Collecting Memories

Wildflowers Vase Watercolor Illustration

For our prompt of “Wildflowers” today, my mind always travels back in time to summer days spent on my grandmother’s farm. The flowers are simply drawn from fragments of my memory and I’ve no idea what names they have. Yet, I can remember clearly the gravel road that I walked down and seeing flowers popping up all along the side. As an adult, I simply admire them, but as a kid I had to rush over and collect some to bring back with me. What I love about sketching stuff is that, in the process, I’m reminding myself of things I often forget in the rush and stress of everyday life. And while I could document what’s happening in front of me, my own form of travel sketching is more about time travel. In the case of collecting wildflowers, that’s something a bit more timeless. It’s something I could do right now, if I wanted to, but the heat and unhealthy foul air outside is keeping me indoors. But, with my sketchbook, I can still take that journey in my mind. I can travel just outside my window or, as I often like to do, much farther back in time to when I was a child. This has been the unexpected joy of my watercolor sketching habit. I’m creating new memories born out of ones that I’ve almost forgotten.

And as World Watercolor Month gets closer (just 54 hours or so for some parts of the world!), I’m excited to see every memory from now and then that each of YOU create! Whether we’re remembering the past or painting something that’s happening right in this moment, we’re all making history. Together, as we create things, we’re adding more beauty to a world that really needs it. We’ve always needed art in our existence, but I like to think that art will play an even more important role in the future. That unique brush stroke that we each make is invaluable. No robot could perfectly replicate it, making each stroke of paint incredibly special. And, as I always like to say, even if you’re just starting out, don’t worry about finding your style as it’s already there. What happens next is a journey of finesse and technique that transforms that style into the truest version of you there is. Never be shy about sharing that style with the world. I was at first, but did it anyway, and it’s made for such a thrilling adventure. I’ve made sketches that have totally bombed when it came to likes and/or comments, but there was always that one person who said, “I love this!” or at least gave me an emoji thumbs up. If I can make at least one person smile each day, then I know that what I’m doing is worth doing.

On a personal note, I now have a searchable diary here on The one I told myself I’d keep when I was young, older, and now quite middle aged. I would try in fits and starts and never managed to keep a journal going for more than a couple of weeks. Today, I can’t imagine not showing up to share whatever little thing I made and my latest thought about the day. And yes, I do hope that people comment about what I just created. But, the thrill for me has always been the conversation. What I sketch and write is just a conversation starter. I place you, my lovely reader, in the middle of an idea that has no specific ending. I then ramble on about myself because that’s what I know best, but what I love most is learning about what you know. Those little bits of forgotten moments that lay along that road less traveled in our minds. We would all love to see vast improvement in the things that we make, and many of us may have big goals in place to make that happen. I myself, am still content in just showing up to make anything at all. I think it’s a rather miraculous thing indeed to sketch, paint and write each and every day. For me, it’s not a journey toward mastery, but simply a glorious and unexpected adventure of collecting memories.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Quinacridone Red, 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!
Wildflowers Vase Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail


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  1. Sharon Nolfi 4 years ago

    One of the best things about your posts is the way they evoke my own memories.

  2. Karen Fortier 4 years ago

    I love you simple jar of flowers and I love your reminiscences. I am amazed how many memories of my own are stirred up by all these little doodles.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Yay! So thrilled to hear that Karen! 😃💕 That’s my hope in my art… I hope what I remember sparks memories in others!

  3. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 4 years ago

    You’re right – Doodlewash is your daily journal! For me, it was collecting buttercups and clover which I wove into garlands.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 Yeah… it’s totally my daily journal… though the different kind without the lock on it. And yay to buttercups and clover garlands. That sounds lovely!

  4. Sandra Strait 4 years ago

    My Irish Grandmother used to keep flowers in a jar like that. They sat in a table by the window and although the jar was plain and cheap, it became a beautiful treasure for a few moments everyday when the sun hit just right. It’s the moments like that that are worth remembering and one of the reasons I visit every day to read your rambles!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Aww thanks, Sandra! 😃💕You know just how happy that makes me to hear! I hope that my doodles and rambles evoke good personal memories to whoever happens upon them!

  5. Lisa 4 years ago

    I love your jar. I bought three of this style of jars for my kitchen because I like the way they look, but turns out the biggest one comes in very handy when I slice cucumbers and put them in with some vinegar and sugar and spice for quick summer pickles. They look so good in the fancy jar. Maybe when my cosmos and queen Anne’s lace are blooming I’ll fill a jar with them to paint.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      You should totally fill that jar and paint it, Lisa! 😃💕 Love these jars as well… such a nice nostalgia to them.

  6. Mary Roff 4 years ago

    Wonderful flowers and memories! Your stories about your grandmother’s farm always have me wandering down memory lane to my grandpa’s farm and all of the wonderful times we spent there. Cherished memories for sure.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks, Mary! 😃💕Aww yay! Yeah… farm visits are probably the coolest thing a child can experience. So wonderful!

  7. LoriCtoo 4 years ago

    Such a cute little jar of posies and of course in a glass jar. We are so in tuned for this one! I choose to sketch a daisy. I went back to my childhood when we used to go up to Upper Michigan. There were always daisies, scattered along the sandy banks of my grandparents cabin. A flood of memories surfaced. Thanks for showing up every day!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks, Lori! 😃💕 Couldn’t stop if I tried… hehe… I’m totally hooked on daily sketching and bound and determined to get everyone else hooked as well! I adore the memories evoked in choosing something to paint. It’s always so surprising as to what comes out. And love your memories of daisies by your grandparents cabin!

  8. JA Wilson 4 years ago

    Thank you, you’ve made me smile. I took a memory walk down my grandparents gravel road picking sweet peas and bachelor buttons for my grandma who was allergic, she’d lovingly put them in water and ask to set them on the front porch where we could share them.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      I’m so happy this brought back those memories. That sounds lovely, even if your grandmother was allergic… that’s the wonderful thing about grandparents. 😃💕

  9. smzang 4 years ago

    Gorgeous!…both the thoughts and the flowers. I love the peace of this, the joy!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks so much, Sarah! 😃💕 Sketching and writing brings me such peace… I think it only has to show up in my doodles and rambles!

  10. Robert J. Coleman 4 years ago

    Love the flowers in the water jar – you have that glass and water technique nailed down,so lifelike and evocative. And your daily blogs of your thoughts really to help all us readers bring to mind similar memories and intuitions. The daily doodles have become your diary and a nearly perfect at that. Keep on keepin’ on!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks, Bob! 😃💕 My mother always said, “don’t encourage him” but I’m sure she was joking. So, I can’t thank you enough for encouraging me. It really means a lot to me that you read and respond to my doodles and stories. Thank you!

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