Lucky Duck

Mallard Duck Watercolor Illustration

When I was kid, we would often use the phrase “lucky duck” to describe our envy at another child’s good fortune. That’s what came to mind today for our prompt of “Duck” so we have this happy little mallard to illustrate the concept. I wasn’t able to find the exact origin of the phrase “lucky duck,” but duck as been used to refer to people for quite some time and, well, it sort of rhymes so that’s always a winner. There’s another phrase of “odd duck” that’s meant to describe someone who, as they also say, marches to his own drum. I’m rather sure I had this phrase applied to me at times back then and perhaps even now. I’ve always liked doing whatever I personally enjoyed, even if it wasn’t the mainstream thing that everybody else was doing. I’ve never been remotely trendy, though I’m usually well aware of the latest trends, there are few I follow. And when I do, I usually just dabble like a duck. To me, it’s very lucky indeed to get to take a little bit of time to do what I love each day. Though I wish for much more time, of course, and though I’m usually rushing to make something, that rush is all of the fun. It’s the way I prefer to create things. It’s fun to see something rapidly appear that wasn’t there before and almost feels like a bit of magic.

And, as many of you might know by now, I often put a bird prompt on the 8th day of each month. The annual Draw A Bird Day is on April 8th each year, but many of my good friends, who also blog on WordPress, rightly thought that once a year was simply not enough. So we’ve celebrated it on the 8th day of every month on and off for a few years now. Having art friends who have encouraged me from the start makes me feel very lucky indeed, so much love to all of my fellow birders today! Without the initial support from my blogging friends, I’m not sure I would have been able to keep showing up each day. It’s tough when you’re first starting to learn how to do something. Things don’t always turn out like you’d hope and it can be a bit scary to share what you make. But I did, and I’m thrilled I did. A handful of truly awesome people thought it was worth it to take a moment and leave a comment. Those earliest comments made me so motivated. Along with the ones today, of course! I was thrilled to know that people enjoyed what I was doing. That’s why I encourage people to post, even before they think they are “ready” and have built several groups so people have a space to share and get feedback. By the way, not all of the feedback on my own work has been positive, but the critical comments were appreciated as well.

I’m actually horrible when it comes to giving critiques because I’m just like a little kid who spots the joy and awesomeness in everything and just gets super excited about it all. And since I don’t believe in a single “right” way to do something, it makes giving a critique super difficult. I honestly cannot tell someone they are doing something incorrectly, because in art, doing something incorrectly is exactly how every art movement has happened. It would be horrible to think we’d never have had the opportunity to experience cubism, because someone had actually managed to convince Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque they were doing it all wrong. So, instead, I turn into a psychologist and say, “how did it make you feel?” and “how did you want to feel?” To me, if those two things line up, we have a winner! Yeah, probably best never to ask me for a standard critique, I guess. Perhaps, I am just a bit of an odd duck after all. But I always know how I want to feel when I sketch and paint. I just want to feel a bit of joy. And I always do! So, I think, in the end, I’m doing things correctly for me personally. That’s all I could ever hope for anyone else. And when your passion makes you feel the way you hoped, it’s a glorious experience that could undoubtedly make others say, “you lucky duck!”

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Opus (Vivid Pink), Leaf Green, Cobalt Turquoise, Terra Cotta, and Cobalt Blue. 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!
Day 8 - Mallard Duck Watercolor Illustration_IG
Recommended6 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Sandra Strait 2 years ago

    Your mallard is magnificent! I try to avoid critique online because you may be criticizing something that’s caused by your screen and not the actual work. I do like to let people know what I like about a work though – that’s what the conversation is all about!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Sandra! 😃💕Yeah, I think letting people know the beauty in their work is always the most helpful!

  2. Karen Fortier 2 years ago

    I like your lucky duck. He looks very happy!

  3. memadtwo 2 years ago

    Great choice of bird. And you’ve captured that wonderful green. (K)

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks, Kerfe! 😃💕 I tried this one without resorting to my Viridian Green… hehe… glad you liked it!

  4. Lisa 2 years ago

    Ahh, takes me back to the duck pond where we could buy cracked corn for a dime and feed the fat hordes of ducks that were most likely too heavy to fly south for the winter. Then some killjoy decided it was a bad thing to do, so they quit selling corn and let the pond freeze over. Darn bureaucrats!😁

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Oh! Sorry to hear that, Lisa! A duck pond is the most wonderful thing ever! 😃💕 They probably shut it down because almost nothing can be had for a dime anymore. 😉

  5. Sharon Nolfi 2 years ago

    Wow. “Lucky Duck” really brings me back to elementary school days. I love the green on the mallard’s head – the light is hitting it just right,

  6. LoriCtoo 2 years ago

    Odd ducks flock together! You inspire and teach me something every day! I enjoy your artwork and ramblings. I feel at home here. I just wish I had more time to give feedback on all the wonderful works that are posted here. Along with thanking everyone every time they comment on my work. We all need to give and receive positive feedback! Your duck’s coloring is spot on! It makes me want to learn and pay more attention when I paint. Thank you!!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Yay to that, Lori! 😃💕 Let that odd duck flag fly high! hehe.. I adore being one! And yay, thrilled I could inspire you with this! I normally revert to Viridian for this particular duck color, but decided to use my own everyday palette instead. So thrilled you liked this… makes me feel god that my current palette can do just about anything!

  7. hootiebirdsartjournal 2 years ago

    I agree that there is no wrong way to make art. The only right way, is if it makes you happy while doing it! Oh, and being an Oregonian, we are also Mighty Oregon Ducks!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Yay to Oregon Ducks! hehe 😃💕And yeah, if I do nothing else on this planet, I hope I can spread the good word that truly no wrong way to make art!

  8. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 2 years ago

    I doubt Picasso or Braque would have been dissuaded by criticism but I’m also a person who crumbles at any negative remark. When I taught art, I found something wonderful to say about every student’s work because there was always something of value to note. The journey to self discovery via art was the most important goal of my curriculum. And being proud of what they’d created. Picasso and Braque may have had doubts as they pioneered cubism but they trekked forward in defining the new art world.

    Now that I’ve got that out of my system, this mallard is striking for his pose, his expression, and the details of his glorious feathers. Charlie, you got all your ducks in a row in this Doodlewash. And as a bird lover, I applaud a day a month devoted to birds. Now were you to try this with Komodo dragons, I might object.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 And this is exactly why we’re friends… it’s so true right? There’s always something so wonderful and valuable when anyone at all makes something. They should always be proud of what they created! I can’t critique in a directive way at all… I’ve seen people who might just be the next Grandma Moses! I can’t tell them how to do thing properly because I think they already are. And we’ll all be much better off for that gift!

  9. Robert J. Coleman 2 years ago

    In the Boston area we had a weatherman named Dick Albert, who was full of corny sayings; one of his favorites was Just ducky!” meaning outstanding or super. Not sure of its origin, but the phrase made me think of a duck in the pond on a rainy day – for him it IS just ducky. And it is a real life lesson to be the odd duck that each of us is. But I had to laugh when you mentioned Cubism and Picasso. The first time I saw (back in he 50’s) one of his portraits of a woman, I thought “why did he explode her!!??”

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      haha!! I adore that comment, Bob! 😃💕 Why did he explode her, indeed!? lol Awww that’s the beauty of art… it raises far more questions than answers. But, I have to think that’s a better world in the end. One, that dare I say is, Just Ducky! 😉

  10. smzang 2 years ago


    I love your comment, “I honestly cannot tell someone they are doing something incorrectly, because in art, doing something incorrectly is exactly how every art movement has happened. ”

    I once had a professor who said Robert Frost couldn’t write and Picasso couldn’t paint. It made me feel really frustrated then, now it makes me feel really sad for someone who was
    so lacking in vision.

    Btw…I love that mallard!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks, Sarah! 😃💕Yeah… many artists and writers of note couldn’t do it “properly”… so I adore them and hope to be just like them when I finally grow up. 😉

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