Looking Back

Penguin Watercolor Illustration - Doodlewash

Once again today, I found myself rushed for time and then had that moment where I thought I wouldn’t be able to sketch something at all. I’ve faithfully shown up each and every day since the moment I started sketching, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some days where I’m sort of wondering if I’ll make it happen. But, then I saw this little penguin looking back at something and it made me look back and remember all of the fun I had when I first began. Those days were all about the new and exciting thing called watercolor sketching that I’d discovered. I still remember barely being able to sleep because I was so thrilled to get up the next day and try out my new hobby. That was over 45 months ago now, and so I should be a pro at this right? Well, that’s really not that much time at all in an art journey. I’m still just a kid learning each and every day and I’m so happy for that. And when I remind myself of this, all of the stress falls away and I happily get out my art supplies and just color! Suddenly, that time I thought I didn’t have appears and becomes the very moment I needed to happen that day. What on earth could I possibly DO that’s this much FUN! So, yay for the sketching habit that just can’t be stopped. It’s made my life so much better and more rewarding in the process.

Last night, while I was sketching, Philippe was watching a French documentary about fries. If you’ve not been reading along, it’s important to note that one of his favorite shows is one that takes a single and common item and goes on a feverishly in-depth exploration. From carrots, to cauliflower, to pickles, nothing is off limits and surprisingly has a full hour of history to discover. I think it’s really funny and it makes me giggle and then I stop and realize that while he’s been doing that, I’ve just spent the last 45 minutes visually studying a single thing of my own. So, I guess we’re a pretty good match in the end. We both adore the chance to dive deep into something, especially the most mundane and common things imaginable. And indeed, my favorite subjects are always the ones that we can all recognize and appreciate. From bits of nature, to animals, to food, to memories of a childhood long ago, I just love sketching stuff. So many wonderful things have happened since I started writing and sketching and it all started on a whim during a holiday weekend one summer.

There are dreams we actively chase and then there are dreams that actively chase us. They aren’t something we even take seriously in the moment, but something our hearts latch onto and so we just follow along to see what happens next. I love these dreams the most. The kind that my mind has already written off as silly and not worthy of a second thought while my heart screams, “Listen to ME! I want this!” That’s the dream I’m still living today. It’s the one that started Doodlewash and the one that continues to evolve as I follow my heart and ignore my mind just a bit. I have to believe that this penguin sees something that I simply don’t. Something unexpected and wonderful that my rational mind would right off as a mere distraction. My inner child is my best friend and I know he would never lead me astray. So, yeah, I can seem a bit childish sometimes as I’m always following a heart much younger than the laugh lines in that betray my face. Little Charlie seems to think that the penguin knows best. And I have to agree with him. There’s something magical to be found when you take the time to spend a few precious moments each day just looking back.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Opus (Vivid Pink), Cobalt Blue, and Terra Cotta. Micron Pen 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 25 - Penguin Watercolor Illustration - Doodlewash
Recommended5 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
32 Comments
  1. Sandra Strait 3 months ago

    After watching your sketchbook revival session yesterday, I couldn’t help looking at your penguin extra close and visualizing how you did it. It’s almost like a second mini-session because now I can visualize how you look and your set-up and almost see the penguin from start to finish. It’s just going make me enjoy your rambles even more!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Oh yay!! That makes me so happy to hear, Sandra! 😃💕Yeah, I’ve struggled with ever doing a video for some time because I’m more philosopher than instructor! And I wasn’t sure if people would be interested in something like that. It was nice to get a lot of positive feedback, so I just might try some more video in the future! 😉

  2. Sharon Nolfi 3 months ago

    Love the penguin! I watched your Sketchbook Revival session last night, and loved it. You are a great presenter and teacher, plus it was fun to find out the secrets of your daily doodlewashes. You should definitely do more teaching videos.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 I’m so happy you enjoyed the video! I think I’ll definitely try another one in the future. It’s wonderful to get such great encouragement!

  3. memadtwo 3 months ago

    I like the purple in the penguin! I don’t know how you do it every day Charlie, but bravo! (K)

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Kerfe! 😃💕 hehe… yeah, I’m a total sketchbook addict now… I just can’t stop. It’s so much fun!

  4. Susan 3 months ago

    Great job at Sketchbook Revival. You didn’t seem nervously all. Good lesson. Thank-you for all you do to further the watercolor arts. You are much appreciated. Aloha, Susan

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Aww thanks so much, Susan! 😃💕 hehe And Aloha to you!! (you’re in Hawaii right? and if so, I’m sooo jealous!). So happy you enjoyed the video! That makes me feel great… it’s another new adventure for me!

  5. smzang 3 months ago

    I love the Charlie says of today, ” My inner child is my best friend and I know he would never lead me astray.”

    Beautiful, and I look at that penguin and think he is looking back to make sure you are there and that you are indeed going to paint him. (either that or he is showing you his best side) Either one…he has great personality
    and appeal.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sarah! 😃💕 hehe… So thrilled you enjoyed him! Penguins just make my inner child smile every time!

      • smzang 3 months ago

        I’m a huge fan of that inner child!

  6. Lisa 3 months ago

    Remember Bloom County, the comic strip by Berkeley Breathed? His comic penguin was Opus. I still have a stuffed Opus. A lot of people base their love of penguins on that penguin movie that came out a while back, but as for me, I love Opus. And Bill the Cat. Calvin and Hobbes is my other favorite comic of all time. I would laugh my way to tears reading those.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      I agree!! I was Opus for me as well! That was the start of my penguin love! 😃💕 And yep… I have the Calvin and Hobbes treasury as well! 😉

  7. SnehLata Maheshwari 3 months ago

    Mindblouing lie the penguin.
    The lines i love is you always listen to your kids heart.but i know that kid s always does some noughty things ? Ha ha just to smile.nice

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Snehlata! 😃💕hehe! Yeah… and it’s the naughty things that can sometimes make life even more fun! lol 😉

  8. Mique 3 months ago

    I loved your SketchbookRevival session. And I ordered your book 🙂 Can’t wait to see the postwoman comes in our street with it 🙂
    Sandra dis mention it, now I can understand your drawings/paintings art more deeply than first.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Mique!! 😃💕 I’m so thrilled you enjoyed the session and thank you from the bottom of my heart for purchasing my new book! I hope it brings you lots of fun and enjoyment! I’m definitely going to figure out how to do more videos in the future thanks to your wonderful encouragement!

  9. Mary Roff 3 months ago

    Thanks for always finding the time!! Love the penguin!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕 Thanks for always dropping by to encourage me! It’s really the reason I can manage to show up each day! Much love!

  10. Kate Powell 3 months ago

    Charlie I’ve been swamped — no crazy busy slammed swamped — in our business and between the death of my mom and other losses and so so much sadness I finally lost my mojo. Exhausted I’ve been falling to sleep on Mitchell’s lap (heaven) and my journaling has been without images and quite negative (and that is okay — when that is what is up — it is my journal not a happy journal!) I took the time to watch you yesterday and my mind said notime notime notime but I did the exercise with what was next to me and found joy. I have my own doodles I do and one is a nature doodle from childhood of palm beach meditating and the other is a 60’s pop flower and there you were reading my mind. Thanks so much. I will be back posting here soon too. Later today will post what your exercise unleashed…

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      My dearest Katie, I saw what you made and your note and it made my heart jump for JOY! 😃💕 Love you much my friend and I’m thrilled that I could be even a small part of bringing your mojo back… seriously… I just remind people of what they already know. The rest is all wonderful YOU! Your mojo was there all the time… I’m glad I could remind you of where to look. And so, now…. you better take that time to play!! Glad I could remind you that whenever you feel even a bit down, it’s kind of fun to come back and play with me! ❤️

  11. Jodi 3 months ago

    so glad you found time. it is soooo hard sometimes! i finished watching your sketching stuff video on the treadmill this morning – lol! SOOOO fun to watch you and your creative process! Can’t wait to catch more of the videos, but yours is the first one i HAD to watch. Thanks so much for sharing so much of lovable you Charlie O!!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Aww yay! Thanks, Jodi! 😃💕 I”m so thrilled I was your first! And it was MY first video ever! Also, I have to say that I feel rather extra awesome that I managed to release a fitness video as well this week? Yay ME!! lol Much love and hugs to you my friend! ❤️

  12. Sharon Marlow 3 months ago

    I just love this little penguin cute factor off the charts 😊

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Aww yay! Thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 So happy you liked my penguin!

      • Sharon Marlow 2 months ago

        What’s not to like Charlie I actually found your podcast and I’m really excited because I enjoyed it so much that I painted this little blue guy called bingo while listening to the podcast I love your stories they make me happy and listening to the podcast makes me smile and thank you for the happy moment

        • Author
          Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

          That’s the most encouraging and wonderful thing I could ever hope to hear! Thank you SO much, Sharon! 😃💕 I put so much out there and I’m just hoping that it makes people inspired and happy. So thrilled to know that it did for you, my friend!

  13. June Hadaway 3 months ago

    Great penquin. You are simply anazing!

  14. Vicki 3 months ago

    Your enthusiasm shines through both in your writing and in your “doodles”. Your title caught my eye because of my new hobby of “ancestry”. On further reflection though I came to the conclusion that ancestry research was more than looking back. I also see it as looking after the future. Who would have thought a penguin would be the inspiration for my next post! IOU!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Aww! That’s so wonderful, Vicki! 😃💕 Glad you enjoyed this! Yeah, I don’t think looking back is anything more than looking forward. Our future is far better guided when we take a moment to honor and enjoy our past!

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