A Trip To The Aquarium

Day 4 - Finding Nemo Aquarium Watercolor - Doodlewash

A few months ago, Philippe and I visited our local zoo, which has a small aquarium near the penguin exhibit full of tropical fish. As groups of children came inside, despite the impossibly cute penguins, they would first rush to aquarium and press their hands and faces against the glass, trying to get a better look. The real fun came, of course, when they spotted characters from their beloved Pixar movie and got the ultimate thrill of actually finding Nemo. The squeals of utter delight that came from the group were joyous and the giggles that followed were totally contagious. So, that was my inspiration for today’s little doodlewash. A tiny glimpse into the dream of a child and that infinite and magical wonder they possess. It’s a truly enviable ability to pause for a moment in a state of complete and utter awe. Each time I see something like this it warms my heart and fills me with my own childlike wonder again. As much as I try to approach life this way at all times, it’s a joy to be shown exactly how its done by the little experts.

We don’t have one of those large aquariums where I live, but simply a small one that’s primarily meant for actual kids. When Philippe and I were in Chicago a little over a year ago, we took a visit to Shedd Aquarium and had an amazing time. Watching fish swim about is rather hypnotic, even if they aren’t one of the “famous” movie star versions. And I love going to places like this because it takes me back to those fun school field trips that I took as a kid. Although, my mother would say that I would turn nearly any new place we visited into a sort of field trip. Seeing new things and learning about nature has always been fun for me. I do enjoy a trip to the history museum, but that’s mostly about humans, so given a choice, I’ll always choose natural history instead. Also, human history can be a bit depressing as our species has done some rather horrible things that could never be considered natural. And I’ve always found nature to be the better teacher. Especially for artists, as it’s a wonderful way to discover new color palettes. Nature paints with all of the colors at once and never gets a single combination wrong.

In just one week from today, Philippe and I will be heading back to Paris to visit family and friends and I’m thrilled. Though I’ve been many times, I always see something new that I hadn’t discovered before and, yes, find a way to turn it into a field trip. My childish exuberance and madcap doodlewashes are not always kind to my watercolor brushes, however, so I purchased a brand new one for the trip (In case you’re curious, it’s my favorite, which is an Escoda Versatil Travel 6 Round). I’ll be getting a haircut before the trip as well, so neither myself nor my brush will now be having a bad hair day while I’m there. Though Paris itself is lovely, I’m mostly excited for the chance to paint with my 4 year old niece, Alice. I’ve only been able to watch her enjoy her new hobby on video so I’m excited for the live demonstration. Her mother said that I should teach her while I’m there, but in my mind, I know that it’s me who will likely end up becoming the student. Learning to see again through those young eyes that see only pure possibility on a sheet of white paper or animated characters magically springing to life on a trip to the aquarium.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Quinacridone Red, Benzimida Orange, Opus (Vivid Pink), Cobalt Turquoise, Cobalt Blue, Terra Cotta, Indigo, Vermillion, and Aureolin. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia 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!
Day 4 - Finding Nemo Aquarium Watercolor - Sketchbook Detail - Doodlewash
Recommended2 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
22 Comments
  1. Mary Roff 9 months ago

    Love your “doodle” and your post. We could all learn a lesson watching kids just enjoy life. Look forward to your posts from Paris. I had only two days in Paris awhile ago…and I am so thankful for those two days. All I wanted to do was wander down every street and alley and explore every inch of that amazing city. Loved the people, the food, the art and the history.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕Yay to two days in Paris! And I SO agree with wandering down every street! The streets are so awesome and each little alley calls me every time!

  2. Sharon Nolfi 9 months ago

    I love this painting – it brings a smile to my face. You are correct in saying that kids are the experts at getting the most out of life!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 This was a bit of an experiment for me… still playing and trying new things! hehe And yay to the experts! I adore them!

  3. Lisa 9 months ago

    I loved visiting the Shedd when we lived in Chiicagoland.. Seahorses and jellyfish were my favorites. Leaving the cool and dim aquarium into a bright, hot Chicago day was like emerging from a matinee of a particularly engrossing movie when it takes a while to get your bearings back and I always felt lucky that I wasn’t hit by a car due to my lack of focus.

    If it works out, you should give your niece one of the prompts and post her painting along with yours. That would be fun to see.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      Oh wow, I adore your description of visiting the aquarium! 😃💕 I felt exactly the same! It took me quite some time to give my land legs back… hehe… and I should give Alice one of my prompts! I’ll make a note to learn how to say it in French first. 😊

  4. Lois 9 months ago

    Always fun to see what you are up to and what you are painting. I know you’re going to love that brush – I received a set for my birthday and I’ve been painting with them even when not traveling – they are really nice. Enjoy Paris.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      Thanks so much, Lois! 😃💕I already know I adore that brush… it’s my 4th one. 😊I’m not as gentle to brushes as one ought to be and have to buy a new one each year! hehe

  5. Sandra Strait 9 months ago

    Your little girl at the aquarium is awesome! You’ve really captured her sense of wonder. I used to have 20 aquariums, filled mostly with African Cichlids. During that time period, I worked part-time at a tropical fish store for the fun of it-no pay, but I got to buy stuff at cost. Yeah, I’ve never done my hobbies half-assed.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sandra! 😃💕 I’m so happy you liked her! This was a bit of an experiment! hehe And that sounds fun to work at a tropical fish store! Yeah, I think you and I are officially long lost siblings…. here’s to never doing hobbies half-assed! LOL

  6. smzang 9 months ago

    “I’ll be getting a haircut before the trip as well, so neither myself nor my brush will now be having a bad hair day while I’m there. ”

    I love the humor and I’m just a wee bit envious of the trip. The painting has magic!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sarah! 😃💕 So thrilled you enjoyed this painting! hehe… and equally thrilled that you get a kick out of my humor! 😉

  7. Jodi 9 months ago

    Oh I’m so excited for you. Painting in Paris with your niece! What could be better!!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      Exactly! hehe! I’m SO excited! 😃💕 It’s going to be so much fun!

  8. LoriCtoo 9 months ago

    Nemo! Disney geek here. 🙂 Could this possibly be your little niece? So cute. I am excited for you to be able to paint with your niece. I think it would be so fun! Occasionally, I get pre-teens in my art journaling classes and they are my favorites to watch. No barriers, they just go with their inner feelings. I am having problems getting my pics posted. They are coming through sideways(stupid iphone update is horrible) and I haven’t seen where I can edit them on the website. I am not giving up today!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      Thanks so much, Lori! 😃💕This could be my niece if the hair were darker… hehe… I tried to sketch her once, but even her mother couldn’t recognize her. I’m rubbish when sketching people. And as for the image rotation on Doodlewash… I “think” I’ve added a fix for that. I tested it today and it seems to work. Won’t fix your previous uploads, but will hopefully work for new ones. Let me know!!

      • LoriCtoo 9 months ago

        I’ll let you know. I have been editing my photo rotation, even though it does not need it on my phone. It then posts the correct way.

  9. Sharon Mann 9 months ago

    Charlie, this is a magical painting. Have a wonderful trip to Paris.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 Thrilled you enjoyed it! and yes… I’m totally excited for our upcoming trip!

  10. TheCurlewsCry 8 months ago

    Great image! Beautiful colouring!

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