Collecting Sea Shells

Certainly ranking as one of life’s most simple pleasures is strolling along the beach, discovering various types of shells. Unless a shell was incredibly unique, you’d find me simply collecting them in that moment, making a little pile of curiosities and then leaving them there for someone else to discover. It was a bit like creating a little sculpture of some kind, using materials that simply moved me in that instant that I spotted them. Not much has changed with my art these days. I lean toward a subject that I find interesting, grab for some colors, make a little doodlewash and then stroll on. Whoever stumbles on this post will find what I made and I hope they like it just as much as I enjoyed assembling it. A quick and spontaneous expression that unlike those shells I abandoned on the beach, is frozen in time. Perhaps, I’ll stroll back by this post years from now as a stranger and marvel at what fascinated me on this day. I think that’s my favorite thing about these doodlewashes. They’re forming that self-portrait I could never paint. Bits of my heart manifested on paper.

When I first started painting, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was setting out to do. I was just so enthralled and excited by the medium and longed to play with it. After just over two years, that’s pretty much still the case. Many have asked where all these original sketches are stored and the answer is that growing stack of sketchbooks collecting dust in the corner of my living room. While I’ve gone back to some previous posts, thanks to the “Related Articles” feature below (which is astoundingly inaccurate at times, but no less intriguing), I’ve never opened those sketchbooks once. There’s certainly something a bit more emotional in the original that a scan simply can’t reproduce. Though it’s an accurate visual in color and form, there’s just something about a tangible piece of art that possesses a bit more magic. I’m not precious about these books and when people have asked to purchase an original I think about cutting out that page for them. I simply warn them it’s a rather small piece and there may or may not be an image of dessert on the back. They then decline their offer.

Perhaps one day, I’ll make larger paintings properly on sheets that can be framed in their original state. But today, I’m wildly content to just make a little illustration that describes my mood for that day. A little watercolor emoji, if you will, that tells you a bit about how I was feeling based on the color, line quality and form. Some turn out better than others, but each of them has their own little story to tell. Many who pass this way simply read the visual story and not the little ramble that comes after. I’m fine with that, though my art is actually a combination of both words and illustration. Thanks to all of you who read this far and experience the complete work. Always a bit of imagery and words drawn from the heart that I place here for anyone who happens by. And whether or not I ever move to more traditional pieces of paper or simply stay happily scrawling in a sketchbook, one thing is certain. My art will always be a bit like collecting sea shells.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Red Rose Deep, Terra Cotta, Cobalt Turquoise, and Ultramarine Blue.  Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book.
#WorldWatercolorGroup - Day 27 - Collecting Sea Shells - Doodlewash

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!

Recommended7 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
36 Comments
  1. smzang 2 months ago

    “My art will always be a bit like collecting sea shells.”
    Having grown up on the Atlantic, collecting sea shells
    was/is one of my great joys. The ones you have painted
    here are so real they have me wanting to press my ear
    against the screen and listen to the ocean.

    I have great appreciation for your “combination of both words and illustration.”

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Aww thanks so much my friend!! 😃💕 I can’t thank you enough for your encouraging words. I post and type so quickly, I’m not sure I’m making a post at all. I’m thrilled you enjoy them. And listening to the ocean is the best part!! LOVE conch shells!

  2. Jodi 2 months ago

    always enjoy both the art and words! 🙂

  3. Sharon Nolfi 2 months ago

    I always appreciate both the words and the imagery. I love shells, and yours are beautiful!

  4. Lisa 2 months ago

    I love this little doodle painting!

  5. Sandra Strait 2 months ago

    Your seashells capture all the beauty of the seashore! I’m like you, in that I paint mostly in watercolor books. If I can’t find one that suits, I just make one. I like them because they make it easy to store the work, I can write down information about colors/techniques used and I hardly ever look at them unless I want to remember that information.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks, Sandra! 😃💕 Yeah… we’re totally on the same page… wait… was that a pun? Intended!! Lol I used to paint on single pages and now they’re all in a box downstairs. I much prefer my little sketch of sketchbooks!

  6. Sharon Mann 2 months ago

    I’m inspired by your commitment! The shells are awesome.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 hehe… I’m not sure yet whether it’s commitment or simply obsession, but either way it brings me joy so that’s the most important thing!

  7. louiseaprimeau 2 months ago

    I love the analogy Charlie. I feel the same way you do about my blog posts, never sure how many who view my art get to the end of the actual post but my most loyal fan, my husband always does. For me, writing is just as therapeutic as art and so I continue and I am glad that you do as well. And I really do enjoy seeing your art even though I don’t always get around to commenting on it all the time. Cheers!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much, Louise!! 😃💕 And see, you’re one up on me. My husband doesn’t read my posts. If I get one I think is particularly good, I’ll read it to him aloud. LOL

  8. Indira 2 months ago

    Most of the time I click on the email link and come here to see the art and quickly read the post. Sometimes I do it on the FB or the IG. It is quiet amazing that you do this without fail every day.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much, Indira! 😃💕 I’m so happy you enjoy these posts! It’s sometimes tough to do it each and every day, but I couldn’t imagine not DOing it!

  9. Sandra Gilbert 2 months ago

    Your paintings become magical when your little ramble is attached.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Aww thanks, Sandra!! 😃💕 I always hope my little ramble completes the piece! hehe

  10. ktsolomon 2 months ago

    “Watercolor emoji”–love this idea!

  11. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 2 months ago

    When I read the title of this post in my email, I knew I’d love this one. Your painting is beautiful – I love the way you splash little dabs of unexpected color, but of course they work perfectly with the image. As much as I always enjoy your Doodlewashes, it’s the article that captivates me. How about this line: “They’re forming that self-portrait I could never paint. Bits of my heart manifested on paper.” That sums up your personality – bits of you making a portrait of an imaginative, caring person. Maybe a sea shell today, dessert tomorrow, a vintage toy the following day, and a dab of the artist in each.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      My dear friend, YOUR words are equally moving to me. Your comments make me smile, laugh, and sometimes cry a little. I so appreciate your gift of words, and I really can’t thank you enough for sharing them with me each and every day! You make me feel like all of this effort… all of this energy… just might matter after all. Thank you so much for that. 😃💕

  12. memadtwo 2 months ago

    You’ve outdone yourself once again, Charlie. Shells do have a special place in my heart, and these are magnificent! (K)

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much, Kerfe!! I’m so happy you liked this!! I was a bit pleased with how it turned out! hehe 😃💕

  13. Thomas Blanchard 2 months ago

    Lovely analogy and painting Charlie!

  14. Ellie 2 months ago

    Your painting and your words really brightened my day, Charlie! It’s been cold, wet, and gloomy here in Colorado for several days but you have brought some sun. Thanks! And I am smiling at the idea of purchasing one of your doodlewashes and getting a bonus dessert on the back. That really brightens my day. ( :

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Hehe… thanks, Ellie!! 😃💕 And ugh… sorry for the gloomy weather. On the bright side, I always say that weather like that means you get to treat yourself to dessert! 😉

  15. SnehLata Maheshwari 2 months ago

    Amazing shells. Charlie. i liked it . colours are so pretty.

  16. Yvonne Reeder 2 months ago

    Awww Charlie … your Seashells are lovely and how I would enjoy finding that little collection on the beach. Beaches and wheelchairs just don’t mix well, and I can’t remember the last time I was at a body of water. I did a further awww at reading of potential sales withdrawn because of size or circumstance … how silly some people are! I would be thrilled to bits just because it was a hidden bonus! lol <3

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Aww thanks, Von! 😃💕 Yeah, seashells are awesome, but I don’t see a beach much either being landlocked in the middle of the US.

  17. Elizabeth Metz 2 months ago

    This one’s just stunning. All that detail — I kinda want to run my fingers over it. 🙂

    Really cool to hear about how you keep your sketchbooks and such, too. I get a little precious with mine — they’re on a shelf just for sketchbooks and journals, because somewhere in my mind, I’ve got anal-retentive tendencies that only sporadically show themselves — so it’s a good reminder that these things are snapshots of life, not delicate little flowers to protect. <3

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much! 😃💕 Yeah, I’m really not precious with my sketchbooks. I just love making and move on to the next little thing. hehe… no idea if that’s better or worse, but I love looking forward!

      • Elizabeth Metz 2 months ago

        Totally better, IMHO! (The more precious I think something is, the less I’m likely to use it. It’s like I don’t want to mess it up or waste it or use it up. Totally a scarcity mentality, I know. But non-precious-ing things makes all the action happen, and it’s the DOing that has all the fun and learning in it. <3)

      • Author
        Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

        Exactly!! 😃👍🏻

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