Finding The Flow

Sea Turtle Underwater Starfish Fish Watercolor Illustration Painting

For the sixth day of World Watercolor Month, in response to our optional prompt of “Flow,” I thought of swimming under the sea. Well, first I simply thought about watercolor itself, of course, and the lovely flowing colors. Next, I ended up with a little doodlewash of an underwater scene featuring a sea turtle and sea star finding a flow of various fish. I don’t often add backgrounds to my watercolor illustrations, so it’s always a rather immediate experiment rather than a well-practiced technique when I do. I totally adore doing this as it feels like being a kid again and fearlessly trying something new! Indeed, no matter how much I’ve sketched and painted each and every day, each new day can still present a novel challenge. I’ve always adored sea turtles, but I have to admit the addition of a sea star is because I’ve been playing Animal Crossing on Switch lately and my impossibly cute little character has been spending a fair bit of time scooping up sea stars. For anyone curious, yes he also wears blue glasses. And yes, I’m just a big kid at heart!

Tonight was a lovely low key evening. The kind where the minutes just sort of dissolve into the next rather than announcing themselves with some troublesome deadline. I love nights like these. Though I have a tendency to DO more than is probably possible for just one person and then wonder why I’m tired, I love these evenings that just ignore all of that. Evenings like this one where each little second just blends into the next and I don’t worry about whether or not I’ve posted anything yet. Indeed, I’m getting dangerously close to that weird time on social media I call the “algorithmic dead space” where far fewer people might even see what I’ve made today and therefore fewer people will see it after that. But, what makes me happy to know is that those of you actual humans who follow me anyway, will still most likely show up. And, that’s the only reason I show up and post in the first place! I’ve never been about pleasing robots because the entire concept is just a bit creepy, right? It’s like something out of the Twilight Zone, only without the fun music and interesting twist in the end.

My world is rather silly and not particularly planned or orchestrated. I just show up and DO stuff! I show up and sketch stuff! It’s what I’ve done since the day I started and though I know I’m supposed to be doing things in a very orchestrated way by this point, I just can’t. So much has changed on social media and there’s so many new ways one is expected to do things. Ways that exhaust me. I can’t keep up. I feel like an old man sometimes, but I kind of love it. There’s something wonderful about being older. I’m old enough to have watched all of this tech happen in real time and I can attest that it’s super cool! But, I can also say that when it started it all had higher hopes. And my own is that we can still cut through the noise and see and appreciate all of the wonderful things our friends create. That we can discover that magical world just below the surface where the rest of the noise resides. The everyday people just wanting to share something fun we made that day! Those people who instead of worrying about precisely how to do things, just showed up and did them anyway, by simply finding the flow.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Vermillion, Terra Cotta, Cobalt Turquoise, Ultramarine (Green Shade), and Indigo. 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!
Sea Turtle Underwater Starfish Fish Watercolor Illustration Painting Sketchbook Detail

Recommended6 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Sharon Nolfi 2 years ago

    Love this painting, as sea animals are my favorites!

  2. Sharon Nolfi 2 years ago

    OK, I looked it up but can’t find the meaning of “algorithmic dead zone.” Please explain.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Oh sorry! That was just a Charlie quote… it’s what I call the bad timing posts that don’t do as well as others because the robot algorithms favor only certain times in the day! 😉

  3. Karen Fortier 2 years ago

    Gorgeous Charlie! I always thought that it would be fun to swim with the turtles and to see the coral before it disappeared but my inner ears said no way. I had bought my husband scuba diving lessons one year for his birthday and we tried. I had to quit after going to the bottom of the pool with a tank on. I always had ear issues as a child. At least I tried.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Karen! 😃💕 Oh wow though, it’s cool you tried scuba diving. I think it would freak me out… hehe… I’m happy snorkeling on the surface!

  4. Marisela Delgado 2 years ago

    Hola, Charlie! Thanks for sending us some of your rain eventhough, we did still hit 100*F. Texas summers! Your seascape is fabulous! 😊😊 I am a rubber stamper and make cards. That is my addiction. haha Talk about feeling old….not too many people know what rubber stamps are! Anyway, I don’t use markers ( we fight, we don’t get along, we call each other names, it gets ugly) so I mostly use my good ‘ole color pencils. BUT I do also use watercolors sometimes! I love it! Granted, I am nowhere near your level or Sandy Allnock (do you know who Sandy Allnock is?) , but I try. I love to watercolor my cards and stamp images. I want to get better and one day be awesome like you and Sandy! Thanks for inspiring me! 😇

  5. Lisa Ann Ulibarri 2 years ago

    Aweeeeeeeeeeee I love this so beautiful Charlie!!!! I hear you about social network. I used to spend wayyyyyyyy to much time on it and now I cannot imagine why I did that lol. 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕 Yeah, social just keeps changing and I there’s always something new we’re supposed to do know. I can’t even keep up with the old stuff! lol

  6. Sandra Strait 2 years ago

    Social media has changed and it gets harder and harder to reach a target audience, whether because they’re friends or customers. And FB harasses you if you aren’t using their for-pay services. It’s much less fun than it was, but then, that’s the nature of things, not just the internet. It’s the reason we should really be grateful for the good things we have and why we should keep looking for those good things. You never know when you might not have what you have now, but there will always be something else as good.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      So true!! 😃💕 That’s why I love our little rouge social network here on Doodlewash… hehe… it feels vintage… like the fun way things where when it all started!

  7. Lisa 2 years ago

    Flow! Years ago I was writing a story and I lost myself in it. It was an incredible thing. I had never experienced flow before, at least not to that degree. After that, I read some things about flow and I realized I probably experienced it every day when I got lost it a book. So far I haven’t felt it with watercolor. I think to much. When I do feel it, I believe it will be a big breakthrough. Duende is another one of those things like flow. I felt it often when I was writing poetry. I occasionally talk about weeding the garden as a meditation and it think that too is related. All three are really the best drugs a person can take I think.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      So true!! Love flow! 😃💕 And I’ve experienced it with both watercolor and writing, but not much else in life. It’s rare and wonderful!

  8. Hninn Hninn 2 years ago

    Excellent… Charlie
    Rays through the water from above …very beautiful

  9. Nellie Nellie 2 years ago

    I love a smiling Hanu! Thanks!

  10. Gary Middleton 2 years ago

    Lovely doodle, Charlie. I can’t see a turtle now without thinking of Crush in Finding Nemo. My social media has gone down a lot in the last couple of years.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks, Gary! 😃💕 Yeah… me too! I think Crush is now every sea turtle I see!

  11. heila 2 years ago

    Beautiful, inspiring, charming!

  12. Mary Roff 2 years ago

    Love this, Charlie!!

  13. LoriCtoo 2 years ago

    Dude! Haha, I couldn’t resist. Such a great sketch! Yes social media has unfortunaltely taken a turn for the worse and I have distanced myself. I have always used Instagram for art inspiration, as soon as people started getting on their soap boxes, I started unfollowing them. My account, my choice. I’ve done that with a lot of blogs that I get emails from. Social media is entertainment for me, if it’s not then I don’t stay. So Charlie, as long as you make me smile with your sketches and ramblings, I’ll be here for you!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Lori! 😃💕 hehe… you can always count on me for that. My only soapbox is trying to get people to create more! Oh, and not sure if you’re getting my replies, but check my response to your comment on my Playful Curiosity post, ’cause ya won a prize! 😉

      • LoriCtoo 2 years ago

        Thank you for letting me know! It’s been hit and miss on receiving emails saying you replied. I just figure you are one busy guy and can’t keep up with us. Teehee! Thanks again, I left the info for you.

  14. Tom 2 years ago

    Love the turtle, Charlie. It’s good you’re still in the flow… I seem to have reached the end of my little watercolour stint for now… hopefully I’ll be able to get a couple more in by the end of the month.

  15. Susan Cuss 2 years ago

    Love your underwater scene, Charlie! So peaceful to look at. Yes, I’m not on social media as much these days. I don’t have a cell phone, just a desktop PC, so I have to be deliberate about plugging in…….. 😉

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Susan! 😃💕 Yeah, I’m not on my phone much at all anymore. Maybe it’s just the eyes… give me that big screen! hehe

  16. Sandra Pavloff Conner 2 years ago

    This is sooooo good, Charlie. And all the detail is terrific.

  17. elzibeth2 2 years ago

    Charlie, I enjoy your comments as much as your doodles! You are living palette of ☀️sunshine☀️in these difficult times.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Aww thanks so much, Elzibeth! 😃💕 What a wonderful thing to say!

  18. Mugdha 2 years ago

    Hello Charlie,

    A wonderful sketch yet again and your post is just as deep as the sea in which the turtle is swimming. Just wanted to say thank you for showing up everyday with a new doodle and post. Your posts make so many people’s day better. So yes, your art and posts will make us all show up every day too… just to let you know how fabulous Doodlewash & its creator is – regardless of how social media behave.


    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Mugdha! 😃💕 You’re too sweet… I’m so happy you enjoy my posts!

  19. Robert Coleman 2 years ago

    Hey Charlie, another beautiful turtle – you do them so well. And the background really makes the whole scene sparkle, like the light glancing down from the surface. Q scene of quiet and peace, letting the world flow by! Love it!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Bob! 😃💕 I’m so so thrilled you enjoyed this one … it was all a bit of an experiment!

  20. Priscilla DeConti 2 years ago

    This is absolutely fabulous!!! thanks for the peace and quiet from under the sea!😀

  21. shawnthompsonart 2 years ago

    Nice sea turtle, I really like the colours you used.

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