Journey To A Distant Land

When I was a little kid, I dreamed of taking a plane trip all by myself to a distant land. It seemed like an exciting and daring thing to do. Though it also seemed a bit scary, I was convinced it would could only lead to a grand and thrilling adventure. In my mind, I listed all of the things I would pack in my suitcase for my trip. My favorite clothes were on the list, but none of my stuffed animals as I wasn’t certain they could breathe properly confined like that. In the end, I decided the only sensible thing to do would be to carry along a single travel companion. There was no doubt this would have to be my best friend at the time, a small bear named Buff. This, of course, meant I would also need to pack the matching clothes and pajamas my mother had made for us. But, planning this grand escape in my little mind, only lead to me thinking about all of the things I would have to leave behind. In the end, I never asked my mother for a plane ticket or ever mentioned this dream to anyone at all. Because somewhere in all of that dreaming, I would always realize I already had everything I truly wanted, right there at home.

I would be practically grown up before I even rode on an airplane, but would later get to travel to distant places. What I remember and love about being a kid was that my imagination was so incredibly vivid that everything felt real, almost tangible. Perhaps that’s also why I didn’t demand that trip. I felt as though I had already taken it. As an adult, I’ve always tried to get that feeling back. To imagine something so vividly that it begins to burst with color and emotion in my mind. It’s not laboring through “what if” scenarios, but simply mentally jumping into an idea and pretending it’s already happening. I’ve used this technique throughout my career to help me come up with and consider new ideas. And it’s precisely why and how Doodlewash came to be. I imagined a place where artists of all different styles and approaches were coming together to share what they made each day. Not worrying over exactly how they draw and paint, but simply celebrating the fact that they DO it. It was beautiful in my mind, and it’s even more beautiful in reality.

When I first started sketching and painting, I imagined that I was already good at it. I knew I had a lot to learn, and would continue to always be learning. So, I skipped that bit at the beginning of worrying whether I was good enough to share anything I made. I just started doing it. This wasn’t born out of anything difficult to acquire like confidence, I’m still working on that, but instead, simply reconnecting with the imagination I had as a child. I was actually scared to go on that plane by myself back then, but that never once stopped me from dreaming about doing it. I didn’t take that flight, because it wasn’t the thing I really wanted after all. But since that time, when I want something, passionately feel it in my soul, there’s never been anything that could stop me from chasing that dream. In many ways, I’m still that little kid, vividly imagining a world of possibilities. Knowing that what I actually do in this moment, is the most important step in my journey to a distant land.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, and Indigo.  Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia 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!
Day 12 - Child With Suitcase Watercolor - Doodlewash

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!

Recommended4 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
24 Comments
  1. Sandra Strait 6 days ago

    Reading your rambles always makes me remember things from my own childhood – it’s almost as good as a family reunion and without having to figure out where everyone will stay! Love your little boy with his suitcase. It kind of reminds of Christopher Robin. That suits because Doodlewash adventures are a sort of Winnie the Pooh kind of place.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 days ago

      Aww thanks so much, Sandra! 😃💕That’s such a fun comparison as we almost went to see the Christopher Robin movie yesterday! hehe… so it might have been on my mind, even though we chose to stay home, in the end, instead. 😉

  2. Sharon Nolfi 6 days ago

    I love the sketch of Little Charlie – it looks as though he’s off to follow his many dreams.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 days ago

      Thanks, Sharon! 😃💕A very different sort of sketch for me! I’m so happy you liked it!

  3. bingingonabudget 6 days ago

    Thanks for sharing, I love this post. It’s so true our imagination as children is amazing and I love that you find yourself connected to it when you paint. I’m currently on working on writing a young adult science fiction book and feel the same way.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 days ago

      Thanks so much! So happy you enjoyed this post! 😃💕 I do think that the imagination of child is a wonderful place to start when creating something new. And awesome what you’re working on a book! That’s wonderful!

  4. June Hadaway 6 days ago

    Gosh Charlie you are just so good at everything you do. I know your staff must think you are awesome too. This is such a cute scene. Had you not followed your dreams there would not have been this wonderful watercolor community. Thank you.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 days ago

      Thanks, June! 😃💕 hehe… I hope my staff of my day job thinks I’m cool… or at least… not a dry and horrible boss. 😉 And I’m so thrilled that I chased my watercolor community dreams… it’s just been so awesome to see everyone’s work and how it continues to improve!

  5. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 6 days ago

    Charlie, this is such a sweet painting and a really lovely story about you being a kid with wanderlust. And what a very special mom you have, who would make matching pjs for you and Buff. You lived a charmed life, and I really enjoy reading about it here.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 days ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 Yeah, I have a fabulous mom… she’s rather exceptional. And I truly have her to credit for my creative drive. She never once thought something couldn’t be made… she would just make it. I’ve carried that same spirit into adulthood.

  6. SnehLata Maheshwari 6 days ago

    U are a .Day dreamer i am in love with little kid lie. Reading the story is a essential part of my life , with a cup of tea.
    Liked the story.Here Red Alart due to heavy rains n flude . Cross the fingers.
    Liked the amazing art little lie.
    Thanks so much lie.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 days ago

      Thanks, Snehlata! 😃💕 Glad you enjoyed this! And crossing my fingers my friend that there are no floods heading your way!

  7. Lisa 6 days ago

    There is a certain Christopher Robin thing going on here. I like it. I was a major day dreamer, fantasizer when I was young. I still do to some degree, but not as much as I used to. I used to do it a lot when I went to bed, kind of like a personal bedtime story. Now that I’m older, I’m too tired and fall asleep before I can get a story started. 😁

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 days ago

      Thanks, Lisa! 😃💕 hehe… yeah, I don’t have near the same amount of time anymore to tell myself bedtime stories! I’m usually asleep by 10!

  8. Paintprojectblog 6 days ago

    Wonderful! I really like how the big dark lines understates the big world ahead☺ I was, unlike you, a bit unsure if my painting/drawing skills were good enough to show off online, but decided to make an online site of my journey anyway ☺

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 days ago

      Thanks so much! 😃💕 Thrilled you liked this… it was a bit of a change from my normal approach. And yay to starting your online journey! Just go for it, seriously… it’s the best way and so much fun!

  9. Jesska 6 days ago

    “This wasn’t born out of anything difficult to acquire like confidence”

    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 I’m stealing this for my quote wall, I hope you don’t mind..

  10. Mary Roff 6 days ago

    This is just wonderful!!!

  11. Rod Fletcher 6 days ago

    The image in my head is not Christopher Robin, but the lad in Sleepless in Seattle. His imagination wouldn’t take no for an answer either.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 days ago

      hehe… either way, it’s a cool connection! 😉 And yay to never letting our imagination take no for an answer!!

  12. smzang 4 days ago

    “When I first started sketching and painting, I imagined that I was already good at it. I knew I had a lot to learn, and would continue to always be learning. So, I skipped that bit at the beginning of worrying whether I was good enough to share anything I made. I just started doing it. This wasn’t born out of anything difficult to acquire like confidence, I’m still working on that, but instead, simply reconnecting with the imagination I had as a child.” Just for the record…You are really good at it. I’m thinking there are thousands of people who have kept working on their dream because of you and doodlewash. You
    do good work, Charlie. One thing for sure, you don’t ever have to worry about your purpose in life. You are living it.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 days ago

      That’s so incredibly nice of you to say! 😃💕Thank you! I hope I inspire people… I can’t teach worth a lick, so inspiring seems to be my calling. I just want everyone who feels compelled to try making art. And to do it with joy and never obsess over things. Bit by bit, we get better each day. It’s just such a fun journey!

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