Olive Branch

Olive Branch Colorful Watercolor Painting Botanical Illustration

For our prompt of “Olives” today, I decided to doodle an olive branch with various colors of olives. Not sure if all of these varieties would live on the same branch, but since an olive branch is a symbol of peace and unity, it seemed fitting to include them all together. Indeed, I’ve often said, and truly believe, that while it’s wonderful to have things in common, it’s our differences that make life so interesting. I’m always excited to see what everyone creates for these prompts, as it’s truly a fabulous celebration of uniqueness and creativity. And most of all, it’s so inspiring to draw and paint together. The world has become a wild and uncertain place these days, so it’s nice to know that some things remain consistently wonderful. I hope everyone out there is staying happy and healthy during this time. And yes, if you find yourself at home more, then I absolutely think a sketchbook is one of the best things we can have in our possession to keep things interesting. There’s always something new to experience with a little bit of line and color!

For this particular sketch, I decided to use only four colors and create greens that are a touch more natural than my usual bright leaf greens. I still ended up with bright and jewel tones, as that’s always my preference, but it was a fun experiment. In truth, it was a busy and stressful work day so I enjoyed getting a bit lost in making leaves and olives. I didn’t have a single reference, but just sort of glanced at some photos of olives and then made up my own little olive branch from there. This is something that I had always longed to do when I first started sketching stuff. I wanted to be able to sit down and just make anything that came to mind. But, I couldn’t do that yet, so I dutifully sketched each reference and learned ideas about light, color, and shape. It’s been nearly five years of daily sketching now, which if you told me it would take me this long at the beginning I might have just given up. Instead, I simply resigned myself to the process, knowing that one day it would happen if I just kept practicing, one day, while making one little sketch at a time.

Looking back, I remember all of my internal dialogue that I had with myself during those first few years. I would cheer myself on in the same hopeful way that I would do for others, but would secretly be rather tough on myself. Some days, I dreaded posting what I made, because I didn’t think it was very good at all. Other times, I would post something I thought turned out great only to have no time whatsoever to sketch the following day and feeling like what I made was rushed and inadequate. Interestingly, I remember some of those “failures” far more than any of those “successes.” When I see them now, I see things I missed seeing back then. Little choices of line and color that even if rushed, were rather inspired. Indeed, some of the rarest sketches that I spent more than my usual precious 30-45 minutes making, aren’t always better than the ones I leapt through quickly. There’s always something more than technique happening that makes a certain bit of art special. Sometimes, it’s just a feeling that’s hard to describe. Yet, I’ve learned that, more often than not, we do need to be gentle with ourselves when creating things, and whenever possible take a soulful moment to extend an olive branch.

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Olive Branch Colorful Watercolor Painting Botanical Illustration Sketchbook Detail


Recommended6 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Pat Boglio 2 years ago

    so nice, Charlie///the variety of colors are great

  2. Karen Fortier 2 years ago

    Wonderful Charlie and a symbol of peace is much needed now. I seriously don’t want to leave my little piece of the world right now. People seem to be supportive and hopeful here. We try to support the local businesses as best we can as we have a special area here and are a bit isolated from the chaos that seems to be getting worst. I agree that continuing to focus on art helps. Stay safe!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Karen! 😃💕 Yes, our own little world seems the safest these days. Stay safe as well my friend!

  3. Sandra Strait 2 years ago

    Ray Bradbury used to say that the whole point of learning technique was so that when the time came, you could step back and let your muse use them. It certainly feels sometimes like my muse is doing that. Then, at other times, she do not want to play!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      hehe! I agree! Some days, that muse just jumps in like a pro and others… like a petulant child! lol 😉

  4. smzang 2 years ago

    “There’s always something more than technique happening that makes a certain bit of art special. ” Charlie, I highlight these tasty morsels of wisdom because I think they are so important. That statement holds true for anything creative. Studying technique is great but the magic has to come from somewhere!

    and those olives would taste so good in my salad!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks, so much, Sarah! 😃💕I truly believe that art of any kind becomes awesome for reasons well beyond technique. There’s something visceral there. And that’s why it’s fun to create to see what might manage to happen each day!

  5. Zertab Quaderi 2 years ago

    Love the colors and the sheen on the fruits and leaves!

  6. Gary Middleton 2 years ago

    Great painting Charlie. Wouldn’t it be great to see all different colours of fruit on the same tree.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Gary! 😃💕 yes! I think seeing a multi-colored fruit tree would be awesome!

  7. Sharon Nolfi 2 years ago

    Nice range of colors!

  8. Lisa 2 years ago

    Greenest toward the tip, darkest toward the trunk. one of my friends had an ornamental Russian olive in her back yard. Nothing wrong with it in general, it just smelled so bad I couldn’t stand being around it in the spring. A friend and her two daughters were here today. We walked down the trail and the girl’s curiosity was so cool to watch.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Oh wow! I’m not sure I’ve been near a smelly Russian olive tree, but now I’m curious! So wonderful you ventured down the trail with friends and daughters! Lovely! 😃💕

  9. Susan Masters 2 years ago

    Fantastic colours beautifully shiny!

  10. Gloria Meyers 2 years ago

    Love the colors! Beautiful piece.

  11. Wow, hybrid olives! Lovely!

  12. Mary Roff 2 years ago

    Wonderful olives, Charlie!

  13. LoriCtoo 2 years ago

    The coloring on this is so beautiful. I’ve been sketching/painting on sketching paper. It is a challenge because it is not very forgiving if wetted too much. However, I noticed when I went back to watercolor paper, I was able to get better results easier than before. I also like using my big sketchbook because I feel like a kid with a big ol’ coloring book, no fears!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Lori! 😃💕hehe! Yay to feeling like a kid with a big old coloring book! As you know… that’s me every single day! lol

  14. Laura Hale 2 years ago

    Once again, beautiful art and words. Gentleness and magic seem to enjoy each other’s company. Thank you for reminding us Charlie!

  15. Danai Mongkolrat 2 years ago

    Fantastic painting!!

  16. Fatima Chamkha 2 years ago

    Lovely shiny olive branch with different colors!

  17. Lisa Ann Ulibarri 2 years ago

    Oh fabulous! 🙂

  18. Linda Calverley 2 years ago

    Lovely. I didn’t used to like eating olives but I love them now.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Linda! 😃💕 Yeah, I didn’t like olives when I was younger, but now… love ’em!

  19. Priscilla DeConti 2 years ago

    Love it!!All the pretty colors you included…and I feel a kindred spirit here even though some of my sketches/paintings are not very good..I know if I keep at it one day at a time things will get better and so will this time!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Priscilla! 😃💕 What we make is always beautiful and awesome. As we grow and learn, it just gets a little better each day. That’s why it’s all so much FUN!!!

  20. goodfruit 2 years ago

    Simple, yet profound thoughts on going thru the process. I needed to hear that.

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