Burning The Midnight Oil

Day 24 - Burning The Midnight Oil Candle Watercolor - Doodlewash

When I was younger, I was quite nocturnal. You would find me staying up until the wee hours of the morning working on various projects. I felt like I got a lot more done back then, but looking back, I was also a bit tired much of the time. These days, you’re far more likely to find me in bed by 9pm. In fact, it’s been quite a long time since I’ve even been awake for the arrival of midnight. I’ll stay up and read for awhile, but before the clock strikes twelve, I’ll have already nodded off. I have so many crazy dreams of things I’d like to accomplish that I sometimes wish I never had to sleep at all. It would be amazing to have a full 24 hours each day to get things done! But, then again, I imagine that one could easily get burned out if they never had a moment to pause and dream. And there’s something lovely about waking up to a brand new day with new possibilities. It’s like turned the page in a sketchbook and seeing a new one waiting there. I’m never quite sure what will make an appearance, but it’s fun to find out.

Today, while I was talking on the phone with my mother, I could hear Philippe bustling about the house doing various things. When I got off the phone, he had multiple loads of laundry cued, had cleaned all of the windowsills, and was beginning to attack the stack of papers and letters that had collected on the edge of the kitchen counter. I was quite impressed with his energetic enthusiasm. When I asked him what caused this sudden burst of domesticity, he shrugged and said, “I opened a window to let some fresh air in and then I got inspired.” I know he was simply talking about the unseasonably nice weather we’re having here today, but I rather liked that turn of phrase. The idea that something so simple was the key to inspiration was, well, a rather inspiring thought. Many times, I find myself feeling like I’m in a bit of a rut, and instead of turning to something new, I just keep trudging forward. I’ll try to tackle each problem with the same approach when, indeed, all I really needed was some fresh air.

So, I’ve decided to take his unintentional tip to heart and look for chances to open more windows. Those times in my life where I can shake up my routine a bit and try something totally different. Sure, I often try entirely new things when it comes to big projects like starting a podcast or publishing a book. But, then I’ll take the same path while driving to work or walk down the same alleyways each day. It’s efficient, to be sure, but I wonder what I might be missing by not opting for a slightly different direction. Nothing major, I’m sure, at least on the surface, but maybe something that would light a small fire of inspiration inside me. Just a glow that’s bright enough to lead me to a new place or spark a fresh idea. I adore those moments when an idea is so vividly new and amazing that I can’t wait to jump into the act of creating it. Those are the best moments of all. And sure, I’ll have to figure out how to make it all happen before 9pm, but that’s okay. I can still get quite a lot accomplished these days, even if I’m longer burning the midnight oil.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, and Indigo (my “Vintage” Trio!). 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 24 - Burning The Midnight Oil Candle Watercolor Sketchbook - Doodlewash
Recommended4 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!

17 Comments
  1. Laura H 3 weeks ago

    Charlie, you are a breath of fresh air. Wonderful glass reflection and personal reflection.

  2. Sharon Nolfi 3 weeks ago

    I love the flame in the glass, with seemingly endless reflections. I’m a night owl, but since I’m retired, I get to sleep until late in the morning. When I was a teenager, I wished I never had to sleep – it seemed like a waste of time.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 hehe… yeah, I’m sure if I could sleep in, I’d still be a night owl. I always felt like I got more done without the glare of the sun distracting me!

  3. Mary Roff 3 weeks ago

    Beautiful oil lamp, Charlie. I used to frequently take different routes when driving and I haven’t done that in quite awhile. Guess I am going to have to take a new road or two. It is so easy to get in a rut.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Thanks, Mary! 😃💕 And yay to a new route! Yeah, I have to constantly remind myself or I’m right back in a routine again. No idea why… it’s way more fun to try the road less traveled. 😉

  4. Sandra Strait 3 weeks ago

    I love your candle, and your ‘breath of fresh air’ analogy is inspired!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Sandra! 😃💕 Yeah, I have to credit Philippe for that inspiration. I love the way he lives his life. It’s always with a happy shrug as if it all somehow makes sense.

  5. Lisa 3 weeks ago

    I have a candle just like the one you painted!

    When I was young and riding into town with my parents I would challenge myself to see something new on every trip. It was rather eye opening. In the space of 10 miles there was always something I hadn’t seen ever before . And this was two or three trips a week. My favorite was the day I discovered a red metal circular thing sticking out of the side of a second story downtown building. It was embossed with a spider. I have no idea what it was for. And I’m betting its still there because there would be no reason in the world to got up the side of that building. Unless you’re Spider-Man then, all bets are off!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      That’s awesome! 😃💕 I actually want one of these candles… hehe… another fantasy doodlewash. And what a fun thing to do on a trip! And great find… so weird and wonderful. You found a mystery. It would be awesome to figure out what it was there for!

  6. SnehLata Maheshwari 3 weeks ago

    Thanks to remind old days. This light was the ollnly sorces my grandmother started to clean up,n the preparation for night
    Beautiful art Charlie.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Snehlata! 😃💕 And I’m so happy this brought back wonderful memories of your grandmother!

  7. smzang 2 weeks ago

    Charlie says, ” look for chances to open more windows”

    It must be kismet or something alchemical! That phrase is poetry in motion.
    This whole post knocks my socks off. First of all, I did not see it when I was
    catching up in Reader. It was only when I checked my email a few minutes ago
    that I found it and realized I had not seen it. The kismet part is the fact that I
    had just asked (in response to a previous post) that you paint glass with reflections,
    (actually I mentioned a window but this candle with the flame reflected in the glass
    is inspirational and lovely It radiates warmth and welcome.

    In addition to that, I asked for window and your wisdom of the day is “open more windows”.
    I love it.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Oh wow… I think we might be on the same wavelength indeed! Love it! 😃💕 And I took your prompt and painted it today. In my own unexpected style, of course. hehe But I love our collaboration! Seriously, you’ve inspired me so much and made me feel like I’m actually a writer. That’s a gift I simply can repay, but I owe you a million thanks. And thanks to your prodding, I’ve published a book of my writings! I’m just waiting to be sure it’s showing up on Amazon properly in order to promote it. But, it’s a tangible book just like you asked for! 😉

      • smzang 2 weeks ago

        Hugest hugs! I’ll be looking for the book, and headed now to see your window. I feel like it’s Christmas already.

        • Author
          Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

          Aww yay! 🙂 Can’t thank you enough for the inspiration my friend! 😃💕

      • smzang 2 weeks ago

        I love it. It is a visit to wonderland. Thank you!

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