How We See The World

Sunglasses Watercolor Illustration

When I saw that our prompt is “Sunglasses” for today, I winced at first as sunglasses are deceptively difficult to render. Yes, I actually wrote this set of prompts, but I never look at them again until I come to see what I’m meant to sketch each day, so I’m often quite surprised. Proportions are tough when it comes to glasses, but any chance to paint glass, reflections, and metal and it’s a good day indeed. When I look at the world around me, I immediately see shapes and color. This is a good habit to have when painting reflections like these as the shapes that make something look metallic or reflective aren’t the shapes one would ever expect. They’re an odd bending of the world that turns things upside down a bit and stretches them sideways. So, I don’t worry about what I’m actually sketching in these moments, and just make the shapes that I see there. After I was finished, I could see the reflection of a blue sky and a landscape of treetops. But, for me anyway, if I thought about those shapes actually being those things when I was sketching them, I would be certain to botch them. My brain would want to make little corrections when my eyes are perfectly capable of jotting down all of the details all on their own. When it comes to color, however, that’s something best chosen with the heart.

This week, Philippe has been sitting next to me watching a show on BBC called Celebrity Painting Challenge on his computer while I’ve been making sketches. And, we just watched the finale moments ago. Yes, our kitchen counter is both for serving food, hosting a pop-up art studio, and serving as an entertainment center. I found myself stopping often to watch a bit and then going back to my own little piece of sketchbook art. It wasn’t a watercolor painting challenge, but I loved seeing all of the art and hearing the reactions from the artist judges. At one point one of the judges told an artist, “you have to just keep looking and seeing, and continue redrawing things to see what’s there.” Or, something rather close to those words as I was doing several things at once. This was in response to a bit of missing architectural perspective and a lack of converging lines, but it’s really true for everything in art. The more we draw something, the more we begin to understand it better. There are little epiphanies that come along the way that we can’t quite describe, but make the next iteration just a touch better in some way.

That’s the magic of art for me. It’s what keeps me coming back to it each and every day. And, equally, it’s why I don’t show up with the same sort of “how to” approach that’s quite likely expected of me on an art blog such as this. But, for me, I’m all about the “why to” approach. I simply want to share why you should always chase after your artistic dreams and try on approaches and styles rather than simply wearing them outright. We have such unique styles and approaches that the world needs to see! Technique is important in relaying information, but in the end, it’s only our hearts that can truly express ideas. So, yeah, I’ve become that crazy cheerleader who shouts, “follow your heart!” I don’t have decorative pompons to cheer you on, though that would be super awesome! Instead, I have this humble blog, where I just share what I made today, in order to prove that you can definitely make something each day as well. Because, in the end, art isn’t about a particular movement or technique, it’s simply a beautifully unique and awesome expression of how we see the world.

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Sunglasses Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail
Recommended6 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
28 Comments
  1. Karen Fortier 4 days ago

    Great sunglasses Charlie! Seeing is everything. When I stop seeing and start thinking everything falls apart. I try to really see things all the time so that it becomes instinctive. Right now I am fortunate that I can dedicate much of my day to creating art. Trying to learn new things and logging brush strokes! Painting and sketching for the pure pleasure of DOing it!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 days ago

      Thanks so much, Karen! 😃💕Yay to spending your day learning and creating! That’s so wonderful! And yes, the pleasure of DOing is what matters most in the end!

  2. Julpha Jean 4 days ago

    Nice sketch 🙂 and wonderful thoughts 🙂

  3. Sandra Strait 4 days ago

    I’ll have to see if I can find the ‘Celebrity Painting Challenge ‘. Hubby always makes me watch his reality shows so I can talk him into watching this one, I’m sure. Now after reading today’s ramble, I have an image of you with pompoms cheering us all on, lol! Thanks for the smile!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 days ago

      Thanks, Sandra! 😃💕 Yeah, it’s a fun show! I’ve not idea how he watched it as being a binational couple we have weird subscriptions. hehe And glad the image with me and pompons made you smile. After considering it, it look perfectly ridiculous in my mind. And then, of course, I loved it more! lol

  4. Lisa 4 days ago

    I have a young girl working for me this summer. She is going to be a freshman in high school. She is leaning toward art as a career. I gave her a copy of your book. I think your brand of enthusiasm and art will be a big hit. She has an art class this semester so we will see if her teacher is cool with not being a slave to the rules of art! 😁

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 days ago

      Aww thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕That makes me SO happy to hear! I hope she enjoys it! Yeah, I was hit with a few negative comments when I produced a book without rules. People tend to expect them and miss them when they’re gone. But, I was thrilled to see that the majority of people were rather excited by the idea! So yay!

  5. Sharon Nolfi 4 days ago

    Wow. Fantastic colors in the lens!

  6. Amelia walters 4 days ago

    Wow sets !!! Fab piece of art and reflections and and and !!!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 days ago

      Thanks so much, Amelia! 😃💕 Reflections are my fave thing to paint! Mostly because they are nearly abstract. Just match the shapes and tones without overthinking things and magic happens ever time!

  7. Mary Roff 3 days ago

    Wonderful sunglasses and yay to following your heart!!!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 days ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕And here’s to always following our hearts!

  8. LoriCtoo 3 days ago

    I wonder when I will eventually attempt sketching glass. I am always in “ahhh” of your glass sketch/paintings. I did not see the sunglassprompt until later. I had already painted them on my dolly in my sun prompt, so I counted that. I thought I was behind, but now I think I’m ahead! Bawaha!!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 days ago

      haha! You’re totally ahead! 😃💕 That is… when you finally attempt sketching glass!! DO it! Seriously… just try it… people think I’m crazy by not providing a laborious step by step, but if you sketch all of the shapes you see, and pump up the contrast, dash in a bit of extra color for the heck of it, you’ll make something awesome! 😉

      • LoriCtoo 2 days ago

        Ha ha! You make it sound so magically easy! I just snapped a pic of your description for “when” I finally do it. 😉

        • Author
          Charlie O'Shields 2 days ago

          Yay! And I’ll patiently await the result! 😉

          • LoriCtoo 2 days ago

            Lol! We’ll see who wins this contest. 😉

  9. Robert J. Coleman 3 days ago

    Yep, I would wear those shades! When I saw the prompt I expected bright blue frames and mirror lenses! The reflections are so expressive, as always, of being outside sitting on a picnic table while the wearer is enjoying lunch, …… And that’s the point, putting your own story into the painting whether you are creating it or it’s someone else’s work. That’s the lesson we always take from your blogs.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 days ago

      Thanks, Bob! 😃💕Actually, I don’t wear sunglasses because I’m too lazy to bother with my contacts. hehe So I’m just sporting the bright blue lenses most of the time. And yes, since I don’t wear sunglasses I had to use a free reference for this one. My reflections turned out unique to me though. That’s always the fun of making art!

  10. Jacob 3 days ago

    They may be shades, but with glass, metal and reflections, it’s a hat trick for you! 😉 They look pretty cool too, though I’m sure I’d manage to make them look bad if I were to try them on – seems to be the way with most of them!

    I watched the first series of The Big Painting Challenge which was with regular contestants, and it wasn’t the most inspiring experience. The judges seemed tactless and rather negative, and it just felt way over the top for an Sunday night amateur competition, with people crying and all sorts. I never bothered with the celebrity version… maybe they’ve learnt to lighten up a bit? I do hope so 😛 and I hope you enjoyed it anyway! I’ve been watching Sky’s Portrait Artist of the Year recently, which is wonderful and manages to feel pleasant and relaxed, even with much higher stakes. I definitely recommend that if you’re able to watch it.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 days ago

      Thanks, Jacob! 😃💕 hehe.. yep, this is definitely my hat trick. The one thing I know I can make look rather cool without botching it a bit. Yeah, I’ve only watched the Celebrity version of the show, but when I went to look it up, there were mixed reviews for the other version. I’ll definitely look for Sky’s Portrait Artist of the Year! Sounds great!

      • Jacob 3 days ago

        Well, I’m glad I wasn’t alone in thinking the original a bit off. Perhaps that explains why the Beeb switched to celebrities – also, I imagine they’d feel more able to fire back should those mean judges cross a line! 😛

        Yeah, Portrait Artist is the highlight of my viewing at the moment. I’ll be gutted when it ends in a couple of weeks! There’s also a landscape version of the show if you’d prefer, since I’m aware of your (unfounded!) aversion to portraiture! 😉

        • Author
          Charlie O'Shields 2 days ago

          We’ll totally have to watch that next! But right now, we’re watching the 3rd season of “Glow” on Netflix. Have you watched that? The ladies of wrestling? hehe…if you like wrestling, it’s a fun ride!

          • Jacob 1 day ago

            Ah, nice! I don’t have Netflix, so can’t watch that, but have heard lots of good things about it.

          • Author
            Charlie O'Shields 18 hours ago

            What???! You should get Netflix for one month just to watch it!! lol 😉

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