A Little Escape

Fly Agaric Mushrooms Watercolor Illustration

For our prompt of “Mushrooms” today, I ended up with this imagined little scene. I adore fly agaric mushrooms most as they remind me of the storybooks I enjoyed as a child. And now, as an adult, I find them incredibly fun to doodle! Today, the clocks changed for daylight savings time giving an extra hour to the weekend. While this initially seems like a gift, the result is a bit more like experiencing jet lag and I always find myself a bit out of sorts. So it was fun to just escape into a touch of sketching and create a place that feels a bit more timeless. And what I learned last month was that I have lots of images in my imagination and after sketching stuff each and every day for these past few years, the visual memory to actually make many different things appear on paper. As the sun sets much earlier, it makes me feel a bit whimsical. Candles will start to glow and everything will seem a touch more magical as we head into the holiday season. And though there will still be lots of things to DO each day, I know that I’ll always have my scribble, doodle, coloring to give me a little break to enjoy something I love. And, with just a bit of courage, I hope to keep illustrating what I see in my imagination. It’s fun to see what’s in my mind appear like a story in the pages of my sketchbook.

Granted, my stories bounce all over the place since they’re simply what I’m thinking about each day. Part of me wants to develop some sort of project where I’m writing a story as I go along one month. November is actually National Novel Writing Month, and for any of my readers who are taking on that challenge, I wish you all the best! For those who aren’t aware of this month, it’s a writing challenge where writers attempt to write 50,000 words of a novel in just one month. It’s described as a “wildly ambitious writing event” on the site and really couldn’t be truer. For example, my posts average only 675 words so this month I’ll likely only write a little more than 20,000 words. Even so, each year, I sort of long to attempt this challenge. Of course, since I’ve already set a writing and illustrating challenge for myself that would be perfectly crazy. But, crazier things have happened and anything is possible when you really want something. Last year during this month I managed to publish an illustrated memoir of some of my favorite stories. I learned that simply DOing things, even without a specific goal, can still produce some wonderful results!

All of that said, there are many days where I wish I could focus more and set about on a more consistent path. When I see that in others, it’s so impressive. Perhaps it’s my inner child again, but I can’t seem to find one path that calls to me in lieu of all of the other paths. If I choose one direction, I’m giving up something else. So, I’ve done the inexplicable. I simply failed to choose. I continue bouncing around and trying things with reckless abandon and infinite joy. Any books that appear are more like a ricochet of everything I’m currently doing in the moment. Though this seems perfectly disorganized and far too random, what I personally love is that everything I make always comes from the heart. It’s not part of some master plan as I don’t have one. And, each time I think I should try to create one, I look back on what I’ve managed to DO and remember how it was done in the first place. I simply followed my heart. There were no algorithms or other trends that I tried to figure out or decipher. Those things make me crazy. Okay, maybe just crazier. Yet, that’s the world we live in so I should be doing all of those things, right? Well no, my inner child says as he giggles. The best things in life still come from those things we can fully believe in and enjoy. And making art and writing is something I DO simply because it’s the best way I’ve found to enjoy a little escape.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Gold Ochre, Vermilion, Quinacridone Red, Ultramarine (Green Shade), and Leaf Green. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen (Broad Nib) with black ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Fly Agaric Mushrooms Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail

Recommended6 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Mary Roff 3 years ago

    Love these mushrooms! I think they have personalities and names and when no one is looking they have marvelous mushroom adventures. I’m pretty sure that the one on the bottom left is the ring leader. 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕hehe!! I love that way to think about mushrooms! I agree! They’re up to something fun!

  2. Bonnie Ottaviani 3 years ago

    Love your mushrooms! Being creative is a great escape. Writing and painting? Impressive.

  3. Lisa 3 years ago

    I did NaNoWriMo once. I lasted a week. It’s just not in me.

    I love these shrooms! Years ago in high school I did a pen and ink drawing of a forest floor with ferns and mushrooms and lots of green things. I still think of that piece and wish I still had it. I do still have a piece I did in college and my friend framed it for me last year so it’s hanging on my wall. I still love it.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks, Lisa! 😃💕 Yeah, I don’t think I would last long in NaNoWriMo unless I stopped sketching during that time… and that’s not going to happen anytime soon! hehe And yay to the piece you have on your wall! I’m sure it’s lovely!

  4. Karen Fortier 3 years ago

    Great Mushrooms, Charlie! Good luck with the writing if you do decide to do the challenge.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks, Karen! 😃💕 Yeah, I’m not sure I could do both daily illustrations, blog posts, and a writing challenge. That’s a bit to crazy even for me! hehe

  5. Lisa Ann Ulibarri 3 years ago

    So beautiful!!! I really love those mushrooms too they have such a fun feel about them. I have yet to do one of the writing challenges. I believe some do challenges every day too for it. ahhhhhhhh so many fun challenges lol 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks, Lisa! 😃💕Yay to fun challenges! hehe… yeah, there’s so many now it’s impossible to do them all. But fun to dream!

  6. LoriCtoo 3 years ago

    I love your little mushrooms. Mushrooms with red tops with white polka dots are my favorite. There is something so cheery about them. As far as you bouncing around from one thing to the next, I am the same way. I have to make myself focus on one project, otherwise I wouldn’t get anything done. If I get too many things going at the same time, they begin to whirl around in my head like a tornado. You are not alone little friend. 😉 50,000 words? Yikes!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Lori! 😃💕Yay to the tornado in our heads! lol It’s what makes us creative! So it’s worth it! And yeah… 50,000 words in one month seems crazy, but considering I’ve written the word count equivalent of more than 20 novels by now, I guess it’s not totally impossible. 😉 lol

      • LoriCtoo 3 years ago

        Lol, I know I can talk well over that in a month. I like to talk. 😉 If I ever had the ambition and time to write everything down, I might conquer that challenge!

        • Author
          Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

          Haha! That makes me wonder if there’s actually a talking challenge! Surely there must me one. There’s a challenge for everything these days! 😉 lol

  7. Jill Kuhn 3 years ago

    Hi Charlie, you know I like your mushrooms!! 🍄💕 I wish I could focus on one subject better but I just like too many things! 🎨👍 Keep following your heart! 😊

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks, Jill! 😃💕Glad you liked these! And yeah… truly, I don’t even know what it would look like if either of us were to focus like that! I think it would be weird and unsettling! lol 😉💕

  8. Loan Anh Pham 3 years ago

    I love your thinking and your story, Charlie ❤️. Some subtle things have just come from the simplest things with a loving heart. Your color palette in this sketch is one of my favorite I’ve liked. It’s a beautiful sketch.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Loan! 😃💕 So thrilled you enjoyed this post!

  9. marshathepainter 3 years ago

    WHAT! No master plan? Your story…my story. How can we possibly be expected to focus on just one, ONE THING at the expense of others? Just ain’t gonna happen! With over three-quarters of a century behind me I finally don’t beat myself up about my scattered “train of thought.” I just keep on keepin’ on. Darned if I could stick to an outline – I just wrote. And so much for structure in my life. Why spoil a good thing? I love to be free to change my mind, to follow where life leads me.

    Oh, BTW, those mushrooms of yours look like they are just in this world to entertain us. They are too pretty to eat!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks, Marsha! 😃💕 Yay to that! Yeah, it’s true that we live in a culture that craves consistency, but oh how boring! lol It’s way more fun to just follow our hearts and see what happens next!

  10. EJ 3 years ago

    I had never seen these until very recently, when dropping off my children at nursery one day I spotted some outside on the grass. At first I thought they were decorative to liven up the exterior, then I went over and saw they were very much real! Unfortunately, despite being in the middle of nowhere, every time some grow, some mindless clown kicks them all down 🙁

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      That’s wonderful you saw them, EJ! 😃I’ve actually never seen them in person… hehe… just in storybooks. But would imagine they’d seem more fiction than fact if spotted!

  11. Adnan Aslam Dar 3 years ago

    I really love and like your thoughts and stories this is also best one from you thanks

  12. Fatima Chamkha 3 years ago

    Beautiful mushrooms!

  13. Sharon Nolfi 3 years ago

    Lovely, whimsical mushrooms. They make me think of fairy tales and woodland creatures!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 Yay! That’s exactly the feel I was hoping for on this one!

  14. Gary Middleton 3 years ago

    Lovely colourful scene.

  15. Jacob 3 years ago

    More wonderfully ‘magic’ mushrooms! I think your subconscious is trying to get you to play Sonic, or perhaps Mario 😉

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      haha!! Thanks, Jacob! 😃💕 Yep… actually since Philippe bought be a Nintendo Switch Lite, I’ve been playing Mario Odyssey. hehe I’m sure that’s had an effect.

      • Jacob 3 years ago

        Haha, that explains all!

  16. smzang 3 years ago

    Charlie says, “The best things in life still come from those things we can fully believe in and enjoy.”


    Those mushrooms look magical. Was Ms. Muffet’s tuffet a mushroom? and if so was it
    the same kind you have painted here? When I was about 4 years old, my favorite aunt
    gave me a Little Miss Muffet golden book and the mushrooms on the cover looked a lot
    like the ones you have painted here. I did not realize there were real mushrooms that
    look so happy to be alive. They are beautiful.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks, Sarah! 😃💕 Yep, I’m sure these must be the same. This type of mushroom is the storybook first choice! hehe And yet, I’ve never seen one in person, so they’ve always stayed magical!

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