Moments Of Reflection

Day 17 - Duck Watercolor Reflections - Doodlewash

One of the joys of blogging each day, at least the way I approach it, is that I have absolutely no idea what will appear here until the very moment that it does. Today, in answer to our prompt, we ended up with a quick little doodlewash of a duck reflected in the water. There’s something so wonderfully calm about seeing a duck swimming by. They seem to move in an enviably effortless way. I wish I had half of that grace, but I’m generally quite clumsy. Much of the time, this is caused by my horrible impatience. My excitement about moving forward makes me rush into to just about everything that I do. I take only a few minutes to mentally prepare for a project and then happily jump right in and start doing it. This can be considered impetuous to someone who likes to make a solid plan, but it’s really just a “build to think” approach. I come up with ideas by actually jumping in to DO them and learn as I go. This doesn’t always create an environment of smooth swimming like this little duck is enjoying, but it does make creating incredibly fun! I prefer my messy process, because I adore being astonished along the way. Life, to me, is never better than when it’s granted the ability to surprise and delight us.

I’ve tried many times to sit down and truly prepare an idea. I’ve attempted to fully outline all of the steps and carefully think about the outcome I would like in the process. This is something I’ve attempted for books I wanted to write, for example. Each time I try, however, my brain sort of shuts off part way through and I’m left with nothing much at all. It’s just not how I think. I sometimes feel I’m a bit like the first watch that Philippe bought for me. The kind that runs, not on batteries, but on physical movement. When I’m in the act of making something my brain is firing at full speed, and everything happens automatically. But when I stop to think about it or, as is more often the case, overthink about it, nothing much happens at all. Weirdly, I actually adore learning about processes and structure, but I prefer to overlay that knowledge on something I’ve already created than to begin there. I simply use those ideas as a gauge to determine whether what I’ve done is the best that it could be, but not to get there in the first place. Many times, I’ll come up with something that doesn’t quite fit the mold while approaching life this way and those are the best moments of all.

Yet, also, I can often find that what I create doesn’t quite fit into the accepted paradigms that came before me. I’m back to being that little boy that I once was, who didn’t quite fit in, and whose work couldn’t be so easily categorized. For example, I’ve always had a dream to write a fictional novel, yet most of my ideas and concepts defy the standard categories that exist today. One might think this could be considered breakthrough, but the reality is that successful breakthroughs are extremely rare. In truth, it’s usually far better to plan a bit in advance and ensure that what you’re doing is going to fit inside some predetermined mold. It’s honestly the best way to guarantee success. But, for the life of me, I can’t seem to function this way. Instead, you’ll find me just doing whatever comes to mind each day instead. I’m not planning so much as bumbling forward in search of that next bit of personal truth. And, just maybe, that’s the very definition of an artist. Or, at least, I’d like to think so in these thoughtful moments of reflection.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Azo Yellow, Terra Cotta, and Cobalt Blue (my “Shiny” Trio!) + Cobalt Turquoise. 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 17 - Duck Watercolor Reflections Sketchbook - Doodlewash
Recommended2 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie

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!

16 Comments
  1. Sharon Nolfi 3 weeks ago

    Beautiful painting of the duck and her reflection – I especially like the reflection of her head. Nice take on the prompt!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕So happy you liked my little duck!

  2. Lisa 3 weeks ago

    Don’t they say about ducks that they may be calm above the water, but they are paddling like hell underneath? Lol

    When I used to hire and train new staff, I would show them a job, show them how I did it and the outcome I wanted. Then them them that I wanted it done my way until they had it perfected. After that, have at it. If they could achieve the same results in a better or easier way, then good for them!

    I say write your weird novel. Many writers don’t plan because they want the joy of discovering the story like a reader woukd!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      haha!! They DO say that! I think I may have been a duck in a former life! lol 😃💕 And your approach sounds perfectly awesome! hehe… I do hope to write my weird novel one day. There’s nothing better than the joy of discovering!

  3. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 3 weeks ago

    I think you’re impulsively creative, Charlie, an enviable trait many others would love to have in their personal backpack. But you do plan, of course – you plan every day to show up at the kitchen counter and paint. That’s a pretty terrific achievement.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Thank you so much, Sharon! 😃💕I do like to think that my commitment to showing up means a little something in the end. All those crazy impulsively creative dreams will still be there brewing, but at least I manage to show up with a bit of something.

  4. LoriCtoo 3 weeks ago

    I’ll agree with your definition as an artist because that is me. I enjoy my work more when I can just bumble around and just see what might happen. I have 2 bosses that I do craft displays for. One is a very thought process gal. She has everything laid out and ideas planned. The the other boss normally will have one piece she needs done and says,’ Here, we need to do something with this.” They both know, in the end, I’ll do whatever I want. Lol! Your cute little duck( in water of course), reminded me of the duckling that I had as a pet. Eventually he grew up and went to my Uncle’s to live. He would fly at people when they came to visit him. Lol, another memory you brought to the surface for me. Ramble ramble, I should have my own blog. Nope.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Aww I love that memory! 😃💕 hehe… and Doodlewash is a blog for everyone so blog away my friend! Or ramble, as I love to say, because it’s just way more fun! lol A bit jealous that you had a duckling for a pet though… that’s just SO cool!

  5. Sandra Strait 3 weeks ago

    It IS the very definition of an artists! Love your duck!

  6. Frances Turano 3 weeks ago

    Hi Charlie!

    LOVED today’s blog! You and I are cut from the same bolt of cloth with today’s topic. I’m a “shoot from the hip” mindset. My college papers were written at midnight the night before, my bound watercolor book (final) 24 hours before deadline. Yes, we seem to love the spontaneity of each colorful, exciting and unknown moment.

    I find this is also true of my painting slumps. I fight to paint “proper,” within the lines, light to dark, dark to light, white paper, transparent colors, etc. Before I ever start, I am assaulted with all of the rules inside my head. And like you, I discovered how boring it was to color within the lines as prescribed. And when I gave this up? I picked up a brush, and I painted. And all of that negative chatter in my head ceased when I listened to what my soul was telling me: paint what speaks to you, let go of the rules.

    Thank you as ever for all you do for DW and her members. Frankly, I don’t think I could do 365 blogs and mini-paintings, facing all of that obligation, but you achieve it with such aplomb. 🙂

    Fanna Turano

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Aww thank you, Fanna! 😃💕 You are such a bright light of encouragement to me! While I find joy and pleasure in painting and writing each and every day, sharing it is always the hardest thing one can do! It’s a joy to know that there are people out there who find pleasure in what I write and sketch. And here’s to do it, rules be damned, as long as we show up and make something!

  7. Coolncreative17 3 weeks ago

    What a gorgeous duck. Ducks are my second favourite animal. Well birds. They are so cute.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Thanks so much! 😃💕hehe.. I agree.. ducks and birds are fabulous. They’re among my favorite thing to sketch!

  8. smzang 2 weeks ago

    I am a bit sleepy eyed as it is 3:30 a.m. and I have been up since roughly the same time yesterday but when I saw that duck, I had to stop by and pet those soft feathers on his head. What a genuinely lovable creature. And you are right, there is something so peaceful in watching a duck ‘float’ by. It stills the world and quiets the mind. Once again, Thank you!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Oh wow! That’s a really late night! Hope you get some more rest soon, my friend. Glad I could jump in and quiet your mind a bit, though! 😃💕 Thank you!!

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