For our prompt of “Maple” today, I thought of autumn leaves and ended up with a cat napping on a bed of some. I adore this time of year where I live. The trees have transformed into a beautiful palette of bright warm colors. There’s a tree outside my window that’s turned an almost impossible shade of orange and it glows in the sun while vibrating against a complementary and equally impossibly blue sky. It’s a gorgeous time of year, but one that only lasts for a few blissful weeks. The leaves are already starting to fall as the cool wind blusters through them. I love seeing the trees, but it’s equally impressive to view a blanket of colorful leaves covering the grass and sidewalks. The kid in me wants to rake them into a big pile and take a screaming leap, while the adult in me is quite content in knowing that my condo lifestyle means I don’t have to mess with raking them at all. So, I instead just get to appreciate the vibrant beauty of the scene and cuddle up with happy gratitude as I happily enjoy my favorite season!

Another thing that happens during this season is that I begin to dream more and think of all of the things I’d like to do in the shiny new year. I think this is because as we approach Christmas, I turn into an even bigger kid again. So any little dream I might have had starts to morph and grow and becomes more colossal. I recently spoke a couple of times for the illustration classes at the Kansas City Art Institute and I framed my presentation around a single phrase, “When I grow up, I want to be…” Then proceeded to show how I completed that phrase throughout my life and career, starting with 5 year old Charlie saying, “When I grow up, I want to be famous so they’ll make a doll that looks like me.” It was fascinating to see just how much I changed my own story each time I answered that question. Every few years, I had a completely different answer. Admittedly, it’s not a question we tend to keep asking ourselves as we get older, but since I’ll never really grow up, I keep asking myself that question all of the time. The reason my answer keeps changing is that I keep growing and changing like those lovely fall leaves. What felt right in a previous moment in time feels less so now.

Yet today, I’m still doodling art and ideas, still adoring watercolor, still enjoying writing, and still managing to put it all together into a wildly varied, yet creative concoction under my own personal brand that I’ve dubbed Sketching Stuff (This was previously just a page here, but after a 65 episode podcast and 5 books, I’ve now given this brand its own unique home, and I’ll have even more new, cool things to share there in the coming year, so if you’re interested in taking a peek, then you can also visit me at!). It doesn’t really change anything here on Doodlewash as we’ll still have wonderful challenges, community, features, tutorials, and reviews. And, I’ll still be here with my weekly ramble! Instead, it’s rather like a spin-off of a popular show and gives me a chance to spread my wings a bit by focusing on the idea of boosting natural creativity and creating like a kid again, in all different forms and mediums. Philippe has been very sweet and supportive as he watches me once again chase after new concepts and ideas. And our dog Phineas just looks at me like he’s mildly concerned for my mental health, but mostly just bored with the thought of any of it. As for me, I’m still just sketching stuff, as I once again reimagine what I’d like to be when I grow up, while dreaming those hopeful and wonder-filled autumn dreams.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.:  Yellow Ochre, Quinacridone Red, Opus (Vivid Pink), Leaf Green, Terra Cotta, Cobalt Turquoise, and Indigo. 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!
Cat Kitten Lying On Autumn Fall Leaves Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail

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14 thoughts on “Autumn Dreams

  1. Love this happy kitten, Charlie! It’s been a long time since jumping into a pile of leave was on my list of playful things to do but I sure do remember the fun of doing just that and then having to rake them back into a pile to make dad happy. I think he had as much fun watching us as we had playing in those mountains of color. Don’t ever grow up, Charlie,

  2. Charlie, so beautiful. Well said. We should all continue to evolve and change as we continue on towards the goal of “growing up.” I am far from growing up and I like it! You’re right, Charlie. I know that I am not who I was last year or the year prior or before the injury or when life was good, etc. 🏵 Such a beautiful picture that you paint not only with your watercolors, but with your words. I would love to look through your window and see such a gorgeous tree. Most of ours are still green and then crunchy and brown. Not pretty at all. Of course, we’re hitting close to 80*F still. We completely skip Autumn and that is sad in my book. So, I listen to your wonderful story telling and dream of pretty trees. 💜 Super cute kitty. He looks too comfortable and I am jealous. haha haha Warm hugs.

    1. Thanks so much, Marisela! 😃💕 Thrilled you enjoyed this one. Yeah… we always change… and sometimes in small ways and sometimes big ways, but life is never static. As for the season… the autumn winds came with a burst today and brought freezing temps and a tiny bit of snow, which was brief, yet lovely! Phineas has been in his little red sweater for walks now.

  3. We don’t have any trees around, but we live in about the lowest part of the county, directly in the path of the East wind that roars down the Columbia Gorge. As a result, we get the leaves of almost everyone in the neighborhood. Now is that fair?
    I love the raccoon at the writing desk!

    1. hehe! If there’s colorful leaves, it might be fair!… but not having to rake them! lol 😉 And thanks! 😃💕 I added that to my Sketching Stuff sign up form. There won’t likely be a newsletter until next year, but I wanted a more dedicated space and way to write to folks. The newsletter will be different and be just me rambling with thoughts on creativity and making things and not a raccoon. I hope people aren’t disappointed. hehe

  4. Awe, your kitten sitting on those beautifully colored leaves is so dear! Your drawings are always so fun and brings back many memories of childhood days. Always remember to dream……

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