Night Falling On Lyon

Night Falling on Lyon by Charlie O'Shields

So I accepted another challenge from Teresa Robeson at One Good Thing to try painting the riverfront in Lyon which I really loved and this doodlewash is the result. I mentioned that I have no idea how to handle water and tend to avoid it, so we both decided it must be tried next. What I loved about the Lyon riverfront was when night was falling over the city, so I added the second ridiculous challenge of trying to recreate water at night.

I’m not even quite sure what I’ve done here as I just grabbed a photo I had taken and sort of went for it. I painted what I thought I saw without really trying to do any particular techniques. So this one isn’t necessarily a lesson of how one should paint water, there are many cool techniques I’ve seen that I’ve yet to sit down and learn (highly recommend checking out what’s available on YouTube for that).

This is more about what happens when a crazy man with a brush just starts doodlewashing without restraint (with the help of his fave 5 friends Quinacridone Gold, Naples Yellow, Burnt Sienna, French Ultramarine Blue, and Alizarin Red). I can’t even describe my process on this one because I barely remember what happened. One minute it was a blank canvas and 45 minutes later this emerged. I kind of got lost in the doodlewash on this one.

I was about to sketch something and decided that yesterday’s loose watercolor was fun, and I’d been missing it. I tend to sketch what I see, but paint what I feel. My paintings lack the definition and detail I put into my sketches, and it’s fun to not really see the result until the end. It’s as close to abstract as I’m likely to get, as it’s still quite representational, but it’s a fun change. And I’m all about trying new things and changing it up!

Philippe and I stayed in a little apartment in Lyon for a full week and so it really started to feel like home. Each night we would walk down toward the river. There were always couples walking down the lane holding hands and various pods of people on blankets having a snack and chatting too quietly to hear. It was only the third time I’d even seen Philippe in person and we still hadn’t a clue how we were actually going to be together.

But in those quiet moments, walking along the banks of the Saône riverfront, I always managed to feel a sort of hope. In the glow of the river I didn’t just live in the moment, I could imagine a better future. No matter how tough the obstacles seemed, I knew somehow we were going to get through to the other side. And we did.

As we grab our brushes and attempt those things we think are impossible, those things we’ve never tried before, don’t ever lose hope. It’s really the only thing that can keep us sane in this changing world. And with it you can do pretty much anything. Even paint water at night.

Profile photo of Charlie O'Shields
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!
Published in By Charlie
28 Comments
  1. artandmoondreams 2 years ago

    Beautiful painting and lovely words of encouragement and hope. In particular, ” I tend to sketch what I see, but paint what I feel “, … excellent philosophy for a creative journey. Thank you for sharing. Peace.

    • Author

      Awww Haunani, thank you so much my friend!! Wasn’t sure if anyone read this one! Hehe… So happy you liked it! I really appreciate the comment! 🙂

  2. memadtwo 2 years ago

    You really caught the reflections well.

    • Author

      Thanks!! You have no idea how happy that makes me that you said that. It was so challenging and I wasn’t sure about the result! Thanks so much!! (I never know whether this is Kerfe or Nina so thank you both!! 🙂

      • memadtwo 2 years ago

        Kerfe this time…we are trying to remember to initial our comments (but obviously not always succeeding)

      • Author

        Hehe…no worries! Love you both! 🙂

  3. beverlydyer 2 years ago

    Very nice! You tackled three tough things, water and night-time! and the third, true-love.

    • Author

      Aww Beverly, that’s so sweet! Thank you friend!! If you were here I would hug you!! ❤️ Unless you’re not a hugger in which case that would be awkward. 😊

  4. Teresa Robeson 2 years ago

    What a beautiful painting and a lovely romantic story to go with it! I’m so glad you took my dare and attempted this. 🙂 I suppose I will have to break down eventually and paint water… LOL!

    I am completely perplexed as to why your posts are not showing up on my Reader feed like it used to. Darn computer gremlins always messing with things.

    • Author

      Maybe you subconsciously unfollowed me because you’re scared of my dare. 😉 lol… Thanks so much Teresa! Appreciate the compliments and the challenge! And yes!!! You have to now!! Tag you’re it!! I told a friend on Instagram recently that my inner child is currently in a game of constant Truth or Dare and only accepting dares. 😉lol So she dared me… coming soon…

      • Teresa Robeson 2 years ago

        Nope, didn’t unfollow you! The top menu bar assured me I was following. Just cyber weirdness, as usual. 🙂

        Okay, I’ll think about how I want to tackle a water scene! I may not get it done soon but I will get something done. 🙂

      • Author

        And I will be here to remind you! Hehe… awesome! Open challenge, but can’t wait to see the results! 😃

      • Teresa Robeson 2 years ago

        Yes, please, keep poking me with a virtual stick until I get it done! 😀

      • Author

        That would be the first time I’ve hear the phrase “poking me with a virtual stick” so I now I must find ways to work it into my next conversation! Lol

      • Teresa Robeson 2 years ago

        Please feel free to run with it! Let me know if it catches on. 😀

      • Author

        Will do! I’m sure it’s only a matter of time.

      • Teresa Robeson 2 years ago

        LOL!

  5. Teresa Robeson 2 years ago

    Reblogged this on One Good Thing and commented:
    Charlie took my challenge and painted this atmospheric evening scene! 🙂

  6. ann christina 2 years ago

    You did a good job on this one, I think. Water gives me hard times too… Love your words, thanks for sharing!

    • Author

      Thanks so much Ann! Yeah…I’m sure one day I’ll be like…water? So easy! But not yet! 😉 Glad you like the words as well!

  7. Minuscule Moments 2 years ago

    I have a heavy hand when I paint and so water colours are a challenge for me. This is a beautiful vibrant painting. Kath.

    • Author

      Thanks!! I’m the same way Kath! I even have a heavy hand when I sketch! Hehe… I think I like watercolors because they’re forcing me out of my comfort zone. One day I’ll lighten up a little. Just need more practice trying! 😉

      • Minuscule Moments 2 years ago

        Me too, Im thinking of taking a craftsy lesson on watercolours and inks to paint birds, something to push me out of my comfort zone.

      • Author

        Awesome! DO it!! I’m all for pushing out of comfort zones. Love Craftsy courses! Have my eye on one that came out yesterday. Just have to find the time to take it! 😉

  8. I do like it Charlie. I think it’s got soul and energy! Water is a real challenge. I did a watercolor painting every day in July and tried to do some water scenes in a few of the paintings. I’d like to improve my techniques as well. I love your quote about painting what you feel. I think that’s what happens to me when I zone out in an abstract. It’s like I come out of a trance and finally get to actually look at the painting. Nice job with this; I hope you try more!

    • Author

      Thanks so much Laura! Glad you like it! I’ve seen some great minimalistic examples of water that I want to try as well. I have lots of practice ahead! I do love the “zoning out” piece of painting. My mind tend to run a mile a minute and it’s the one time I get to slow down and go with the flow! 🙂

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