Head Above Water

Jack Russell Terrier Swimming Dog Paddle Watercolor Painting Illustration

For our prompt of “Paddle” today, I first thought of dog paddle, which is the very first technique even we humans had to master when learning to swim. I was never very good at swimming as a kid, but appreciated this particular move as it kept my head above the water. At the time, going underwater was a bit scary and so I would just paddle about on top while at the pool. Thankfully, I managed to one day hit those fears head on and eventually learned to swim a bit better. I think my art journey has followed in a similar fashion. I’m only now diving in to see if I can make things that are swimming around in my mind. And, I think dogs are cute when they swim, especially when they’re heading right toward you in a pool. The focus and determination on their faces is really quite inspiring!

It’s actually been quite a long time since I’ve found myself in a place where I could swim, and longer still since I’ve actually done it. I’ve mentioned before that public pools are not something I enjoy, even when we’re not in the middle of a pandemic. Paddling around in a smelly human soup just isn’t my idea of a good time. But, I’ve been thinking lately about how much I miss snorkeling in the ocean and would love to try that again. I guess not much has changed since I was a kid. I still prefer to stay close to the surface while swimming. But the view is amazing and so I’ve never forgotten that memorable experience. I ran across photos that I took that other day with an underwater camera and it was fun to reimagine being back there once again. Indeed, the fact that I’ve not snorkeled since then is still a bit of a broken promise to myself that I’ll have to rectify one day.

My own dog Phineas doesn’t really like the water at all. I couldn’t imagine seeing him jump into a pool, lake or ocean to enjoy a bit of swimming. He can’t even stand it when it’s raining and a sudden light sprinkle of rain on a walk will send him rushing back home again. Though I don’t like being caught out in a downpour, walking in a light rain is actually a lovely thing indeed. I tend to always be busy with a constant list of things I have to do next, but lately, I’m taking a bit more time to just relax and worry about nothing much at all. While there’s definitely something to be said for completing all projects, there’s equally a lot to be said for prioritization. So, as long as I don’t get too terribly far behind, those precious extra minutes I snuck in to paint is always just a happy interruption. I guess in the end, I’m not really much of an overachiever. Instead, I’m perfectly happy as long as I can keep my head above water.

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Jack Russell Terrier Swimming Dog Paddle Watercolor Painting Illustration Sketchbook Detail


Recommended3 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Mary Roff 2 years ago

    Love the expression on this pups face. Nice post, Charlie!

  2. Marisela Delgado 2 years ago

    What a cute doggie! 🐕🐕 I will be honest, I am not sure that I know how to doggie paddle. I never learned to swim, but I was literally just thinking about searching for adult swim classes. Literally just now. It’s a sign!! haha haha
    Such a great painting. I love his feet. While I do NOT like human feet, I love to smell doggie feet. They smell like dirt. Of course, Monster’s feet smelled like pee-pee. He peed crooked, I guess. You know, maybe I shouldn’t have shared that little tid-bit about myself. Nobody judge! haha haha haha I have a friend, who loves puppy 🐕 breath. It takes all kinds. haha haha haha

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Marisela! 😃💕 Haha! It takes all kinds indeed! And Monster sounds like he was perfectly unique and wonderful!

  3. Celestra Gordon 2 years ago

    I Love this!!

  4. Marisela Delgado 2 years ago

    By the way, your faucet painting looks real. It looks like a photograph! My mother agreed. Awesome job, Charlie. 😊

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Aww thanks so much to you both! Glad you liked that one! 😃💕

  5. Karen Fortier 2 years ago

    Such a happy puppy Charlie! Side stroke was how I liked to swim. I grew up with several ponds near by and loved to swim. Not so much now. Enjoy the weekend!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Karen! 😃💕 Side stroke sounds like a wonderful way to swim. Hope you’ve having a fabulous weekend!

  6. Lisa 2 years ago

    He’s adorable! I come from a family of coon hunters. One thing we attended when I was young was hunting dog trials. They had this long moat filled with water and a cable stretched over it from one end to the other. The racoon was in a cage attached to the cable. The dogs were released at one end and they swam/chased the coon as it was pulled across the cable. First dog to the end howling, with two feet up on the pole where the coon was suspended was the winner.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕 Oh wow!! I bet that was a wild chase to watch indeed!

  7. Sandra Strait 2 years ago

    Basenjis are noted for their dislike of being wet. If I were ever to get another one it wouldn’t be in Oregon again. Way too much rain for their happiness to be complete, lol.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Hehe! Yeah, I don’t think Phineas would appreciate it there… in truth, he wants to move to San Diego! 😉

  8. Fascinante, Charlie, me gusto

  9. Laura Kate 2 years ago

    Delightful painting!

  10. Zertab Quaderi 2 years ago

    The details in the dog’s eyes are amazing, Charlie! What a look!

  11. Robert Coleman 2 years ago

    Super portrait of Phineas, with that subtle smile! I love the perspective too. You might want to avoid snorkeling in nearby New England shore waters – lots of sharks, big big sharks!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Bob! 😃💕 This isn’t actually Phineas… hehe… I chose a Jack Russell instead because they’re easier to sketch. (shhh! Don’t him though! lol). And snorkeling with sharks? Yikes! Yeah, I might skip that area then! lol

  12. Mugdha 2 years ago

    Hello Charlie,

    Wow!!! The expression on the puppy’s face and in his eyes is so real! Made me feel like Im in the pool with him. I love your “smelly human soup” description of a public pool (and I agree). Ha ha haaaa…. My parents got me to learn swimming when I was ten but I didnt enjoy it at all. Despite being a Cancerian, I somehow don’t like to immerse myself in waterbodies. Like you, I love walking in the rain and getting drenched. And if that can be followed by a mug of hot chocolate or coffee and cookies, that is my idea of a day well spent. 🙂


    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Mugdha! 😃💕 Glad I’m not alone there… yeah… pools are not my thing at all, unless it’s just me and few people I know. But I’d rather brave the rain and have that hot chocolate! 😉

  13. Jerson Antao 2 years ago

    Nice work Charlie!…You have got the right rendering…keep going Charlie!😊

  14. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 2 years ago

    Our dog was so terrified of water that she’d walk around a splash of water on the sidewalk and had to lift one paw when being bathed. But most dogs seem to enjoy swimming as much as your little paddler here, happily surfing the waves.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Yeah, I’m never had a dog would like to swim, but I’m always fascinated seeing other people’s dogs splashing about! 🙂

  15. LoriCtoo 2 years ago

    Ah come on! He is adorable! I’m not much of a water person either. Just my feet and I am happy. We survived the wedding. Now to wait for two weeks to see if we come down with something. There were about 200 people there and about 90% were not wearing masks. So annoying. We kept ours on and didn’t stay for the reception. It would have been a lovely wedding if it hadn’t been for the heat. It was at a beautiful home on 80 acres surrounded by trees. The backdrop of the wedding was Mt. Hood. Unfortnately we have a fire going in the Gorge and it made for a hazy view.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Lori! 😃💕 It sounds like it was still quite lovely… what fabulous scene. But yeah… lots of people who didn’t get the memo is always frustrating. Here’s to happy, restful and healthy days ahead!

  16. Gary Middleton 2 years ago

    Brilliant doodle, Charlie. I love the low down angle you’ve done.

  17. Priscilla DeConti 2 years ago

    What a delightful painting.the expression on the pups face is again priceless…I think a lot of folks are keeping their heads above water in these trying times..Thank goodness for the daily getaway of drawing painting, creating!!! Have a great day!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Priscilla! 😃💕 Yes to that! I can’t imagine going through this without art!!

  18. Susan Masters 2 years ago

    Love his expression I want this guy!

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