Painting With Dandelions

Doodlewash - Day 3 - Painting WIth Dandelions - #WorldWatercolorGroup

When I was a kid, I fascinated by flowers, but most of the time I was told that I could look, but should never touch them. Dandelions, to me, were a lovely little flower, and appeared everywhere, like little gold treasures in a sea of green grass. For reasons I didn’t understand at the time, they were considered a nuisance and something that you could not only touch, but were actually encouraged to pluck out of the ground. I thought it was great fun, but later understood I was simply being tricked into helping my parents weed the lawn. I didn’t mind, as it was such a joy! The coolest part about dandelions was that they were not only themselves a brilliant yellow, but if you rubbed one on anything at all, that surface also became a brilliant yellow. I remember sitting in the driveway with a dandelion and painting various shapes using the little flower. Looking back, I guess you could say they were my very first paint brush. You can actually dip them in paint to create lovely patterns, but the idea that they came with their own color was always the fascination for me. My little hands were soon dyed a deep yellow when I was done, making it look as though I was suffering from liver issues, but I was having too much fun to worry about that at the time.

Actually, as a totally random side note, I was actually born jaundice and spent my very early days in an incubator. The result of an immature liver that’s a side of effect of a baby far too eager to enter this world. Of course, I have no memory of those days, but my mother is always quick to share the story. Much of what I remember from my childhood is actually a mix of real memories and the stories that my family has shared about me over the years. The facts are likely muddled a bit in the process, but like all good stories, the truth still manages to shine through somehow. The thought of using dandelions to spread color, however, is very vivid. I can still remember it, even if the exact time and circumstances are a bit cloudy. For that, I blame the act of painting in general. As I’ve now learned, it’s an incredible experience where time simply slips away and reality slides to the far corners of my mind. I often forget what the thing is that I’m even painting, choosing instead to focus on the feelings that the thing brings back to me.

As a very little child, I didn’t have memories to draw on. I only had the overwhelming sense of all the new things waiting to be discovered. An electric energy that buzzed through me, clinging for understanding of all the wild and wonderful things that life was presenting to me. This is why I like to conjure that feeling when I sit down to sketch something. To focus not on the actual thing itself as much as the feeling that it brings back to me. This, for me at least, is what it means to paint like a kid again. Going back to a time when only feelings guided us. That time when feelings were all we had to make sense of the world. I’d jump in with a recklessness that was at once energetic and other times nearly crazed. I never once stopped to wonder if what I made was correct. I already knew that it was. This is today, the way I approach each and every watercolor sketch I make. Sure, the adult in me hopes in the end, that you can actually recognize what I intended to illustrate, but mostly, even to this day, I’m still just painting with dandelions.

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 Doodlewash - Day 3 - Painting WIth Dandelions - #WorldWatercolorGroup

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!

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26 Comments
  1. Catnip Blog 4 months ago

    Charlie, Your writing is as wonderful as your art. I admire how you are always able to come up with three paragraphs that create a full circle.
    xxxx j

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thank you so much! 😃💕 I’m so happy you enjoy these posts… actually they’re often harder than the watercolor. They begin with pure writer’s block, start in with crazy rambling, and a hope that it all somehow connects in the end. 😊hehe

  2. Sandra Strait 4 months ago

    Your dandelions are just dandy (I had to say that before someone else did, lol). I love the way you can take childhood memories and make them relevant to present-day living.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Hehe! Yay to dandy dandelions! Glad you liked these and so happy you enjoyed the post. Thanks, Sandra! 😃💕

  3. John Hofman 4 months ago

    Well presented layout and colour choices!

  4. Lisa 4 months ago

    A cool thing about dandelions is that you can split the stem and string a chain of them together to make crowns and necklaces! And if you sneak up on someone and manage to run one on their nose, hilarity ensues. I do remember being “hired” to pick buckets of them to turn into dandelion wine. Ah, memories!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Hehe! Yeah, we were totally being conned, but who cares… dandelions are way too much fun! And yes, the nose rubbing was also a highlight! LOL 😃💕

  5. Such a beautiful post and a wonderful imagine. May you always continue painting with dandelions, Charlie.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Aww thanks so much, Michael! What a wonderful comment! I really appreciate that! 😃💕

  6. smzang 4 months ago

    ” an incredible experience where time simply slips away and reality slides to the far corners of my mind. I often forget what the thing is that I’m even painting, choosing instead to focus on the feelings that the thing brings back to me.”

    That is what you do for your readers too. I have come to absolutely love your paintings of glass. The painting reminds me that life is like glass and dandelions…so very beautiful and yet fragile. Both must be handled with love and care. This one is a favorite…well, each and every one is a favorite, but this one is high up on the top shelf.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Oh, thanks so much, Sarah! 😃💕 I’m so thrilled you liked this one! I think I love painting glass with flowers for the reasons you so eloquently described. So true!

  7. Rod Fletcher 4 months ago

    Beautiful. Placing them in a glass container is a wonderfully different take ….. and plays to your strengths.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks, Rod! Glad you liked this! 😃💕 Yep… I’m very uncertain when it comes to flowers, so any chance to add a bit of glass and I’m in! hehe

  8. Mary Roff 4 months ago

    Wonderful dandelions and your stories are always a treat to read.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕 And so happy you enjoy my stories!

  9. Becky Winters 4 months ago

    Love this flower! Not a weed to me…nice job…lovely!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks, Becky! 😃💕 I agree! Not a weed at all… love dandelions!

  10. Nancy Jackson 4 months ago

    Funny, I did a dandelions pen and ink for small easter gift. Did several different paintings. I love how you had them in a mason jar! Lovely! I would have a lawn of just dandelions if allowed.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks, Nancy! 😃💕 What? A yard full of dandelions isn’t allowed? hehe…. it totally should be!!

  11. itsmyhusbandandme 4 months ago

    The jar is terrific! Dandelions remind me of feeding my pet rabbit as a kid – they love them like sweets (candy).
    JP

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks so much! 😃💕 Ohhh… you had a pet rabbit? I have to admit I’m jealous now! hehe… so fun!

  12. Frances Gill Turano 3 months ago

    Charlie, easy to see that your love of yellow “stems” from a young and deep place! I loved today’s story as it was filled with joy, more of the beautiful sunflower yellow you created for me with your new totes. Such an uplifting post. I find myself looking forward to my hearty morning coffee and a side Charlie-isms. Always such a treat to check out DW. (and MUCHO thanks again for the world’s BESTEST sunflower tote! You made 2 sisters extremely happy). Happy day, Charlie.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Aww you’re so sweet, Frances!! Thank you so much!! 😃💕 I truly appreciate your encouragement and wonderful comments. It makes me happy to know that my little illustrations and rambles are creating some joy in the world!

  13. Miss Gentileschi 3 months ago

    Extremely beautiful! Dandelions are one of my favorites, I never knew you could also paint with them though – will try it next time I see them! 😉 <3

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks, Sarah! 😃💕 Yes… you can paint with them… apparently with actual paint as well! hehe… I adore them. They can’t possibly be weeds!

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