Finding Fruit

Mice Fruit Apples Banana Blueberries Watercolor Illustration Painting

For our prompt of “Fruit” today, I did a little sketch of some mice discovering a variety of fruit. I’ve been enjoying sketching mice lately, and though the idea of real mice rummaging through one’s fruit bowl would be rather off-putting, illustrated mice are just kinda cute. There’s a saying that when something “bears fruit” it produces results. Indeed, my own approach to art is simply to show up each day with a little something. And, after more than five years, I’ve found this approach to be quite fruitful. I usually bounced around wildly in subject matter in the past, and that helped me to learn how to sketch lots of different things. Now, however, I’m trying to focus a bit more on narrative illustrations and practicing a handful of different critters. Mice are the easiest of the bunch to pose and dress, so that’s why they’re currently showing up all of the time. Plus, as long as they stay out of my house in real life, I think they’re perfectly adorable.

One of the things I’ve been discovering in the last couple of months is that I can sketch way more things than I first thought. I used to only sketch things with a specific reference, and now I’m just sort of tapping into my imagination and going for it most of the time. This is not something I ever thought I would be able to accomplish, but with steady practice, it’s getting easier and easier to DO! Granted, I still feel like I have tons to learn and try and many more experiments lie ahead. That’s why I’ve always called my art journey an adventure. It’s not a steady path forward so much as a crazy path with twists and turns and wild successes mixed with a few things that are less than successful. At least, the final result. The path to get to each sketch is still ripe with fruitful revelations that I then take forward and use the next time I attempt something.

When I first started sketching and spent many days and months rather frustrated by what I couldn’t do yet, Philippe simply told me, “sketch what you see.” This was back when I was urban sketching and drawing things from life. In my heart, and in my inner child’s heart, what I really wanted to sketch wasn’t what I actually saw in front of me. What I truly wanted to sketch most was what was in my imagination. What I saw when I closed my eyes. Little by little, I’m learning now to see that internal picture more clearly. And with all of this practice, I’ve been able to get things that are closer and closer to what I actually picture in my mind. It’s not exactly the image I see there, but it’s a suitable proxy of what I was thinking. I think that we can accomplish anything we want in life if we’re willing to put in the time and effort that it takes to get there. It can sometimes seem a little daunting, but with tons of tenacity and heaps of hope, I’ve found that I’m always finding fruit.

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Mice Fruit Apples Banana Blueberries Watercolor Illustration Painting Sketchbook Detail

Recommended4 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Karen Fortier 2 years ago

    Fantastic Charlie! You are almost getting me past my phobia of having mice in my house. Maybe mice are going to end by being the stars of that book that is developing in you head. 😉

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Karen! 😃💕 Yeah, I definitely think there will be mice in the book! hehe… so far, they’re the only critter I can pose in million ways! lol

  2. Sandra Strait 2 years ago

    Your imagination is definitely a cornucopia of fantastic things, and your talent excels in bringing it all to life!

  3. Mary Roff 2 years ago

    Love these mice, Charlie! Time and effort…and imagination. Just wish there was more of that thing called time 😊.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕 You and me both!! I feel like I will never have enough time to DO all I want to do!

  4. Marisela Delgado 2 years ago

    Such a sweet painting, Charlie. You always hit pay dirt. Just curious, but I wonder where that saying came from? 😋 Anyway, your paintings are a part of you and it’s special that you share that part of yourself with us. Thank you. 💜

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Marisela! 😃💕 Thrilled you enjoyed this one. As for pay dirt… that came to us in the 1850’s during the California Gold Rush. 😉 hehe

  5. Cathy 2 years ago

    j’aimais bien avant, une seule chose dessinée, c’était net, beau, structuré, bien réalisé, je n’aime pas ses animaux devenir des humains, ils ne seront, jamais “nous” – j’aimais vos beaux animaux en vrai, d’avant – vous ne reviendrez jamais à comme avant ? pourquoi avoir, ainsi, basculé ?

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Bon jour, Cathy! 😃 I’m working on illustrating a picture book, which has always been my goal. So, that’s where I’m heading next. I only started with realism to practice the form of things, and now I’m doing more narrative illustrations.

  6. writerleenda 2 years ago

    Charlie, the mice and you keep reminding me I have to get my Christmas cards done with my own munchkin meece. Have fun! Charlie just three more sleeps til Pizza time. Speaking of which I think I will put one on my shopping list right now.

    • Marisela Delgado 2 years ago

      WRITERLEENDA: Thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement. I just have moments when I get down. It’s been a long road, but I am doing better. I have been feeling really good; no more pain. 🎉🎉🎉 I actually do rubber stamping and make cards to keep me occupied. I just finished my Christmas cards. I say my prayers out in my backyard underneath the stars. We have a strip of sidewalk that goes nowhere in the middle of our yard so I walk while I talk to the Lord. 💜 Thanks so much for reaching out to me. (I don’t use Facebook or any social media.) It means a lot. 💜 Have a great week.

      • writerleenda 2 years ago

        What you are doing is a form of walking meditation, Marisela! Thanks and you too have a great week. I found replies on my log in thing which I didn’t know were there — for six weeks. You as well have a good week.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Linda! 😃💕 hehe… yeah, I think Christmas is going to suddenly be upon us before we know it! And yay for adding pizza to your shopping list!

  7. Unique Tales 2 years ago

    Your mice are cute. 🐁

  8. Unique Tales 2 years ago

    So sweet.

  9. Gary Middleton 2 years ago

    Great doodle, Charlie. I really want to paint some of the landscapes that I see on my walks and rides, but I can’t seem to be able to paint clouds or trees. That frustrates me.

    • writerleenda 2 years ago

      Try using the end of your brush instead of the side. Dip it in the pigment and touch it onto the page. You might have to sweep parts of it. Trees are a series of V. I had a hard time too so I sat at the window and replicated the real one while looking at it. It worked. Almost exactly a year later they felled it.

    • writerleenda 2 years ago

      I mean touch the ends of the brush and just touch the page, not sweep. Sweep later to even parts of it out. Just practise without making a painting, use paper ends or the backs of pictures. Jean Haines says to paint for the bin (and if it turns out great then keep it).

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Gary! 😃💕 Yeah, I typically avoided backgrounds as I just didn’t practice them enough. Your prompts helped me try things I haven’t (fireworks and mist no less!). I just watched a bunch of process videos and then did my own thing and played. If you play a bit and forget about doing it correctly… it works way better and is often surprising! 😉

  10. Susan Masters 2 years ago

    Fantastic guys but yes not fun having them in your fruit bowl, I had to move all the fruit into the fridge, the only place your buddies couldn’t get into!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Susan! 😃💕 hehe… yeah, mice actually in a home and fruit bowl are not cute at all!

  11. Mugdha 2 years ago

    Hello Charlie,

    Your Doodlewash is so alive today! The mice seem to be happily discussing what they can make with the blueberries. Mr. Mouse asks Miss Mouse, “Should we make blueberry pie or jam?” Miss Mouse answered, “There’s a banana too… so lets make vegan blueberry ice-cream pie!”… or something like that. Am quite glad to know that you too started with feeling like you could only paint from reference but have finally got to painting what you see in your heart. That gives me tons of hope on days when my sketches look like a kindergarten kid made them. 🙁


    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Mugdha! 😃💕 hehe! I adore your imagined mouse discussion. I think that’s exactly what’s taking place here. Save those pages that you think a kindergarten kid made… there’s magic there. When you look back a couple years from now, you’ll be able to see what it was and use it in your work! 😉

  12. Priscilla DeConti 2 years ago

    Wow so wonderful!!the painting and the encouragement! Key is to keep practicing! thanks much!😊

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Priscilla! 😃💕 Yes!! Never stop practicing a little each day. That’s the big secret, that’s SO easy you’d think everyone would be doing it! 😉

  13. Sharda 2 years ago

    I love your art work. This picture reminds me of all the wonderful books I read in my childhood. Nice post!

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