A Ship In A Bottle

Ship In A Bottle Watercolor Illustration

While thinking about “Boats,” our prompt for today, my mind drifted to thinking about a ship in a bottle. These models have forever intrigued me as I’ve always loved puzzles and mysteries. This is what’s known as an “impossible bottle,” which is any bottle with an object inside that appears far too big to have fit through the bottle’s mouth. It’s something that obviously happened as it’s right in front of us, but there’s no immediate solution as to how it actually occurred. It’s as though something mysteriously appeared there. Things like this were exciting to me as a child, mostly because I preferred to accept that it was indeed some sort of magic. It was far more fun that way. As an adult, if I wasn’t able to figure out exactly how an impossible bottle was created, I would still assume there was simply a clever human trick at play. A bit more cynical than my childhood self who would imagine all sorts of impossible scenarios for that impossibility. I miss those days quite a lot, so whenever I can, I remind myself to stop looking for so many solutions and take a moment to just enjoy the mystery. Sometimes, instead of looking for answers, it’s better to just revel in the questions.

That’s one of the things I love about art. There are endless ways to approach it, and not one of them is ever the definitive solution. In the end, it’s simply a matter of taste that decides if something is revered by millions or adored by just a few. Either way, it’s a glorious journey filled with lots of impossible moments. Today, for example, I only had 15 minutes to sketch something, which certainly seems impossible until you stop and actually try it. As it turns out, anything really is possible if we just try to make it happen. Much of the time, when I have to get something done quickly, I often find myself choosing the simpler path. Or, at least, what I think is the simplest thing I can imagine. In reality, we are capable of doing much more than we can imagine. So, sometimes, I find it fun to try something a bit too difficult for the tiny bit of time I’ve set aside. It pushes me to invent ideas quickly and the outcome is always rather surprising.

Part of the reason my time was so short today is that I took a very rare break. I played games and did nothing of any importance and just had a lot of fun. Sure, I’m behind on things now, but I’m ahead emotionally, so that’s always a plus and it means I’ll catch up very quickly. Tonight, Philippe and I are enjoying some leftovers from last night and continuing our lazy day. After managing to do one productive thing by filling the car with gas, we felt that was enough adult chores for the day. It’s been incredibly refreshing and based on the way I feel in this moment, something I’ve needed for quite some time. And the best part is, my head is spinning with brand new ideas that I’d like to try next. Not today, of course, as I’m still adoring being lazy, but sometime in the near future. Tonight, I’m going to relax and revel in the blissful parts of life that require no thinking whatsoever. Moments that I can simply experience as they come. Even if something truly unexpected were to occur in this very moment, I would simply embrace the magic, just like I did once years ago, while marveling at a ship in a bottle.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Quinacridone Red, Cobalt Turquoise, Terra Cotta and Cobalt Blue. 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!
Ship In A Bottle Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail
Recommended2 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
26 Comments
  1. Sandra Strait 3 months ago

    Your impossible bottle is magic! I’m glad you’re taking a weekend to unwind. You’ve been working extra hard of late and it won’t get better until WWM is over. I don’t know how you do it all!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sandra! 😃💕Yeah… I have a habit of layering things on… hehe… but it’s all good! And always good to take a little break every now and again!

  2. Karen Fortier 3 months ago

    Great post Charlie. Enjoy your weekend!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Karen! 😃💕 Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

  3. Jodi 3 months ago

    lazy days on occasion are so refreshing! yet you still found time to doodlewash and write! You are amazing!!!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks, Jodi! 😃💕 hehe… yeah, I always squeeze a little time in… it’s still so FUN! But sometimes… it’s a very little time. Also, fun and challenging!

  4. Nancy 3 months ago

    Pretty amazing doodle for only 15 minutes! I once watched a show on PBS about the craftsmen who build these little treasures. It was fascinating to watch but, you’re right, it did take away a bit of the magic.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks, Nancy! 😃💕 hehe… yeah, I’ve learned that even 15 minutes can be cool! Doesn’t take a lot of time to make something. And yeah, ships in a bottle are totally fascinating! I think I lack the attention span, but love the concept!

  5. Lisa 3 months ago

    I’ve been retired due to disability for over 10 years now. Still, there is never enough time. Funny how that works. But I did manage Thai green curry for dinner. And our housekeeping girl was here, so it looks nice in here. Her sister has been coming with her so she can do some garden chores for me. I may never be weed-free, but we’ve beat them back a bit! and the iris are just glorious this year almost as wonderful as the peonies!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Yeah, isn’t it crazy? There’s literally never enough time for everything we can imagine! But it’s still so fun to imagine it! 😃💕 And yay for beating those weeds back, I’m sure your garden is lovely!

  6. memadtwo 3 months ago

    I like the name of your ship, Charlie! (K)

  7. hootiebirdsartjournal 3 months ago

    I find it amazing when someone can render a believable watercolor of glass. I haven’t tried it yet myself because it looks so difficult. Great job Charlie.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much! 😃💕 I adore painting glass… it’s actually not at all as difficult as it seems. It’s just all about contrast… a bit more than you might think. And then the magic happens!

  8. Sharon Nolfi 3 months ago

    Stunning work on the ship in a bottle! I’ve always loved them, too. They are magical!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 Yeah, aren’t they cool? I love the idea, but I know I lack the patience to create a ship in the bottle properly. 😊

  9. LoriCtoo 3 months ago

    Always mysterious to me! No doubt there is a video out in Googleland that takes the mystery out of it. That is the sad part of the internet, it takes away the use of our imaginations. I won’t Google it, I’ll continue thinking someone with timy hands, tweezers and good eyes built it. Bahawaha! It is quite lovely. 15 minutes? Really? Wow! I might have to time myself one of these days. 😉

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks, Lori! 😃💕 Yeah, Google can be a bit of a dream killer, can’t it? hehe… sometimes I refuse to find the real answer and just enjoy what my imagination created. And yep, 15 minutes on this one… sometimes I think I like what comes out better and other times I’m thinking… geesh… I really needed more time. lol That’s the fun of watercolor sketching! 😉

  10. Sandra Gilbert 3 months ago

    I love it, getting the car gassed was enough “adulting” for one day. I love days like those. I don’t do it often, but I enjoy and appreciate it when I do.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks, Sandra! 😃💕 Yeah… I love days like that… when you stop short of being an adult and go ahead and play like a child! They’re the best!

  11. Mary Roff 3 months ago

    Amazing ship in a bottle and oh! what a treat to have a whole day with no adult decisions….sigh!!! 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks, Mary! 😃💕 hehe.. it wasn’t a gifted day, just one we both decided to make happen! And it was SO awesome! Highly recommend putting adulting in the background for a day. Most rejuvenating day EVER!

  12. Robert J. Coleman 3 months ago

    In my past days as a scale model builder, I tried my hand at a few such ships in bottles. The most fun of it is draining the last of the scotch from the bottle to be used as the container! It’s a real bummer when you build the ship outside of the bottle, fold down the masts and yards, then then find that it all do not fit thru the bottle’s mouth…. After leaning that horrible fact, you need a quiet day or two for the blood pressure to come down. bob.c

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Oh wow! Kudos to you, Bob! 😃💕 Love that you tried it… I gave up before even attempting as I knew my lack of patience would not be helpful. I’d probably just stick to draining a bottle of scotch instead. 😉 lol

  13. smzang 3 months ago

    Charlie says, “I took a very rare break. I played games and did nothing of any importance and just had a lot of fun. Sure, I’m behind on things now, but I’m ahead emotionally”

    Methinks you are ahead all the way. A little R and R keeps the creative juices flowing.

    I love the name of the ship in that bottle!!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sarah! 😃💕Glad you enjoyed this one. Yeah, I just needed a little break… hehe… and it’s always so wonderful to take one creatively!

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