For The First Time Again

Day 11 - Dog And Cat Illustration Watercolor - Doodlewash

While thinking about our prompt of pets, my mind immediately leapt to a puppy and kitten. I adore watching any baby animal explore the world for the first time and discover new things. It reminds me of my own grown up life and that no matter how much I think I’ve learned, there’s always something new to discover. And better than that, there’s those things I often take for granted worthy of reviewing again with fresh eyes. It’s tough to have fresh eyes as an adult. So much of what we see is already emblazoned into our brains with a preconceived notion. We already “know” what this or that is and it’s tough to stop and look at something without all of those rules rushing to mind. Beyond the visual cues that protect us, like “don’t touch fire, it’s hot and it will seriously burn you,” there are tons of other bits of knowledge that can block our ability to see the world through the eyes of a child. A world of wonder and possibility that just takes a lot of trying and DOing to make it even more wonderful! As many of you know, I really don’t like to hear about “Don’ts” only “DO’s” and that’s the very core of the manifesto I used to create Doodlewash. Unless you plan to save someone’s life in the process, telling a person not to do something is simply a matter of opinion. I love and support all sort of opinions, especially when it comes to art, but I never let them stop me from continuing to see the world with my own fresh eyes. And forge my own path in the process.

Much of my life, I’ve spent saying yes to new things. I’ve tried a million different things from professional acting, to singing, to producing movies. In every case, I had no proof whatsoever that I would actually be able to DO these things, I just thought they’d be fun to try. And, though I wasn’t the most notably amazing at any of the things I’ve tried, I worked hard enough to be sure I wasn’t the worst, so I was pleased with the outcome. Yes, focus has and continues to be an issue with me. Were I to focus all of my energy into a single thing, I’d probably be much more successful. But, I’m not built that way, so I have to do things my own way instead. I created little hacks in my approach to life to compensate. Watercolor included, of course, as I break lots of “rules” in my approach to it. But I realized something recently when I quizzed my friends who had tried watercolor with me and loved it at the very beginning. These were the folks who attended those Doodlewash Dinners I instigated when I first started blogging, and the same people who rushed out afterward to buy more art supplies. Not one of them is still painting with watercolor today. Why? Everything we try is fun in the beginning until we actually learn how it’s supposed to be done. So, how did one guy out of that group keep moving forward and paint each and every day since that time? Was he simply crazy? Perhaps, but I think the real answer lies in that one guy’s approach to it all.

“Painting is easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do.”
~ Edgar Degas

He learned all he could, and still does every day, but whenever he felt frustrated he just went back to the beginning. Yeah, that guy is me by the way. Throughout my art journey, I’ve experienced moments where I just wanted to quit. I’ve felt like I wasn’t getting any better, that I was stuck in rut, and that what I made simply wasn’t unique or relevant at all. Yeah, none of that is true, is it? If you’ve read this far, then you must feel like what I show up with is indeed relevant and unique. See how that adult mind works? It can block us from moving forward. And thinking back to those Doodlewash Dinners and my original intent when I started this site has been rejuvenating. It’s given me my place is all of this. I’m the guy you come to when you have those moments of doubt. The big silly kid who doesn’t play by the rules and sits just outside of all the various memes and trends. While not remotely cool enough to be considered a rebel, I’m just the voice of reason. If you don’t like something, stop doing it and try something else instead. But, if you don’t like the “rules” of something, try changing them first before you give up. That’s what I did. And it’s why I’m still here showing up each day. Sure, I follow those “rules” sometimes when it brings me joy and to practice and one day I’ll go back to all of them and have another go. But, today, I just spend each one enjoying the world for the first time again.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Yellow Ochre, Opus (Vivid Pink), Leaf Green, Cobalt Turquoise, Terra Cotta 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!
Dog And Cat Illustration Watercolor - Doodlewash
Recommended4 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
17 Comments
  1. Sandra Strait 5 months ago

    I’ve been attending something similar to a Doodlewash dinner. Recently, my teacher and mentor, Kathy D Allegri, moved to another state. All of her students felt they would stop painting if they didn’t have a set time for it, so we looked into renting the studio space once a month, and all getting together to paint. One of us volunteers to come up with a theme and to share something of interest – anything from a watercolor technique to just showing a painting that excites us. But everyone has the choice of doing whatever they wish. We’ve only been doing it since the first of the year, and I’m hoping it continues to go so well.

  2. June Hadaway 5 months ago

    Your approach to doing is the best approach. It brings the most enjoyment. The “Dagus” srarement is proof to that. The puppy and kitten are both so cute and tells such a sweet story.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Thanks so much, June! 😃💕Glad you liked my puppy and kitten. And yeah, I’m starting to realize that my simply doing and never fretting over things approach is exactly why I’m still doing today. It’s so much fun!

  3. LoriCtoo 5 months ago

    Life’s too short to do things we don’t enjoy! I must admit, there are some days I don’t want to sketch your prompts (Charlie gasps!), so I don’t and I skip to another. Amazingly enough, I will visit it again, do it and be happy I did! I wish we had Doodlewash dinners here! I go to DL each year(sometimes twice) to spend 5 days sketching and painting with a group of gals. That’s a dream vaca!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      haha! There are some that that I don’t want to sketch my prompts! lol 😉 My solution is to bend them to my will and often paint something that’s quite a stretch. lol And yeah, it’s so much fun to spend time sketching together. (and that’s coming from the shy guy! hehe).

  4. LoriCtoo 5 months ago

    I forgot, your little pets are darling. Look like mischief makers! ;p

  5. Lisa 5 months ago

    One thing I miss most about being a teen is the hours and hours spent with my best friend talking about the big questions. The meaning of life. It didn’t even take drugs to get the conversation going. We wanted to explore everything, and try everything and escape what seemed like such a mundane existence. All these years later we did some of that, but we also found there is a lot of comfort in the mundane existence. I am happy that I tried so many things in my life and being the best was not nearly as important as just doing something for fun. When I was big into biking I went on organised rides a bunch of times. I don’t think I ever did a century tour. 50 miles was enough. But it strikes me as funny that I can’t remember for sure. What I remember is the fun, and the t-shirts, and the wind blowing in my sweaty face as I roared down big hills. And around and around we go.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Now that sounds like a fabulous time indeed, Lisa! Yeah, doing what you love without worrying about it is always the most fun! 😃💕 And 50 miles? I don’t think I could make it! hehe 😊

  6. Sharon Nolfi 5 months ago

    That puppy is adorable and looks as though he’s discovering the kitten as well as the flowers. Like you, I’ve worked at lots of things. I went to graduate school and then worked for 7 years as a school psychologist. At 31, I started law school full time, practiced law for 4 years, then quit to be a full-time mom for 15 years. During that time I wrote and sold personal essays (rather like your daily musings) and articles. I then returned to law for 5 years, before retiring and taking art classes. People are of two opinions about me: Either I have poor focus or I’m incredibly lucky to have done all those things. Actually neither is true – I just had lots of interests and was willing to take risks many would not. I’m happy I did the things I did and am willing to live with the consequences (mostly less money) of my actions.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 That sounds very much like my state of mind my friend! hehe… yeah… I’ve never been in life for the money or fame or the things that seem to be deemed the best or coolest. I just want to explore and have fun! Life seems better than way somehow.

  7. memadtwo 5 months ago

    I love that quote from Degas.
    and your painting has me smiling! (K)

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Thanks so much, Kerfe! 😃💕 Glad you liked this. And yeah, it’s a great quote isn’t it? So much truth there!

  8. smzang 5 months ago

    Charlie says, “Unless you plan to save someone’s life in the process, telling a person not to do something is simply a matter of opinion. I love and support all sort of opinions, especially when it comes to art, but I never let them stop me from continuing to see the world with my own fresh eyes. And forge my own path in the process.”

    Don’t ever change!

    I love that kitten discovery the flower and that puppy discovering the kitten.
    It kind of fills the room with light!.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sarah! 😃💕 I don’t think I could change if I tried! hehe And glad you liked my little doodlewash today!

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