One Little Pine Cone

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Day 20 - A Pine Cone - Doodlewash

Today’s prompt came to mind when I was making the list, because I’ve never really attempted to truly look closely at a pine cone and paint one. During the holidays this past year, I snuck a loosely sketched one into a wreath, but haven’t really tried painting one on its own before. They are devilishly complex and so I just avoided them whenever possible. This is, of course, exactly the opposite of what I encourage other artists to do, so I figured I would set things right and just go for it already! So we have a single little pine cone for today’s illustration and it turns out it wasn’t as tough as I thought. Proof that my inner voice is often just a crazy person mumbling warnings that should most often be completely ignored. There are lots of pine cones on a tree outside my window now, but there was an ice storm today, so we’re hiding indoors at the moment. What looks like snow is actually little bits of of glistening ice and it’s rather beautiful on the grass, but it’s making the roads a bit treacherous.

I think that the groundhog who declared six more weeks of winter was probably correct after all. The temperatures are staying pretty darn low around these parts, and though spring doesn’t officially begin for another month, I’m ready for its arrival. I always feel like the arrival of warm weather gives me some unspoken license to change things up and try new things. This is perfectly silly in many ways as I can certainly do that any time I like, but for some reason it just feels different for me when spring arrives. When I think back to when I was a kid, though, I didn’t seem to have this seasonal affliction. If I wanted to try something new or reinvent myself a bit, I just went for it, no matter the time of year. When faced with an ice storm back then, I spent a week without power next to a kerosene lamp writing little two-minute mysteries. These were simply the front and the back of a piece of notebook paper, and I ended up with a stack of them that week, though I’m not sure if my mom still has them, and I keep forgetting to ask when I’m there.

That kid didn’t pause once to consider if he could or couldn’t do something. He always just jumped in with gleeful abandon and a strangely obsessive nature. While I have all of those bits still in my personality, adult life sometimes feels like it’s dragging me along with it. All the little things that kid didn’t have to worry about are now things I have to juggle while I sneak time for my creative hobby. But mainly, it’s the self-doubt that creeps in telling me that something is too difficult to do and I should make a different choice. Many times, I do so, opting for a simpler path, but I always feel like something was left behind with that choice. Pushing myself to paint something each and every day is a wonderful first step. But the second step now, is to push myself out of my comfort zone and try new things. It’s not even anything particularly major, just listening to the less crazy voice in my head, the one that simply whispers, “DO.” That’s the voice that tells me nothing is ever too complex, and sometimes the greatest of adventures can begin with one little pine cone.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Terra Cotta, and Cobalt Blue.  Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book.
 #WorldWatercolorGroup - Day 20 - A Pine Cone - Doodlewash
Recommended7 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!

42 Comments
  1. Tea and Tales1 10 months ago

    All of your artwork is beautiful! I should have told you that before. It really makes me smile!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 10 months ago

      Aww thanks so much for letting me know! That made my day! 😃💕

  2. Sandra Strait 10 months ago

    Whoever said ‘Youth is wasted on the young,” wasn’t quite right. It’s terrible to see someone old before their time, but I wouldn’t mind if they shared that youth with us once in a while. I’ll have to get a pine cone now and keep it around to remind me of today’s ramble and remember that even if I’m old, I don’t have to act like it.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 10 months ago

      Yes to that, Sandra! 😃💕I’m no perfectly convinced that age is only a state of mind. Sure, our bodies might do things to betray us, but our hearts and minds always no better.

  3. Mary Roff 10 months ago

    Really nice pinecone!!

  4. gpeppers 10 months ago

    Thanks for sharing a little of your past with us, loved the story of writing by the kerosene lamp. Your pine cone is amazing, lots of detail.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 10 months ago

      Thanks so much! 😃💕 So happy you enjoyed this. Yeah, those days of writing to a kerosene lamp are among my favorite memories.

  5. glacken2016 10 months ago

    Great pinecone Charlie!

  6. Shar Kennett 10 months ago

    Love the layering of the scales…so hard to do.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 10 months ago

      Thanks, Shar! 😃💕 I’m pretty sure my eyes totally crossed at one point making this and I forgot what was what, but it was so fun to DO!

  7. Susan Cuss 10 months ago

    Great pinecone! I’ve had my nasty inner critic telling me things were too difficult to attempt, too. Often, when I take up the challenge, I find they’re not impossible, but if I take my time and work it out slowly, step-by-step, it’s not too difficult at all!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 10 months ago

      Exactly! 😃💕 That inner critic is such a bore! lol Listen to the other voice… the one that sounds slightly crazy… she’s a blast and totally someone I’d rather hang out with! 😉

  8. jansiking 10 months ago

    Another great story and sketch, Charlie:)))). It’s so nice of you to share your memories and creative talent with your viewers. It’s very inspiring!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 10 months ago

      That’s so sweet of you! Thanks, Jansi! 😃💕 So happy you enjoyed this one!

  9. Julia Proulx 10 months ago

    I agree, your pinecone is wonderful. Thanks also for your lists of prompts, they certainly encourage me to try new things that are well out of my comfort zone. I would never have done a pinecone without prompting, and am very pleased that I did it too.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 10 months ago

      Yay! I’m so thrilled to hear that, Julia! 😃💕 Yeah, I find the prompts to be really helpful in pushing myself to do things I might not otherwise try!

  10. smzang 10 months ago

    The pinecone looks as if it has just fallen from the tree.
    The article is inspirational and uplifting. One major
    point of difference…we went from snow on Sunday (about an inch)
    to 78 degrees today.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 10 months ago

      Okay… now I simply must ask that you send that weather here immediately!! 😃💕 YAY! I can’t wait until it’s back here! hehe… and thanks! So happy you enjoyed this post!

      • smzang 10 months ago

        Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter. I have great respect for that little prognosticating varmint so I’m expecting winter to return. So far Spring is winning. Yes!!

        • Author
          Charlie O'Shields 10 months ago

          haha!… here the little varmint was perfectly accurate…. no real spring to speak of!

  11. Lisa 10 months ago

    I painted my first pinecone a while back and it was wicked hard. Yours looks great! And a bit of spring fever might give you permission to buy some new art tool to make yourself feel better! Just saying! Lol

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 10 months ago

      Thanks, Lisa! 😃💕 Yeah… this was wicked hard, but fun to do! And any permission to buy new art tools and I’m IN!! lol

  12. Sharon Nolfi 10 months ago

    What a great kid you were – full of life and curiosity. Oh wait, you’re still like that! Wonderful painting of the complex, but naturally ordered, pine cone.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 10 months ago

      haha! Yep… totally still like that. So happy you enjoyed this one, Sharon! 😃💕

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 10 months ago

      Nicely done, Norelys! 😃💕 Yeah, I love these three colors… the real feature for me is Da Vinci Terra Cotta… it’s brown, sort of, but really a light red so you can do so much with it!

  13. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 10 months ago

    Wow, Charlie, you really took on a challenging and difficult subject – and you aced it! This is a fabulous pine cone. I really enjoyed reading your blurb as well – I always do.

    We’re having very cool weather here in Southern California. Crispy critters out doors and heat on indoors, but still no rain to speak of.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 10 months ago

      Thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 This one was so intimidating to me! hehe… I liked how it turned out though, and I’m glad you did too! And the weather seems perfectly crazy lately… I’m ready for just regular warmth and sun!

  14. Hi Charlie – you did very well with capturing the complexity of the pine cone. Great job 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 10 months ago

      Thanks so much, Violeta! 😃💕 This was fun to make, but yeah… there’s so much complexity there I never even realized before!

  15. Rod Fletcher 10 months ago

    Nice story Charlie. I think I meld the old man and the kid reasonably well, My doubts can freeze me up for days at a time, but when I start I am the kid, single-minded, and have to be reminded to eat etc.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 10 months ago

      Thanks, Rod! 😃💕 I think that sounds like the perfect approach… it’s tough some days to get that get to lead the way, but it’s always more rewarding in the end.

  16. SnehLata Maheshwari 10 months ago

    Yes .u r perfect in doing any art n beautiful
    Shades i love every art of u. I am speach less charlCh.

  17. SnehLata Maheshwari 10 months ago

    Charlie

  18. memadtwo 10 months ago

    That pine cone is definitely dancing…(K)

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 10 months ago

      hehe… yes!! That’s the best compliment ever! Thanks so much, Kerfe! 😃💕

  19. Kim Craige 10 months ago

    Today I embrace the word, “DO” after reading your blog post. It so wonderfully coincides with my mood today, and of course I enjoy your pine cone 🙂 Thanks, Charlie. This is my home page, and a wonderful one to wake up to!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 10 months ago

      That made my heart smile!! 😃💕 Thanks, Kim! Yes to “DO!” It’s the motto that’s gotten me through my whole life and I’ve never been disappointed.

  20. […] I like to have a lot of lines and definition, but this one is almost entirely done in watercolor. I mentioned in yesterday’s post about pushing out of one’s comfort zone and that’s certainly what I did today. The […]

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