Learning To Play

Marbles And Kitten Watercolor Painting

For our prompt of “Marbles” today, I somehow stumbled across videos of kittens playing with them. So, after finally pausing the videos long enough to sketch something, that’s what we have for today. As many of you know, I’m actually allergic to cats, but I adore them, so sketching them always makes it feels like I get to have one of my very own. Watching cats playing with marbles is strangely satisfying and I love seeing the determined and focused expression as they hunt them down. And, well, marbles are simply something I’ve always adored. I never played the actual game they’re meant for, but loved making elaborate marble runs as a kid and watching them roll and twist their way through whatever contraption I created. One of the best things about being a little kid, or little cat for that matter, is that everything is always so wonderful and new. There’s so much to learn, but much of that learning is done through simply experiencing the world. And lots and lots of playtime! In case you haven’t noticed, nothing much has changed with me. I still think that play is the best way to learn something new and I still love to play each and every day. So, thanks for stopping by my sketchbook playground to see what this big kid made in his sandbox today.

Throughout my life I’ve gone through sudden spurts of wanting to learn all I could about something or another. I spent one year studying screenwriting, for example. This included attending a Master’s level course at a university. I loved this class! On the first day, the professor showed us clips from classic movies and then pulled out the key concepts of each and how they applied to story structure. Then, he told us to go write a 5 page script. Many of the other students were noticeably rattled by this sudden assignment and complained that they had not been given the proper steps involved. I wasn’t even sure what they meant, since there are no specific steps in the creative process for me. It’s always been just learning the key concepts, proceeding to leaps of faith, playing around at something, jumping right in before knowing much of anything, failing, trying again, and then suddenly making something new. It’s a messy process, to be sure, but it’s so freeing and fun! And it’s precisely the same process that we all used as kids. So, I appreciated this professor’s approach tremendously because it allowed me the opportunity to experience my own intuition.

Sure, this moment came back to me while I was watching a kitten playing with marbles. That’s totally ridiculous to consider, but it’s equally kind of awesome. When I’m playing, there’s never a way to DO something incorrectly. There are no rules to follow and therefore no rules to break. That feeling of intense joy and freedom is something I remember vividly as a child. The only thing certain was that I would certainly have a bit of fun if I tried something new. As much as I’d love to say I can always recapture this feeling as an adult, I have to admit that it’s difficult sometimes. Yeah, even the big kid struggles with this one. I will still often worry that what I’m DOing isn’t the right approach. I question myself and this stops me from taking that next leap. So instead, I’ve started asking myself better questions. What would Little Charlie do in this situation? Instead of wondering what would happen if he failed, he would only wonder what would happen when he succeeds. This certainty is something we adults call confidence, but when you’re a kid, it’s just learning to play.

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Marbles And Kitten Watercolor Painting Sketchbook Detail


Recommended5 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Karen Fortier 3 years ago

    How much fun to watch kittens and puppies play! Great post Charlie!
    I agree that figuring out the bare basics and then letting creativity take over is so much fun. It is how I have approached my art. Part way through the beginning of a painting I have a quick little talk with my inner nervous adult. She has to be reassured that I am not wasting time and art supplies on nothing. My inner child then steps in and says we are just going to play for a while and see what appears on the paper. I get out of the way and before I know it a real piece of art has taken shape. Everyone is relaxed and life is good. Sounds a bit strange as I write this but that is just my nervous adult trying to step in. 😉

    • Linda M. Gigliotti 3 years ago

      Smart girl. I should shut my left brain up and do that too. It worked when I did.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Karen! 😃💕 Not weird at all! Exactly the definition of the happiest way to create anything! Love it! And it’s always the most fun!

  2. Lisa 3 years ago

    I love kittens! We used to have lots of feral cats here. Every year we’d do our best to snag a litter or two of kittens so we could tame them and give them away to good homes. What that meant is that we got kittens in the house every spring. We made a giant cardboard enclosure in the dining room, so we could keep them contained. We’d let them out every evening to play with them and watch them explore. Sideways hop was always on the top of my list as my favorite kitten move!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      hehe!! I love the sideways hop!! 😃💕 That is definitely the cutest move on the planet!!

  3. Sandra Strait 3 years ago

    Your professor sounds like a great teacher, giving you just enough technique for structure and then letting you do the building.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Yeah, he was awesome! I was so surprised that everyone wasn’t as excited as I was! 😉

  4. Hninn Hninn 3 years ago

    Wow wow wow
    Kitten and marbles…. very nice colors.
    I love them 😍

  5. Gary Middleton 3 years ago

    Nice painting.

  6. Heidi S. 3 years ago

    Who could not love the combination of a playful kitten and some colerful marbles…

  7. LoriCtoo 3 years ago

    It would be fun to watch a kitten chasing marbles. I love to watch our 13 year old cat chase stuff around the house. As for playing, that’s what I feel like I have been doing this month with my sketches. I’ve thrown caution to the wind and just sketched whatever, however, not worrying about the techicalities of watercoloring or what people will say about them. And it has been fun!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Yay to that Lori! 😃💕 Thrilled to hear it! It’s so freeing to through caution to the wind! And well… as for cats… they’re just darn cute! hehe

  8. Mary Roff 3 years ago

    Love this, Charlie! Here’s our Alli….she’s a bit older than the kitty in your post but she’s always wanted to be a model.She send hugs back.🥰 nUBKHpRPSiKGLfvHyCx0yQ

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕 And cool! This does resemble Alli! Love that!! Hugs to her!!

  9. Linda M. Gigliotti 3 years ago

    The cat playing actually does relate to the way you do art. Play is play and your mind will utilize the same approaches. Something just occurred to me as I thought to tell you about my manner of doing Math. It would terrify some people (I do it in my head. Calculators argue and make mistakes. Drawing lines on paper so I can carry this and that is stupid. My head goes like this. NOT 2×9=18 but 2×10 minus 2. Now, try that with larger numbers. It works). So I have it all figured out in my head before I do it. I also shop like that, checking out beforehand what store has what I want and how much they charge and then planning out the modus operandi for getting there and back in as little time as possible. I do it with writing — I have the story in my head before I start. The whole thing. Stuff develops yes but the basic structure is laid in foundation. What you do informs everything else you do. PS: Much as I dislike cats I shuddered at the thought of one choking on one of those marbles. Yikes.

    Awesome. Keep DOing

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Linda! 😃💕 I adore your approach to Math! That’s awesome! Proof that there’s never just one way to DO something! And many of the other ways are even more fun!

  10. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 3 years ago

    Little Charlie as a kitten – fun to imagine. I think we all wonder what we’d be like were we a kitten or dolphin or sunflower. This little furball is on the hunt but still an innocent baby as well. A charming painting.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 Yeah, it’s fun to wonder what we once were and might have been!

  11. Priscilla DeConti 3 years ago

    Love the image and the post!! I have to remember to let the little girl in me come out to play and experience all life has to offer…thanks again!!!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Priscilla! 😃💕 That little girl inside definitely wants to play more indeed! 😉

  12. Lisa Ann Ulibarri 3 years ago

    Aweeeeeee precious Kitty!!! And Beautiful marbles!!! 🙂

  13. SMZ 3 years ago

    Charlie says, ” Instead of wondering what would happen if he failed, he would only wonder what would happen when he succeeds.”

    There you go again, maestro!

    As for the kitty, just super!

  14. memadtwo 3 years ago

    Play is definitely the best way to learn something new! (K)

  15. Walt. F Pierluissi 3 years ago

    Charlie you just touch my passion in life: Cats… Actually I like all felines, specially the Pumas and Tigers, but it will be a little extreme to have any one of them at my home, So I do have two females cats, well – including my wife will be 3… and I am the MACHO of the house…. I will always do whatever they want me to do!!!! jajajaj. Good painting…

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Walt! 😃💕 hehe… some do have pumas a pets! lol But yeah, the smaller ones are probably easier to take care of. Or take orders from as the case may be! 😉

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