Finding The Best Stick

Black And Tan Dog Mutt Holding Stick Elliott Watercolor Illustration

For our prompt of “Bark” today, I thought of both a dog and trees at the same time so I ended up with a little sketch of my puppy Elliott holding a tree branch. He’s growing up quickly, though it’s still anyone’s guess as to how big he’ll get. One thing is certain, he totally adores sticks. After a storm recently, he suddenly came trotting up behind me proudly while carrying a huge tree branch in his mouth that was almost too large for him. He wasn’t remotely bothered by the extra effort, he was just super pleased that he found what was apparently the best stick of the day. I had to give him credit. If something is rather difficult to deal with, I’ll sometimes choose the simpler option instead. Or, I’ll turn to my olympic-level procrastination skills and just put that daunting task off for another day. For instance, that pile of laundry can’t possibly grow that much more in just 24 hours, can it? Yet, unless you’re the type who adores doing laundry, it’s probably not the best example. Instead, it might be that creative project that always seems like it’s too big to tackle, which most likely means it’s the coolest one.

When I get an idea for a new creative project, I can go a bit wild with all of the thoughts that come to mind. There’s so much that I could do to make it that much more amazing, but doing so requires both time and energy that I don’t always feel that I have. Instead, I end up daydreaming about it for weeks, letting my mind wander through every little possible scenario. Nothing actually gets done, of course, but the outcome seems far more tangible in my mind. While I do manage to write and illustrate new books, there are still books on the horizon that I’ve only dreamed up. They’re close enough to reach out and grab in my mind, but I never quite do so. Watching little Elliott grab that giant branch without hesitation, with all of that pride on his little furry face at having accomplished something so grand, made me want to do more. I wanted to push aside my own doubts and go ahead and go for those things that I’ve been avoiding because, well, they just seem a bit too far outside my ability. Just maybe, they’re not.

Even with all my ambition, I don’t have all of the time in the world. And if I had to choose between a creative project and spending extra quality time with Philippe and Elliott, I’ll always choose the latter. As much as I’d love to DO all of the creative things I dream up in this lifetime, those projects aren’t the real prize. The best thing about my day is the time I spend enjoying snacks with my husband and chasing after an overly eager puppy. Though, indeed, the latter in this case is often overwhelming and exhausting. But, the reward is priceless. To me, life is all about striking a balance between going after that thing I’d love to do next, and making time for those I love the most. When I do take that chance and chase after that big creative idea, I just want it to be one that’s worth the effort. In the end, it’s really just a matter of finding the best stick.

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Black And Tan Dog Mutt Holding Stick Elliott Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail
Recommended5 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
33 Comments
  1. Sally Fox 3 weeks ago

    He is adorable! Great rendering of the little guy.

  2. Mary Roff 3 weeks ago

    This is adorable and Elliott gets cuter with every post. I had a similar idea for the prompt but since my animal models are three felines I was fairly certain that if I suggested that any of them go fetch a stick (with bark) I would get a trio of eye rolls 😊. Enjoy your week!!!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕 Yeah… I don’t felines are much for fetching sticks… or at least bringing them back to you if they do! lol Have a fabulous week!

  3. Laura Hale 3 weeks ago

    What a great capture of a proud puppy! You can just see the look in his eyes, “How about this Dad?”.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Laura! 😃💕 I didn’t have a pic of that exact moment so I had to recreate it from several references. Glad you enjoyed this!

  4. mlaiuppa 3 weeks ago

    Elliot has certainly grown in four weeks. He looks like he’s doubled in size. The ears seem to be in constant flux. Will they stand up? Will they lay down? Will they flop over? You may not know for months. One thing is for sure Elliot seems to be a “stick man.” My Diana is a “ball girl.” Freyja seems to go for plushies.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      He’s growing up so fast! 😃💕 And those ears! They are a complete mystery. No idea what will happen until his body is done figuring itself out. He also loves balls and plushies as well, but sticks are a definite fave!

  5. scrittoralinda 3 weeks ago

    You’re having a blast, Charlie! You go man!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Hehe! Thanks so much! 😃💕 Elliott certainly keeps like a lot more interesting and fun!

  6. Sandra Strait 3 weeks ago

    I was just reading about a dog that has been taught to press buttons that speak words like Outside, Eat, Yes, No, Mad, Happy and his owner’s names. He was shown glaring at his Mom, and hitting Mad, Eat when she’d forgot his usual snack. He can make up to five word sentences. After reading today’s ramble, I wonder if they’ve thought about words for my branch is biggest!

    • Mugdha 3 weeks ago

      Hello Ms. Sandra,

      I hope you’re doing great & enjoying a gorgeous Spring. 🙂 The dog who can put together 5 word sentences sounds very interesting. Is this a book you read? Could you please share the name of the book? Thanks a ton!

      Love,
      Mugdha

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Oh yeah! I saw that! It’s so cool! 😃💕 I think Elliott could actually be taught to do that. Not sure either Philippe and I have the time, but he’s definitely smart enough to do it!

  7. Mari 3 weeks ago

    Puppies are SO much fun, and SO much work!! We have just passed the one year mark with our newest family member and what a difference all that work has made. We have a fun, energetic, connected to us companion that is always ready for fun, is well mannered, confident and loves people! We hope to achieve Therapy Dog Certification in the next year. Hang in there and keep choosing that precious family time, it’s truly what fills one’s heart! PS—Elliot is adorable!!! 🐾🤗💗

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Mari! 😃💕 That’s wonderful you’ve passed one year with a awesome furry companion. Awesome on the therapy dog certification! Elliott is growing up fast and already pretty well-mannered. But, it takes a lot of work to keep his smart little mind occupied. hehe

  8. Gary Middleton 3 weeks ago

    Great doodle Charlie.

  9. Marisela Delgado 3 weeks ago

    He looks so cute in the painting, Charlie! I have been watching YouTube videos from the Friends of Big Bear channel. They manage and control a camera installed next to a Bald Eagles nest. Talk about up close. Of course, they are gorgeous! I love bald eagles and do they have personalities!! The females are larger than males and, FUN FACT, whenever the image of a bald eagle is used for the national emblem, they choose the female to use. Her features are more rugged, hard, and “don’t mess with me.” She shows strength so they show her image. Thank goodness that Benjamin Franklin didn’t get his way when he suggested the turkey as our national emblem. ANYWAY, they are gorgeous and, like I said, have very peculiar personalities. They seem almost human when they bicker and squawk at each other. The one couple on this camera and specific nest are Shadow and Jackie. They have a baby named Spirit. Those babies grow scary fast! Well, Shadow (dad) is obsessed with sticks! He can’t get enough of them when preparing the nest for egg/baby time. Jackie gets mad and frustrated because he’s obsessed with arranging said sticks and ends up hitting him or stepping on her. She gets mad, grabs the stick, and changes where it goes. Here comes dad again to take it away from her and puts it back! They squawk at each other and pull on the stick. It’s hilarious! Anyway, that’s what “finding the best stick” reminded me of. They are so gorgeous! Cute painting, my friend. Hugs!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Hola, mi amiga! Muchas gracias! 😃💕 Aww I love hearing about the eagles… what a fun thing to watch. I love baby animals of all kinds… so fun to watch them grow up. Cool fact on the female eagle for the national emblem… I didn’t know that. I did know about Ben Franklin and some days a turkey might fit this place better than others. 😉 hehe But, we’ve been having fun with Elliott. It’s been raining much of the week so he’s had to be indoors much more than he likes, but he’s pushing through the disappointment well. Have a fabulous week! Hugs!

  10. Lulu Segel 3 weeks ago

    Oh my gosh, this is so adorable! I love this! I can feel the playful sass! Puppies, awe I love that energy.
    Btw, I had a dog named Elliot, he’s long left me, but I now have an Ellie. .

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Lulu! 😃💕 That’s wonderful you had a dog named that… and now an Ellie. Yeah, we went with Elliott with two “t’s” because Philippe liked the visual symmetry better. hehe

  11. Susan 3 weeks ago

    Dear Charlie
    Sounds like you have your priorities in the right place

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      awww thanks so much, Susan! 😃💕 Yeah… I may not get quite as much done as I’d like, but I have a lot more fun living! 😉

  12. Mugdha 3 weeks ago

    Hello Charlie,

    The Doodlewash is adorable and so is Elliott. And Wow!!! Olympic-level procrastination! If ever they hold an Olympics for it, I am definitely (and easily) winning gold. I wish there was a career where you got paid to daydream. But doing things with the people you love most is just as fun and it’s brilliant that you get to spend time with Phillipe & Elliott. How does Elliott feel about bunnies & squirrels?

    Love,
    Mugdha

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Mugdha! 😃💕 Oh my… I’ve always wished for a daydreaming career… hehe… I would definitely excel at that. As for bunnies and squirrels, Elliott didn’t seem to worry about them much at first, but now he wants to chase them. As he starts to chase them though, he’s easily distracted, so the chase doesn’t last very long. lol Much love to you, my friend!

  13. Brenda Sommerville 3 weeks ago

    Wonderful Charlie

  14. Gaina 3 weeks ago

    Congratulations on your new family member! ❤

    With regard to putting things off, I like ironing so i wait until I’m about to run out of t-shirts then have a mega ironing session one day whilst.listening to my favourite podcasts. 😊

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Gaina! 😃💕 Sounds like you’ve found a fun way to iron! Oh wow… I need to invite you over then! lol I’m not good at ironing so everything I wear looks a bit older than it should.

      • Gaina 3 weeks ago

        😂 It’s a ‘flat bed’ iron so I can do t-shirts and trousers really quickly. Dad handles the bedding with a conventional iron. 😊

  15. louiseaprimeau 3 weeks ago

    Hi Charlie! Elliott is adorable. He has that come and chase me look! I am so happy for you and Philippe! We have, as you know, a puppy of our own since August. A house without a dog is a quiet house. Much too quiet!! Cheers from 🇨🇦

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Louise! 😃💕 We’re so happy to have Elliott. He’s a handful, but you’re right… we just couldn’t go very long without having a dog. It just doesn’t feel like home otherwise.

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