anchorage Alaska Seaplane base… the things you learn on You Tube is my new mantra !

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much, Susan! 😃💕 Oh wow!! We used to have those going at work in our conference room! Critter cams are so much fun to watch on coffee breaks!

  11. Lisa Ann Ulibarri 2 months ago

    Pretty!!!! What if does open one up to lots of possibilities as does why not? 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕 Yes! Sometimes my adult brain can come up with an answer to “why not” that my inner child doesn’t like, so I like to through in “what if” to stump it a bit! lol

  12. Jerson Antao 2 months ago

    Good rendering of seahorse Charlie!

  13. LoriCtoo 2 months ago

    Oh I love his rainbow look! I can’t believe your ribbed affect on him too. I had to zoom in on it to see how you accomplished this affect. Very good! I couldn’t decide what color to paint mine either. They seem to come in a variety of colors.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much, Lori! 😃💕 Glad you enjoyed him! Yeah, I usually just fake the anatomy, but wanted to try the texture this time.

  14. Snehlata Maheshwari 2 months ago

    Hi Charlie after long time .I liked the colorful horse indeed. Very nice.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much, Snehlata! 😃💕 Hi, my friend! I’m so thrilled you enjoyed him!

  15. Laura Kate 2 months ago

    Your painting is terrific. It was a brilliant idea to use a black and white image as a reference image. It freed your mind of influences in choosing your colors. Where did you find an x-ray of a seahorse?

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much, Laura! 😃💕 Glad you enjoyed this! Yeah, using black and white images or converting a reference to black and white is something I like to do. Then you just see the tonal variations clearly. I found the one I used on Pixabay… I think it was x-ray… it was sort of hard to tell. I pretty much just used the outer shape and had to make up the rest.

  16. Ianus Christius 2 months ago

    Nice!

  17. Heidi S. 2 months ago

    At the moment I struggling so very much with every painting I start and yesterday I thought: pfff let go. I just threw paint around. Thought: it’s just paint and paper. I’ll start over again. (but There were hours and hours of work in that piece).
    Sometimes – and yes: more often than sometimes – all those colours have to come out, like you did.
    This see horse is a good reminder. I hope.

    • Heidi S. 2 months ago

      *seahorse* (and what other things I wrote wrongly – sorry)

      • Author
        Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

        hehe… totally made sense! Honestly, I don’t re-read or edit my posts so I’ve no idea if anything I write makes sense! 😉

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks, Heidi! 😃💕 Glad you enjoyed this! And yes! Those colours always come out right at some point… hehe… it’s the entire fun of making things. One never knows when all the lines, shapes and colours will produce something extraordinary!

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