Flying Through The Clouds

Vintage Airplane Watercolor Illustration

For our prompt of “Airplane” today, I decided to make a quick little sketch of a more vintage variety of plane and not the modern version. I’ve no knowledge of planes or types, but simply like the look of this version because I had a toy that looked a bit like this one when I was a kid. The modern versions just makes me think about work as I traveled quite a lot during my career. Thankfully, I don’t have to hop on a plane all of the time these days. And riding in a plane like this would probably make me faint. I’m not a fan of heights and in a giant plane I can pretend I’m much closer to the ground than I really am, as long as I avoid looking out of the window for too long. That said, you’ll find my head in the clouds most of the time. I have quite a problem with daydreaming in that I do it all of the time. No matter what’s currently happening, part of my mind is always soaring off to places unknown. This incredible lack of focus could be deemed quite a hinderance when it comes to making art, but I’ve simply adopted a quick and fun way to make things so I can complete them before the sands in the hourglass of my attention span run out. My hourglass runs at about 45 minutes these days, before my mind drifts on to other things and I find it tough to continue. While a sensible person would set their art aside and work on it later, my inner child simply can’t bear that idea. If I, for example, went back to work more on this plane, it would likely become a car, because, yeah, I’m already over planes now and want to try something else.

While I know my attention span is shockingly short, particularly when it comes to watercolor, I can’t help but think there are others out there like me. When I first started painting I was able to set aside hours and the newness of it all make it possible for me to spend hours in those early days. It was all quite new, so it remained exciting. These days, I’ve been sketching and painting for over four years each day, so it’s no longer a new activity. What keeps me excited is the chance to create something new each and every day. This simply isn’t possible if you’re painting in a very detailed way with traditional techniques. So, instead, I make a little ink sketch that’s a bit like a coloring book illustration and then I color it in with watercolor. That’s the extent of my entire process, and depending on the day or the subject matter, some of my colorings turn out more interesting than others. But, I adore each little doodlewash that I’ve ever created! It’s an illustration of not simply the words that end up here, but indeed, my mood and mindset for that day. And interestingly enough, if I go back and look at a sketch from a couple of years ago, I actually remember making it. One would think that 30-45 minutes of their life would be something simply forgotten. But when art is involved the rules quite often change.

This is my live art journal. One that I share with anyone around the world who wants to take a little time to see and read what I’ve created each day. While others teach techniques, I’m just demonstrating possibilities. I’m showing what’s possible with just a fraction of attention span, a modest amount of supplies, and a touch of determination. You simply can’t say it’s impossible to show up and make something each and every day, because I’ve already proven you wrong. That, is the simple thing I hope to share with the world. So, if you ever find yourself frustrated with what you’re trying desperately to learn how to DO in your creative journey, just come play with me. Together, we’ll take various approaches and mash them up into a blender of fun! We’ll each likely choose a slightly different approach that we enjoyed most, and that’s just fabulous! It’s why I didn’t make a normal instructional book, but one filled with various activities. I don’t want people to paint “like” me, I simply want them to paint “with” me. Adopting the same childlike mindset and wonder and then jumping in with glee to simply DO what comes naturally. It’s equally why I hold monthly challenges. I read once it takes around 66 days for a behavior to become automatic but can take up to 264 days before it becomes a true habit. I can honestly say now after well more time than that, I’ve definitely formed a habit, and one I absolutely adore. Each day that I sit down for my little artistic moment to make something isn’t a chore or something I feel I must do, it’s simply a wonderful and whimsical journey spent flying through the clouds.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, Quinacridone Red, Cobalt Turquoise,  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!
Vintage Airplane Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail
Recommended6 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
14 Comments
  1. Sandra Strait 3 months ago

    I need to do some paintings of vehicles. It’s one thing that I’m not comfortable with and so, of course, is something I really should do. I love your style of painting, and have used it to speed up some of my paintings. I like playing around with many different styles of paintings but I always come back to a line and wash. Thank you for showing me a way to make it even more fun!

    • LoriCtoo 3 months ago

      Sandra, Gresham is having it’s car show event in DT. It would be great inspiration for your vehicle practice. 🙂 I really should learn too, as my family are car enthusiasts.

      • Sandra Strait 3 months ago

        Hubby’s into old cars and he’s already off to the show. It’s drizzling and overcast, and I am not an enthusiast so I decided to stay home and paint other things, lol.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Aww thanks, Sandra! 😃💕Yeah, I’m just hooked on line and wash.. hehe… and yes, you DO need try vehicles! They’re fun to try!

  2. Karen Fortier 3 months ago

    Great plane Charlie but I think I’ll pass on a ride. I do think it would be great to see my part of the country by air but not sure if I really could do it. Maybe in a seaplane?🤔😏

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks, Karen! 😃💕Yeah, you and me both! lol I totally couldn’t do it.. it would scare me senseless!

  3. Lisa 3 months ago

    Joe and I took a ride out into the country side west of Chicago a number of years ago. We were looking for a place where people went skydiving. We found a place where they were taking people up flying in sailplanes. We blew off the jumping in favor of flying. It was so much fun!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Oh wow! That sounds like a love thing indeed! 😃💕 Yeah, jumping is not something I’ll ever likely do… hehe… even scarier than being in a plane without walls! lol

  4. Sharon Nolfi 3 months ago

    Yes to daydreaming and vintage planes! Lovely sketch.

  5. LoriCtoo 3 months ago

    Tee Hee….I also sketched a bi-plane. Of course yours is more detailed and I like it better. Reminds me of the little airshow we happened upon in Central Oregon many years ago. It was a fun surprise. Since I don’t see your sketches until the next day, I always like to see if we sketch in tandem. It’s a game I play. I’ve also skipped around this month, hoping to get back on track. Still sketching/painting however, just not all your prompts.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Lori! 😃💕 You know me… I can’t help but doodle in a lot of detail! lol And that’s a fun game to play! My prompts are totally optional… except for me most of the time because I literally wouldn’t know what to paint while I’m rushing in to do it quickly! 😊hehe

  6. Robert J. Coleman 3 months ago

    That is a well-executed PT-17 pre-WW2 trainer and a popular model flown by our local radio control aircraft club. Both the model and the real thing are very easy to fly, with the large wings to provide plenty of lift. I’ve never flown in one but sure would like to try, with the wind whistling thru the rigging wire and also my face! And painting side by side, with not necessarily the same subject, provides encouragement rather than learning techniques. Say, that would make for a great video to add to your podcast page, a visual podcast? Eh?

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Bob! 😃💕 And for the identification as I had no idea what kind this was! Cool! And yeah, I would like to do a video series like that one day. I enjoyed doing my one and only video for Sketchbook Revival which was pretty much that! One day, I hope, but video takes a ton of time so it might be my retirement project! 😉

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