Like Peanut Butter And Jelly

Day 3 - Peanut Butter And Jelly Illustration - Doodlewash

When I was a kid, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich was served as both lunch and, when I was really lucky, a little snack in between meals! It’s one of the first things I learned to make for myself, which always made me feel like I was “cooking” when it’s really just a bit of assemblage with no heat or fire involved. Though my mom’s version was rather neatly made, my own version was always a bit sloppy. I would put too much grape jelly on the bread and what didn’t squirt out the sides would ooze through the slices. This made the peanut butter, which normally acted as a “glue” for the sandwich, lose its effect. Those poor flimsy slices of white bread were a mess the moment I grabbed it and took my first bite. As then, I would soon find that my whole face was covered in jelly. Thankfully, the jelly came homemade from my grandmother so it was usually strawberry jam rather than grape jelly and very delicious, which is why I always wanted too much of it. What started as a lovely way to be a “big kid” ended in something that resembled a crime scene. But it was so much fun! I have such fond memories of making this sandwich, yet I almost can’t remember how it tasted. It’s been many years since I’ve had one. But after all of these years, I still like making a little mess every now and again!

I’m not sure that one’s approach to making peanut and jelly sandwiches has any real bearing on what they will become later in life, but in my case, it was rather telling. I was impatient, yet gleeful, and so excited for the result that I just couldn’t wait for it to happen. That’s certainly how I color my doodles today, since I can’t bear watching paint dry, but it’s equally how I approach most of what I do in life. I never plan anything out and just jump in and start DOing it! For me, the plan presents itself along the way. This has been referred to by those who know better than I as a “build to think” process. And it’s been employed by writers for years in the form of a “sh*tty first draft”  I tend to live my whole life in the first draft mode since I never edit what I make each day. But I learn something wonderful each time. In this sketch, I realized that while I have certainly created an acumen for glass, I haven’t sketched white bread in quite some time. It’s rendered a bit more simply and sort of doodled into place. Yet, I rather like the juxtaposition, so that represents a cool idea to explore. I’m quite sure the little kid making these actual sandwiches felt very much the same way. No pressing need to accomplish anything more than the act itself. To simply make something.

Today, I just can’t shake that feeling. The one telling me that the urge to create something is somehow always superior to whatever ends up being created. Rather than attempt to constantly improve what I make, I try with all of my heart to merely cultivate the very urge to create it. When it gets tough to show up each day, and it totally does, all I need DO is remind myself that I’m showing up for me, first and foremost. That sounds so weirdly selfish, I know. But, if I don’t enjoy the process, then how on earth should I expect all of you to enjoy the outcome? No matter what type of art we make, we’re never sharing the art itself, but the very experience of creating it in the first place. That second story is written there in each word, or line, or brushstroke of color. And it’s this story that I personally enjoy most when I read or look at a piece of art. Dancing on the paper or canvas is also the story of the artist. A very personal story that adds a bit of magic to even the simplest of things. As a kid, this was nothing more than simply me making what I made that day. As an adult, we add many layers on top, but when you strip them away, it’s very much the same thing. Our soul is always visible in what we create. And, it always swirls and combines with what we hoped to convey in a beautiful and harmonious combination, like peanut butter and jelly.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Quinacridone Red, Opus (Vivid Pink), 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!
Peanut Butter And Jelly Illustration - Doodlewash
Recommended5 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
17 Comments
  1. Sandra Strait 3 weeks ago

    Charlie, only you would use a peanut butter and jelly sandwich as an analogy for one’s approach to life and make it work! As a fellow jam-all-over sufferer, it makes perfect sense to me!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Sandra! 😃💕Yay! hehe… yeah, I can really tend to ramble my way to a point at times! lol Glad you could relate!

  2. Sharon Nolfi 3 weeks ago

    Making a mess is not only fun, but it often leads to wonderful creations.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      So true!! 😃💕 I love making messes… so many good ideas come from that!

  3. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 3 weeks ago

    It’s always about the journey – even when the jelly is squishing all over the place. P&J is an eat-on-the-go sandwich.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Yep! hehe…. love PB&J! 😃💕 And journeys as well, of course…. especially when they get a bit messy.

  4. LoriCtoo 3 weeks ago

    I almost had a PB&J the other day, but my adult came out and I had something nutritous no doubt. Funny you mention waiting for paint to dry. I did not want to sketch my marbles this morning, it was all I could do to get my tired self motivated. Well, halfway through I realized I needed to wait for my paint to dry. That’s all I needed to stop me in my tracks and not finish them. 8p They just weren’t looking like yours or marbles at that. Lol

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Aww… I wish you would have had the PB&J so I could live vicariously!! lol 😃💕 And yeah, I can’t bear watching paint dry, so I use a lot less water and paint in reverse – dark to light. You can do wondrous things with just a clean damp brush to blend everything back into place! 😉

      • LoriCtoo 2 weeks ago

        Well that’s a interesting idea, the paint that is. I’ll have to try it.:)

  5. Lisa 3 weeks ago

    I really don’t like pb&j, but I like to create. I think the urge has been with me forever. Both writing and art. Plus cooking. I’m not a huge baker, but I love to cook because I can improvise. And that makes it art. I’ve also done ceramics, drawing, sewing, embroidery, weaving, painting, jewelry making, woodcarving, quilting, print making, photography, multimedia, all kinds of writing, but mainly poetry, and other things I’m sure I missed. A big part of doing these things is to learn how. I made one quilt in my life. I kind of hated the process, but I am happy that I know how to do it. I also swore I would never make another one. Lol! Years ago I had a high school boy working for me at the library. He decided to take a quilting class offered at his school. That one class changed his life as he went on to become a fiber artist. That had never even been on his radar before. I love when things like that happen.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Wow… not a PB&J fan, eh? hehe… I’ve no idea if I am anymore or not. It’s been years… probably not actually! lol And wow I adore that story!! So cool he went on to become a fiber artist… that’s amazing! Love it!

  6. June Hadaway 3 weeks ago

    Yum….has always been a favorite. Isn’t peanut butter protein packed? Love the painting and your story.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Thanks, June! 😃💕 Yes! See? Peanut has good fats and lots of protein… so healthy! The jelly though… leaves a bit to be desired there. 😊

  7. Jodi 3 weeks ago

    Your PB&J Doodlewash is so Charlie.. Just how I love it! <3

  8. smzang 2 weeks ago

    Charlie says, “if I don’t enjoy the process, then how on earth should I expect all of you to enjoy the outcome?”

    wisdom in those words! I will steal your own words to tell you that each time you pick up a pen or a brush
    you are indeed ‘a beautiful and harmonious combination’

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Aww that’s too sweet! Thank you, Sarah! 😃💕 Yeah, I think when we really love what we’re doing it’s sort of impossible for others not to experience that same joy!

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