One Little Light

Day 15 - Christmas Lantern With Candle Watercolor - Doodlewash

Philippe and I were shopping recently and saw a red lantern that we almost purchased, but decided we didn’t have anywhere to put it. We don’t decorate for all of the seasons, but we go a little nuts each Christmas, always adding a little something more to the décor each year. I really wanted the lantern and told myself it was only one little light, after all. But, it’s true, we don’t have enough room for the decorations we’ve already acquired and have to make tough choices each year as to what gets displayed. Even so, my inner child was once again screaming with delight and it was still on my mind. Though the lights on the tree are certainly dazzling, the warm light of candles always makes my heart happy. I have to marvel at the effect that one little spec of light can create. Just a single lit candle can fill a room with so much love and possibility. Though we have some real tapered candles and votives, many of our candles are now controlled by a remote. Even still, a flickering speck of light always creates a perfectly wonderful mood.

Actually, we really adore our remote controlled candles, which are Luminara. They flicker like the real thing and create a beautiful glow. We bought a set for my mother a couple of years ago and when we visited her recently, we saw she had purchased several more. In fact, she now has far more than we do, which I was just a touch jealous about, but thrilled she enjoyed them so much. And I was once more struck by just how something so small can make life more wonderful. This is how I feel each and every day when I sit down to sketch and paint a little something for these posts. My doodlewashes are not grand paintings and they are always done very quickly. I enjoy that speck of a moment each day. I realized early on that I don’t have the patience to spend days on a single painting. This initially bothered me, and I was distraught thinking that I would never be a true artist. But, instead of worrying too much about it, I just used my flaw to define my style. My mad dash doodlewashes created a look that was definitely me, in 45 minutes or less.

I fully realize that I don’t follow the expected patterns as an artist blogger as well. From the beginning, I’ve talked about life instead of technique, and chose to inspire rather than teach, by simply showing up each day. Thankfully, I’m joined by fabulous friends who write wonderful reviews and tutorials and I can passionately promote all of the art teachers who have inspired me along the way! One of the things I’ve learned on this art journey is that you have to trust your own flame. No matter what you see others doing, if you yourself don’t feel a passion for that, you should follow your heart instead. Sure, once again, this is my inner child talking, but it’s something I truly believe. I’ve never been one of the cool kids, but I’m always honest and true to myself. And, as it turns out, this is a quality we all admire in each other. Each of us provide a unique and beautiful glow in this world. My holiday wish is that each of us will take just a moment, by that glow of a candle, and celebrate those unique traits that make us who we truly are. In this busy and overcrowded world, it can seem daunting to ever be noticed as an artist. But, I’ve learned that if you just keep showing up, you can be that candle to provide a bit of happiness and joy. We don’t have to be the most famous artist in the world. Sometimes, a world of hope can come from just one little light.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Quinacridone Red, Vermilion, Aureolin, 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 15 - Christmas Lantern With Candle Watercolor Sketchbook Detail - Doodlewash

Recommended4 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 4 years ago

    The best teaching is modeling, which you do very well, Charlie. I love real candles and at Chanukah, we light many menorahs, everyone getting his own. We also light one extra for those who are unable to light one for themselves. I watch them carefully as a toppled candle can become a big problem. Candles of all sorts set a romantic mood, and even the tiniest flame dispels the dark. True in real life, true in metaphor. Your bright red lantern is so very pretty – and you did get one after all – set down in your painting book.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕So true, I can always get what I want when I choose to sketch it! And yes to even the tiniest flame dispelling darkness… so true and so beautiful!

  2. Mireya 4 years ago

    Wow I love this red. I need a good red . Da Vinci is that expensive but wait these are big tubes right?

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks so much, Mireya! 😃💕 Da Vinci is one of the most affordable artist grade paints you can find. Regular paints there are 15ml and 37ml, but the trio sets are only 8ml and a great deal! This red is a blend of Quinacridone Red and Vermillion. I still haven’t found a single red I like on its own. 😉

      • Mireya 4 years ago


  3. jkpringle21 4 years ago

    A very touching story right from your heart. It’s because of your life experiences past an present that give meaning to your drawings. Certain stories an drawings at times takes me back to different events in my life, an I’m sure others in different ways. I read your story twice an most likely will read it many times again. You an Philippe bring enjoyment each day with your recount of real life events an I enjoy them all. Most of all your last paragraph made me feel sad but in a good way. I have to remember to Be Authentic to oneself, Love who I am, not what others expect me to be. Do what I enjoy and if others don’t understand me, that’s their problem. An as for my art, I’m drawing/painting outside of my comfort zone an find it
    thrilling an frustrating at times. But with more patience an less perfectionism I’ll eventually get there. In the mean time, I’m certainly enjoying the trip. Thank you for this Little Red Light which is very colourful, cheerful, bright. powerful, an brings happiness, an this is the way I look at my colours on my palette. Thank you Charlie, an may yours an Philippe Christmas be awesome an fully of fun, laughter, love, an spent with family an good friends over the holidays. Maybe Santa will bring you your little red lamp, if he hasn’t already.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      What a fantastically beautiful comment to receive! Thank you SO much! 😃💕 I’m so happy you enjoy my illustrations and stories! Art can be a rather difficult thing indeed, made more so when we worry more about pleasing others. We each have such a beautiful light within us and it just takes realizing that this unique light is what people really want to see most! And, I have to admit, I’m super happy and smiling that my post connected with you! Not sure if you’re seen it yet, but I recently publishing a book of my illustrations and writing – check it out if you get a chance! –

      • jkpringle21 4 years ago

        thank you, I certainly will check it out, an who knows I might be able to obtain it in Canada. Sure it will make a great addition to my art book collection. Take care

        • Author
          Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

          It’s definitely available via Amazon Canada! hehe… If you do get it, let me know what you think! 😃

      • jkpringle21 4 years ago

        A quick up date, ordered your book just now through an should be here within the week. Yeah

        • Author
          Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

          hehe… and I’m going through comments in order and just replied to the other one! Yay! Thanks SO much!! Hope you enjoy it! 😃💕

  4. Lisa 4 years ago

    I’m pretty sure I haven’t mentioned it here, but I entered a painting in a local juried art show, and I got in! I’m very pleased with myself because I waited until the last minute to do the painting and because I was so sure I wasn’t going to be picked that I almost didn’t do it at all. Went to get it framed on Tuesday and when I was told the price, I sucked wind, but it is worth it to see my picture on a gallery wall.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      That’s so awesome!! Congrats, Lisa! 😃💕Nothing better than seeing all of your hard work pay off!

  5. Sandra Strait 4 years ago

    I love both the light from your candle painting and from your essay today. I intend to take a moment myself and I hope everyone else does as well. Thank you, Charlie!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks, Sandra! 😃💕Taking that moment for ourselves is indeed an important part of this crazy art journey!

  6. smzang 4 years ago

    Charlie says, “I have to marvel at the effect that one little spec of light can create.”

    We sang “One Little Candle” at our graduation services. Your comment reminds me
    of that day. Thank you!! I might add, I reflect on just that phenomenon each time
    I read your posts or view your paintings.
    I think you are one of the coolest kids I’ve ever known. The lantern that you painted shows me that I don’t need to feel sad because you didn’t get to take that lantern home.
    In fact, you did take it home, in your heart. That is the most wonderful place to store
    things. They are always with you, and you never have to dust them.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      That’s such a beautiful image you painted with those words, Sarah! 😃💕Love it!! I did get to take that memory home after all. It’s amazing what the heart can do for us!

  7. Kathy Delumpa Allegri 4 years ago

    Charlie, I admire the person who “shows up.” You provide inspiration through your personal stories and musings. Thank you for allowing us to borrow a little of your light. Thank you for being the lighthouse!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      You just made me blush! Thanks, Kathy! 😃💕 What a sweet thing to say! I’m thrilled to show up each day and more thrilled to be in the company of so many wonderful artists!

  8. Sharon Nolfi 4 years ago

    Beautiful painting and words. I really enjoyed this post.

  9. LoriCtoo 4 years ago

    I have also admired those lanterns at the store, but I also don’t have a place to display. Each year I have to choose which Christmas decor comes out too. This year I’ve seemed to have added to it all and fear where I will store it. My house is like the little boy on Christmas Story who is dressed to go outside…..”I can’t put my arms down.” I won’t stop crafting it however. It brings me joy. You could always put one of your candles behind your sketch to make it glow too. 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      hehe!! Merry Holiday Excess!! LOL 😃💕 I say embrace it with all your heart! It’s the best feeling we can experience! No reason to stop now! hehe

  10. Carol Bell 4 years ago

    I love what you said about showing up and about being who you are. Who you are is what makes you special and unique and beloved. And your style of art just oozes life and whimsy and love.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks so much, Carol! 😃💕 Hug hug and love to you my friend. What a wonderful comment! I truly believe that the best thing we can DO in life is show up as our best selves and share that joy!

  11. Frances Turano 4 years ago

    Oh Charlie, how I wanted that red lantern too, but space is an issue in a condo. And I value, appreciate and learn from your “quick drawings.” As I’m still creating and painting more Christmas cards, each mini painting on it gets quicker and frankly, nicer! And I painted a “pre-painting” of each new style, on student paper, with student half pans, and they were scads better than my final result! My husband says it because I fret over each dot and dash on a Christmas tree, and he’s right. So those stunning samples get cut with fancy scissors, pasted classily on 140#, and in the mail box!

    And I have always enjoyed your daily paintings and posts. I learn so much from every artist, every where, especially on DW. And after a year and a half, all of you have made me a much better watercolorist too. I had several painting requests from friends this year, and a few Etsy suggestions for sales. I don’t want to sell; I want to paint.

    Anyway, I’m blathering so. It’s that kind of rushing day when we all realize time is getting away from us. Keep painting, Charlie, as it’s like my glass of OJ in the morning. I’ve learned about glass from you. I’m still terrible, but you taught me much. And if I feel this way, consider all who subscribe to DW. This site, and your daily thoughtful contributions are gifts to all.

    Sorry you didn’t buy the lantern, but now you buy a vanilla candle!

    Fanna Turano
    Denver, CO

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      You just made my heart smile, Fanna, as you’re often prone to DO! 😃💕 Thank you SO much my friend for your encouragement. It’s tough to show up each and every day, but knowing that there are people out there who enjoy what I write and sketch makes the experience magical! And yay to you! Keep right on painting and don’t fret over every little dot and dash… hehe… your heart knows exactly where each line and brush stroke should go! ❤️

  12. Mary Roff 4 years ago

    Wonderful post and painting. Not sure I would have had enough self control to leave that beauty in the store. Thanks for your inspiration and the words of wisdom!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕 hehe… my “self control” comes in the form of Philippe. Without him, I would be buried under a pile of Christmas not even able to view the glittering lights properly. 😊

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