Finding Patterns

For Day 21 of #WorldWatercolorMonth and our prompt of “Patterns,” I chose this odd hairy moth. Though I definitely prefer butterflies in real life, I realize that’s all I’ve ever sketched, so I thought I’d study a moth to see what interesting patterns and colors I could discover there. In truth, flying insects with a bit of girth to their body tend to freak me out when they’re flying at me. Beyond simply swatting them away, the tone of my voice grows embarrassingly higher in pitch, just short of becoming the shrill scream of a small child. Though as I child, I think I was just more fascinated than afraid. Fear is something one has to learn as an adult, it’s not a natural trait, like instinct. Looking at just how lovely this little moth is in reality, I now feel a bit bad for my startled and unwelcoming reactions previously. It’s interesting how sketching the world can shed new light on it along the way. There are so many things to sketch, it’s almost overwhelming to decide what to sketch next, but it’s a fun and thrilling journey that always comes with quite a few surprises.

When I was kid, I would get lost sometimes staring at the patterns and the details that I would find in things. While teachers and others saw it as having attention problems, the real problem was mostly because I was often paying too close attention to things. And perhaps they weren’t always the things my teachers and others wanted me to be focusing on in that moment. Yet, each new discovery made me feel like an explorer, finding something for the very first time. Indeed, I wasn’t the first, to be sure, but the little feeling of victory was no less intoxicating. Not much has really changed today, of course, as I still like to scribble in as much detail as possible with my sketches. It’s fun to spot things and even more fun to share those observations in a doodlewash. Yet, as we grow up, this childlike skill of seeing the world as it really is, takes a bit more conscience effort. I’ve found the more things I sketch, the more I’m reminded to see the rest of the world with those same clear eyes. I find myself looking for those details again during my day, just like when I was a kid. And today, I get to share those discoveries with friends all over the world.

I love our global community of artists as it’s wonderful to connect with people from all over the world. And I’m stunned seeing all of the beautiful art that’s been created around the globe as we celebrate World Watercolor Month. There’s so much we can learn from one another and so much beauty that we can create together. Thousands of pieces of art have appeared in our global gallery here on Doodlewash this month and it’s been a breathtaking experience along the way. And it’s living proof that it’s quite possible to reach across borders and oceans to connect with art. Though we may not share the same culture, we share the same heart. A heart that wants to create something new in this often strangely divided world. A heart that wants to share beauty and knowledge in a way that connects us to one another.  After all, even when we think another person is very different than we are, there’s so much that’s actually the same. It’s all just a matter of finding patterns.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Benzimida Orange, 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!
Moth Butterfly Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail
Recommended6 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
21 Comments
  1. Mary Roff 4 weeks ago

    Lovely moth! Always fascinated with the patterns in moths and butterflies…what’s not to love, right? Fascinated by most insects…except flies and flies are in a different category all together…eewww yuck!!!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks, Mary! 😃💕Glad you liked this! I was actually informed on Instagram it’s a skipper butterfly and not a moth… but still… when the bodies get this big… it creeps me out! lol

  2. Karen Fortier 4 weeks ago

    Charlie your moth is lovely. I believe that moths are pollinators too or at least some of them are. They can be very beautiful. I try to observe all the pollinators and have documented several in my nature journals.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks, Karen! 😃💕Glad you enjoyed this one! Someone said it looked like a skipper butterfly so, I’m not sure what it is anymore. I probably transformed it into a butterfly instead… they’re the only things I’ve ever painted! hehe

  3. Sharon Nolfi 4 weeks ago

    Many moth species are more beautiful than butterflies. The more you draw, the more you look, and the more you look, the more you see!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Yay to that, Sharon! 😃💕It’s so true… I just have an attitude these days of more, more, more! hehe… Daily practice is still the best!

  4. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 4 weeks ago

    The iridescent dust of those wings create the most amazing patterns indeed. Some of them are famous for imitating dangerous predators or poisonous critters. Camouflage permits rather defenseless creatures to survive. Moths and butterflies undergo so many transformations, something I’ve always found fascinating given their tiny size. People also undergo many transformations during their lifetimes, but we take a bit longer. I keep hoping I’ll finally turn into someone worthy of this gift of life and will leave behind a decent legacy. You really gave me something to think about today.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      You and me both, Sharon! 😃💕 I keep hoping I’ll become that butterfly one day. But I think I tend to spend my life as a caterpillar, inching along to the next opportunity. Or, maybe it’s just that I rather like where I am, so I don’t feel the need to fly away just yet. 😉

  5. Robert J. Coleman 4 weeks ago

    Many moths are definitely beautiful, as is your little guy, and like to hang out at our porch light to fly in my face when i take the dogs out at night. But they will stay put more often than butterflies and can be photo’d or observed easier. And that makes getting all those details easier to recall, for one’s art. One night we had a Luna moth at the light, but it left before I could get my phone ready. Drat!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Oh no! Sorry you missed the Luna moth! These creatures are fascinating to be sure… beautiful, when they’re not flying in your face. hehe 😉

  6. Sandra Strait 4 weeks ago

    I’ve often thought about doing a write-up on patterns, because it can be a misleading word since it means so many things. An ornamental repetitious design, instructions to repeat something, a repetitious behaviour – patterns really are everywhere, and they can definitely be used to improve your art. I love your moth, but I’ll admit I prefer him on paper than flying around my house!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks, Sandra! 😃💕Yeah… patterns aren’t always perfectly repetitive, which is what makes them so fascinating. It’s fun to spot similarities in things and use those throughout a piece of art to create harmony.

  7. Lisa 4 weeks ago

    I don’t want to ruin your day, but this is a silver spotted skipper and it is a butterfly, not a moth. They are fat and hairy and little, but they are butterflies. Here’s photographic proof. https://wisconsinbutterflies.org/butterfly/species/112-silver-spotted-skipper

    You are so right about fear! I try to never show fear around young people because I don’t want to pass it on!

    • LoriCtoo 4 weeks ago

      Thanks Lisa for teaching me something today! I lived in Wisc in my younger years, but I don’t remember those.

      • Lisa 4 weeks ago

        Lol! They aren’t super memorable, but they love my sedum plants, so I see a lot of them.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Lol… Someone on Instagram told me the same thing. So, yep… this is indeed a fat and hairy butterfly. Cool that my scribble could be used to make the determination! Yay! 😃💕 But yeah… big-bodied hairy flying things still freak me out a bit.

  8. LoriCtoo 4 weeks ago

    Some moths are very pretty. When we would be at my Grandparents cabin In Up. Michigan, we would have the curtains open at night and watch for the large moths to land on the window. They were always beautiful. Good rendition of your silver spotted skipper…..thanks to Lisa I now know what those are!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Lori! 😃💕hehe… yeah, my reference was labeled moth butterfly so I had no clue what it was. But it was big and hairy and so I still don’t want it flying in my face! lol

      • LoriCtoo 4 weeks ago

        I don’t like anything flying in my face! Bahawaahah!

  9. June Hadaway 4 weeks ago

    Pefect subject for a pattern. I like his eyes…looks like he is wearing a pair of sun goggles. You did a great job. I like, both, moths and butterflies. They are just amazingly beautuful. Just like this one.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks, June! 😃💕 So happy you liked this one! Yeah, apparently it may be butterfly after all. It’s not unlike me to miss those sorts of labels. hehe

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