A Monument To Love

Taj Mahal Watercolor Illustration

For our prompt of “Monument,” today I had very little time to sketch, so it’s anyone’s guess really why I would choose something as complex as the Taj Mahal. But, I think this is a beautiful structure and though it likely deserves more time and attention to detail, it was a joy to create a quick doodlewash version. And, its story is equally intriguing as well. It was commissioned by Mughul emperor Shah Jahan after losing his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. This was the name Shah Jahan gave her as it meant “chosen one of the palace.” She would end up giving birth to fourteenth children, but only seven managed to live past infancy. During the birth of the fourteenth child, all seemed well at first, but it was soon discovered that Mumtaz Mahal was dying. Though he rushed to her side in those final hours, she would not survive, and died in his arms. Overwhelmed with grief Shah Jahan resigned to be alone and cried for eight days . Yet in the days that followed a plan was formed. In honor of the love of his life, he would construct the Taj Mahal, meaning “the crown of the region” and it would represent heaven on Earth. Though many love stories become simply bits of folklore, this story has survived centuries and left behind one of the world’s most iconic monuments.

While yes, very few people today possess the means anymore to create such an elaborate and expensive love letter, it’s still an intriguing story. It makes me think of the love of my own life and how I should always hold that love close and never take a moment for granted. Well, I should say loves, of course, as my dog Phineas would be rather irritated if he wasn’t included. And truly, my family and friends are dear to me so I have to include them all. It’s wonderful to have a life filled with love, but truly a bit magical when you have that one special someone. What makes romantic love seem a bit more special is because it comes with the least plausible reason as to why it should even exist in the first place. It’s not a love that’s formed over time, but one that just suddenly presents itself as though it’s been there all along. That’s why stories of romantic love are so endlessly fascinating. They’re stories we truly can’t believe, but eagerly want to believe at the same time. And when they happen to us, we’re no better off in understanding it at all, which only serves to make the feeling even more miraculous. And makes those silly imperfections of life feel almost perfect somehow.

So, yes, beyond being one of the world’s most unashamed optimists, I’m also a romantic at heart. I have to believe that love isn’t some sort of of perk we have in life, but indeed the very thing that gives a bit of meaning to life itself. When I find myself in a state of confusion or feeling a bit down, I need only concentrate on the people I have in my life who adore me no matter what. And, in those moments, I realize, if I had nothing else, I’d be perfectly fine. Of course, I don’t stop wanting everything else, that would be perfectly insane, but I no longer feel like it’s necessary. Knowing the difference between what I only want and what I actually need has been a wonderful aspect of the journey of growing older. I’m not sure if anything I’ve learned yet counts as wisdom, as that seems a bit lofty and something only reserved for owls. But what I DO know is that I’m incredibly happy now. Even when life doesn’t go in the direction I wished it would. I never worry or stress over things these days. Life has a way of sorting itself out. And true affection has a way of showing us all that every little thing we do in the moments that we have are the perfect building blocks in creating a monument to love.

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Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Leaf Green, Vermilion, Quinacridone Red, Cobalt Turquoise,  Cobalt Blue, and Terra Cotta. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen 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!
Taj Mahal Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail
Recommended10 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
25 Comments
  1. Karen Fortier 4 months ago

    Your monument to love is spectacular Charlie! Those of us you have those special people in our lives that love us no matter what are very fortunate. And when we have that special someone then that is what it is all about.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks so much, Karen! 😃💕Yes, that special someone can definitely make life so much better and worries never quite that worrisome. 😉

  2. Sandra Strait 4 months ago

    I think the Hollies had it right, “Sometimes, all I need is the air that I breathe, and to love you…” If we all realized that it would be a happier world!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Yay to that, Sandra! 😃💕Love that song! hehe… the perfect message for all times!

  3. creatingincolors 4 months ago

    Your Doodlewash of the Taj Mahal is fabulous!

  4. Lisa 4 months ago

    Trust the process! That has been my watch phrase for years. I was outside this afternoon and I was on the side of the house trying to get a good vantage point to see a spider I’m trying to identify. The grass was wet from last night’s rain and I got stuck with spinning tires and no way out. I heard the kids next door playing in their swimming pool. When there was a break in the laughter and schreeking, I yelled that I needed help. The youngest boy ran in his house and told his mom that he had to save the strange lady next door. Lol His mom came to check things out and pushed me out of my hole. Usually I’d rather not have neighbors because my views were better before, but today I was very happy for a little boy who was willing to save me!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Aww.. that’s a great story, Lisa! 😃💕And yay for the little boy who saved you from your predicament. Yeah, it’s really quite nice to have friendly neighbors who can help us!

  5. Sharon Nolfi 4 months ago

    Lovely painting of an iconic building today! Love is truly the greatest gift that life has to offer.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕And yes to that… love is definitely the greatest gift we could ever hope to receive!

  6. Piper McDermott 4 months ago

    Reading your posts is becoming my favourite internet pastime, lol. They are as engaging as the lovely artwork they accompany – thank you for sharing! I was struck most by how you describe the miracle of romantic love, popping out of nowhere 🙂 Magical! Long live the optimists and romantics!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Aww thanks, Piper!! 😃💕 That makes me so happy to hear that you enjoy my posts!! I write this daily and don’t always know how many people have actually read them or enjoyed them. So I’m SO happy do know that you DO!

  7. Mary Roff 4 months ago

    Beautiful rendering of he Taj Mahal and thanks for sharing their story. You are remarkably wise for not being an owl my, my friend. 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕 hehe… and thanks for the compliment! I always thought it would be cool to be an owl. I was once a night owl, but these days I’m usually asleep before 11pm. 😊

  8. LoriCtoo 4 months ago

    Well said! Words to live by! Seems these days, people need to push pause and really think about those around them. Thank you for sharing that lovely story and your painting of the Taj Mahal. I will look at it differently whenenever I see photos of it or when I am on Soarin’ Over the World at DCA ;P

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks, Lori! 😃💕Glad you enjoyed this! I love the story of Taj Mahal… and the view… it’s a magnificent structure. I seem to be on a kick of trying rather challenging things to sketch this month. hehe

      • LoriCtoo 4 months ago

        Well you are doing an amazing job!

  9. sqwiffy 4 months ago

    Aww Charlie, so romantic! I can understand why you are so loved and we’ve never even met! Nice doodlewash too!

  10. shawnthompsonart 4 months ago

    Nice sketch, you really captured the detail!!

  11. smzang 4 months ago

    Beautiful rendering of the Taj!

    I love the title, too, because at first glance I thought ‘you gotta love this monument’
    (sort of a dual slant)

    Charlie says, “Knowing the difference between what I only want and what I actually need has been a wonderful aspect of the journey of growing older.”

    a golden morsel indeed!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sarah! 😃💕Here’s to focusing more on what we really need! Live is so much more beautiful then!

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