For our prompt of “Fish” today, I opted for a couple koi and painted them using lots of different colors. There’s a large koi pond at our local zoo and it’s mesmerizing and relaxing to watch these fish swim around. I have to push myself to move along and not spend the day there. Also, koi fish are said to symbolize luck and can also symbolize abundance and perseverance. I like the last one best, because perseverance is always the perfect path to abundance and feeling lucky, even when luck has little to do with it. Often in life, the best things simply come from a lot of dogged determination. This is certainly how I’ve approached my own art by just showing up each and every day to make a little something. There are many days where what I made doesn’t match what was in my head. I’d imagined a completely different result than what appears on my sketchbook page. This never bothers me in the least. And, more often than not, I liked what suddenly appeared there even more. So, that’s why my single greatest piece of advice continues to be, “show up and make something, no matter what!”

You’ll notice that I don’t qualify or describe what gets made. I never think about making something “beautiful” or “worthy” or “better than the last time.” I hope it turns out to be any of these things, of course, but it’s never, ever the goal. If it were, I doubt I’d show up at all as it would always seem a touch terrifying. Thankfully, what I’ve learned is that little improvements happen no matter what when I show up and make something. Some improvements are so microscopic that I have to go back and look at things I’ve sketched more than a year ago to truly notice them, but they’re always there. And that always makes me feel good. There’s no such thing as a waste of time, when it’s time spent doing something you love. And if that something is a creative endeavor, then the more you DO, the better you get. This is exciting to me! So, I just keep showing up with whatever little doodle happened each day. That said, if you want to get better at a specific subject matter faster, then focusing only on that helps. I haven’t painted fish in ages, so I’m not on any path toward mastery. But it’s fun to show up and try my hand at sketching them again.

I’m not sure if I’ll personally ever find that one subject matter that I’ll do on such a regular basis that I can speed my way toward perfecting it more. There are just too many things I want to sketch. So many different things that inspire what I write. And tonight, I’m enjoying a glass of wine with Philippe while he watches another documentary. This one is in French, so I only understand every fifth word, and can mostly just appreciate the pictures. But, this is our little life. It’s nothing incredible, and consists mostly of a burning joy for each new day. Each day is a chance to make a little more, dream a little more, and love a little more. And while I do dream of amazing things that might happen in the future, I would be remiss to ignore this very moment. Its significance can be difficult to spot, to be sure. Philippe and I are doing nothing remotely more interesting than last night. But it’s our night, and our own special way of living through life together. And, to me, that makes it the most incredible thing of all. So, it’s in these moments that I realize that I’ve managed to make the best dream of all come true. And, why I start each and every day, feeling lucky.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Quinacridone Red, Leaf Green, Opus (Vivid Pink), Cobalt Turquoise and Ultramarine (Green Shade). Staedtler Pigment Liners 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!
Two Koi Fish Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail

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38 thoughts on “Feeling Lucky

  1. This is the second time this week that luck had come up. The other was a Facebook friend asking if people believe in luck. I said that it’s a matter of perspective. If I dwell on the bad things that happen I feel unlucky. If I dwell on the good stuff, I feel lucky. And I always go for the good stuff because that’s the way my brain is wired. So yeah, I’m the luckiest girl in the world!!

  2. Many people feel that you make your own luck. I don’t totally agree with that – but you do make luck by making good choices. I love your choice of doodlewashing every day and coming here to ramble, because I can then choose to visit and enjoy what you’ve done! Good luck for us both!

  3. Hi Charlie, for me I like your blog, I especially “show up and make something, no matter what!” my mental illness and great fear stifle so many things. I want to do but anxiety takes over. So sometime not sure when i will show up and make something. I am taking that as a mantra.

    I loved what you wrote of your relationship with Phillipe it is so special when just being with each other is so wonderful. A little life nothing incredible day joy. I kind of feel so many people expect a relationship to be so much more than being content. Content in life, content with life with each other, and joyous to be together. I shared a incredible realationship with my partner, and though death has taken him, I mourned, but am so content that I had such an simple, unconditional love it is the best feeling. To have known what you have and be joyful

    1. That’s such a beautiful way to look at life! 😃💕 Love whenever it comes in life is always a beautiful thing. And, I’m so glad you’re enjoying my blog and I DO hope it gets you to show up and make something! Actually, today, I have yet to paint for my post and it’s something I’m not adept at doing. So, I’m not at all confident of a good result, but it’s going to be sure fun to try! 😉

  4. Charlie said, “perseverance is always the perfect path to abundance”
    Yes! That is the key to PhDs (for the sake of the rhyme) and for any dream
    worth keeping.

    Charlie also said, “And while I do dream of amazing things that might happen in the future, I would be remiss to ignore this very moment.”
    and that is the key to joy.
    The fish are exotic and lovely.

  5. These a cool! It’s the simple things in life that truly make us happy. We are bombarded with so much these days. Our minds need time to stop and reprogram. Lately my husband and I have been listening to music instead of the television and I have enjoyed it!

  6. Good one Charlie, I use to have a 75 gallon tank with 7 koi fishes inside and the grow to almost 10 inches… But I sold them to a guy that hat a pond on his backyard… After all these years they still around and growing….

  7. “show up and make something, no matter what!”
    Well… I can’t, I couldn’t, I have beaten myself over it & now I can say: so be it
    But I’m glad to read that you can live by your motto and I think it’s inspiring to others too.

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