A Touch Of Magic

Dragonfly Watercolor Illustration

When I was a kid, travel often included a visit to a lake of some kind, so our prompt of “Insects” today made me think of a dragonfly. I’ve always thought these creatures were a bit magical with their luminescent wings and hummingbird flight ability. Sure, up close, I also find them a bit odd and unsettling, but no more so than looking at myself in the mirror when I first wake up in the morning. If you squint just right, with a healthy suspension of disbelief, it’s almost cute. As a child, I always adored the notion of something mysterious and loved to imagine that things I found fascinating had magical powers of some kind. Indeed, I wished I too had some sort of magical power as well. I thought it would be cool to be able to become invisible, for example, or indeed to be able to fly through the air. I guess it’s just human nature to want to be special in some way. An enduring dream to possess some talent or skill that sets one apart from the crowd of others. When we’re little, this is a simple enough idea, but as we get older it becomes a dance between fitting in and standing out. For me, I just love to believe that there are mysteries in this world that may never be riddled out. I don’t want all of the answers, I just want to experience the beautiful wonder that comes from exploring all of the questions.

What I love about kids is that they always ask “Why?” To adults, it’s a cute thing as we know they simply don’t know the answer. But, many times it becomes a cutely hilarious situation when the adult doesn’t quite know the answer either. Those times, when childlike innocence poses a question that we have to stop and ponder a bit. There is so much that we learn as we grow up, and yet, that knowledge is never really absolute. The world changes quickly and we learn more things about the world each and every day. Each year, there are those headlines telling us that what we had thought was true for years has just been proven wrong. Some scientist somewhere has discovered something and though more tests are always needed, it calls into doubt whatever it was that was considered fact just before that. Though we know quite a lot about life and our past, what fascinates me is both what we don’t know yet and what we got completely wrong. In my childlike mind, this is entirely proof that some sort of magic much indeed exist. How we chose to define those bits that can’t be explained properly, of course, is entirely up to us as individuals.

What I do know is that the world is a wondrous place and I find its contents endlessly fascinating. It’s why I know I’ll never run out of “stuff” to sketch. And why I’ll always see something new each time I look at something I’ve sketched before. In fact, I adore sketching stuff I’ve tried before as it’s a chance to see something again for the first time. This is the gift that comes with making things. As artists of any type, our goal is to give the world a depiction of some kind. Whether with words or images, what we make is a reflection of life itself. It’s bits of our own reflections mixed with realities that we explore more than truly understand. In truth, nobody truly understands all there is to know about life. There will always be those questions, the ones only a child might ask, to reveal to us just how much we have to learn. Life isn’t about knowing, it’s just about learning something new each and every day. Thousands of mysteries are waiting to be solved and that’s what makes life worth living. We’re never at the end, only the beginning, and it’s exciting to discover what each new day brings. The great news is, when we approach those days with the eyes of an artist, we’re guaranteed to experience a touch of magic.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Quinacridone Red, Leaf Green, 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!
Dragonfly Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail
Recommended5 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
24 Comments
  1. Karen Fortier 6 days ago

    Fantastic dragonfly Charlie! The mysteries of dragonflies, lightning bugs, ladybugs and countless other things were fun to explore as a child. I agree that we now explore with the eye of an artist and the whole world becomes amazing and mysterious.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 days ago

      Thanks so much, Karen! 😃💕Yay to that! It’s SO much fun to see the world with an artist’s eye. It always makes me feel like a kid again!

  2. Sandra Strait 6 days ago

    Scientists definitely keep changing things up – what IS the status of Pluto these days? A good reminder, too, that labels do help you find answers and keep things organized, but they do limit actual understanding.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 days ago

      So true! 😃💕 I’ve lost the status of Pluto! lol It will always be a lovely dwarf planet to me, no matter where it ends up. 😉

  3. Lisa Ann Ulibarri 6 days ago

    Dragonfly!!!!!!!! so beautiful!!! In some of the lore it is said they used to be dragons. Something I love to keep in my wonder. 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 days ago

      Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕Hehe… I know!! love that as well! I got totally into them during the first moment I sketched them… if you haven’t yet… check out this post – https://doodlewash.com/the-dragonfly-long-before-dinosaurs-dragons-filled-the-sky/

      • Lisa Ann Ulibarri 5 days ago

        fantabulous!!!! I tried to leave a comment on the post and it did not seem to take lol. So here is what I said. 🙂 “Oh wow another gorgeous Dragonfly!!!! Thanks for sharing it with me. I did not know that their were so many varieties. Thanks for all the info as well!!! I watched a documentary on discovery channel many years back about dragons. They had this part where they hung upside down with talons connected and spiraled as part of their mating ritual it was so beautiful. In the end they said how many cultures have stories about dragon so how could they not be real. My inner child did flip flops lol. And I still have not drawn or painted a dragonfly!!! tsk tsk lol :)”

        • Author
          Charlie O'Shields 4 days ago

          hehe! My inner child is doing flip flops as well! Love that!!! 😍 But, yeah, you totally need to draw or paint a dragonfly now my friend! 😉

  4. Sharon Nolfi 6 days ago

    One of my favorite insects! They are magical, for sure. Love the wings.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 days ago

      Thanks, Sharon! 😃💕Glad you liked this! Yeah, I have to admit that butterflies and dragonflies are probably my fave when it comes to insects!

  5. Lisa 6 days ago

    I have a Facebook friend who every Friday morning poses the question, What did you learn this week? I love this because it keeps me on the lookout. Last summer I had dragonfly larvae in my little front pond. They are kind of creepy looking, but nothing to get too excited about, until you look them up and watch a video or two to see what’s really going on. Eek!! Go ahead, I double dog dare you! https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=EHo_9wnnUTE

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 days ago

      Awwww!! They are crazy weird!! LOL Of course, I’m going to take a double dog dare… DUH! 😉 And yay to learning something new each week! 😃💕

  6. Mary Roff 5 days ago

    Beautiful dragonfly, Charlie! The wings look like the finest of pate de verre glass work.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 days ago

      Thanks, Mary! 😃💕Yay! I had no idea how to make the wings interesting, so I just went with stained glass! hehe

  7. Ellen 5 days ago

    The minute that I saw this magnificent Dragonfly last evening I knew that my 5 1/2 year old Grandson, Benjamin, would be thrilled. Your Doodlewash is definitely valued and loved : “WOW! This is so awesome! This is the bestest dragonfly painting ever! I love this so much! Thank you Mr. Charlie O!” I forwarded this to a Nature blogger friend of ours last evening too. Mr. Mike photographs many creatures and has tried his hand at watercolors too. Benjamin is a huge fan of his Dragonfly photos. Thank-YOU!!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 days ago

      Oh my goodness! 😃💕 That just made my heart SO happy! That’s awesome!! Yay! Aww… when a 5 year old loves what I make I feel like all of my work is done here. Thanks so much, Ellie! To both you and Benjamin!

  8. LoriCtoo 5 days ago

    I agree with you….again. Dragonflies are beautiful, but when looked at up close, can be a bit scary. I always think of the movie The Fly. Your dragonfly however does not look scary, it is beautiful with all the colors.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 days ago

      Thanks, Lori! 😃💕 hehe… yeah, I took a bit of time to take the scary out. Closeup insects are just crazy odd, so it’s fun to try to make them a touch cute.

      • LoriCtoo 4 days ago

        I thought about picking up the dead grasshopper that was on my porch yesterday to examine him and maybe sketch. Lol, oh my!

  9. Jodi 5 days ago

    Loved reading your thoughts today! My 2 year old granddaughter asks “WHY?” incessantly 🙂 Makes me smile, because you are right, sometimes I don’t know the answer. Life is still full of so many wonderful mysteries to ponder and discover! <3

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 days ago

      Thanks, Jodi! 😃💕 Isn’t that the coolest feeling? The moment when you realize you DON’T know all of the answers. I think it is, anyway… it makes life worth living!

  10. Michael Powell 5 days ago

    I am the “Mr. Mike” that Ellen referenced in her comment above and I am a bit of a dragonfly fanatic. i am primarily a photographer and I spend a lot of time trying to photograph these amazing aerial acrobats. I made one attempt to paint a dragonfly in watercolor (https://michaelqpowell.com/2018/08/19/watercolor-dragonfly-and-frog/), but I am really a novice when it comes to watercolors. Your wonderful watercolor sketch may well inspire me to make another try. Thanks.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 days ago

      Oh wow!! Thanks so much, “Mr. Mike”! 😃💕 Glad you enjoyed this! And your watercolor is awesome!! I love the frog and the composition. So yeah, you totally need to make another one! Beautiful work!

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