Playing With Marbles

Day 2 - Marbles Jar Watercolor - Doodlewash

For our prompt of marbles today, I think I was losing mine in that I sketched way too many of them. This often happens when I happily make a sketch, add a bit too many elements and realize I have to actually paint everything in it during my limited painting time. But it was fun attempting my typical mad dash painting session with a rather complex image. Equally fun was grabbing for all 12 colors in my current daily palette (listed at the end of the full post) and giving a little stage time to colors that I haven’t used much most recently. I have other colors that make cameo appearances, of course, like Viridian which is the totally required if you’re ever painting a mallard duck, but this is my staple palette. It’s actually well suited for marbles or even a candy dish, as I love bright and happy colors. The cool thing about these colors is that if you need earth tones, they’re still there in the mix. And I adore mixing colors and constantly amazed at what colors appear. The subtleties of watercolor are incredible. No matter how many times I mix the same paints, there are still those times when I’m astonished by the color that’s created. And that’s just one of the many things that keep me coming back each and every day.

As for marbles, I did collect them as a kid, but I never played the game for which they were meant to be used. I just thought they were pretty and sparkly, so having a little jar of them felt wonderful and almost magical. When it comes to mixing colors, I still use marbles to do so to this day. If you missed it, you can see my marble mixing palette in this post, as well as this one! Sure, it’s the inner child in me that chooses marbles over swatches, but it’s also more like the way I paint. As many of you know, I have a few attention deficit issues that making waiting for paint to dry rather painful. When I first started painting with watercolor, I made a feverish attempt to do so “correctly” and wait for each layer to dry properly. This is certainly something I support and recommend for watercolor painters, but it’s not been something that I myself can adhere to on a regular basis. In many ways, watercolor is like marbles for me. I’m fascinated and inspired, but I never quite use them by design. I learned some of the rules of the game, but then started playing with them like I might with marbles as a kid.

The result was super fun! I could make a little doodlewash in a fraction of the time, but I knew it lacked much of the finesse that my instructors had taught me. But, my instructors are awesome and totally correct in their approach, and this is why I happily promote them! My own approach is a strange cobbling together of various techniques that works with my terribly short attention span. In my head, I’m imagining the image my masters have taught me to create, but in reality, I’m just hoping I can make a little something before time runs out. Not necessarily the time I have left in a single day, but knowing that I don’t have the ability to revisit a topic more than a single day in a row. Once I start sketching and painting, it needs to finish in the little bit of time I’ve set aside and simply must happen in that single day. I’ve no idea if you, dear reader, are like me, but if so, don’t fret. There’s a lot that can be accomplished in a single moment of time. And creating anything at all is something worthy of celebration! If you also lack the attention span for paintings that take a week or more to complete, just make a little something each day and enjoy the moment. It’s a wonderful feeling to make some stuff appear that didn’t exist before. A feeling that brings back all of that magic of childhood and playing with marbles.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Nickel Azo Yellow, Benzimida Orange, Quinacridone Red, Opus (Vivid Pink), Cobalt Turquoise, Cobalt Blue, Terra Cotta, Leaf Green, Indigo, Vermillion, and Aureolin. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia 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 2 - Marbles Jar Watercolor - Sketchbook Detail - Doodlewash

Recommended6 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Mireya 4 years ago

    yes my childhood

  2. Sandra Strait 4 years ago

    You may rush in the daily painting, but you’ve honed the techniques and chosen your palette well so that you can do exactly that and create something amazing! And I also suspect that during those few moments that you do anything, you give it your full and absolute attention.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      You just made my heart smile, Sandra! 😃💕 Thank you so much! And you’re right, I’m totally crazy with focus during the little stints that my brain allows me! hehe… somehow… this manages to produce a few results, thankfully! 😊

  3. LoriCtoo 4 years ago

    This post made me smile and giggle.You just described me. Hello, my name is Lori, a self diagnosed A.D.D. artist. No patience for drying paint or anything else that takes time. I lose interest in things that take too much time. I am constantly coming up with shortcuts to do things. I never thought there was a reason. Hahaha! I sketched my marbles and about lost them doing so. I couldn’t get them to look dimensional and called them good enough!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Yay for good enough! lol I love that, Lori! 😃💕Well, I have to love that as you just stated the motto of 100% of my posts! lol I figure if we just show up and make, we might just makes some smiles happen in the process. That, to me at least, is something rather amazing!

  4. Lisa 4 years ago

    My problem is that I get bored. That is why teaching me to sew, or knit was damn near impossible. In home ec class, we’d just be pinning the pattern pieces to the cloth, and I’d want to try on the completed outfit. Because I was BORED with pinning and cutting. It’s funny, I like to weed the garden because it is mindless, so I can pull weeds and be thinking of other stuff, but, filling a month worth of pill cases about kills me with boredom because you have to pay attention so as to not make a mistake. Watercolor is fun because it’s fast, it engages the brain, and there is fairly immediate gratification. Even the idea of oil painting makes me want to cry. So, I grok you!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      hehe! Yay, Lisa! 😃💕I feel the same! Too many rules and I’m instantly bored. I can’t seem to grok what to do next! lol But give me a few minutes and some colors and I’ll happily make a little thing. That’s what brings me the most joy in the end.

  5. Pat Hayes 4 years ago

    My problem with watercolor is waiting for things to dry, but using my hair dryer speeds that problem but only when I remember to use it. LOL! As a child, I loved my marbles and playing marbles with others. Isn’t it great when we remember our youth with fondness. Live your marbles by the way.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks so much, Pat! 😃💕hehe… yes, I’m totally living my life the marble way! And so true… I remember looking for hair dryers online and was upset they were all larger than my entire painting studio! lol So, I just did my own workaround of painting in circles hoping bits dried as I went. 😊

  6. Sharon Nolfi 4 years ago

    Amazing painting of the marbles and jar. It’s great to see what you can do with Da Vinci paints. They are my favorites right now – super quality, fair prices, great colors.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 And yay! Thrilled you’re enjoying Da Vinci Paints! I definitely think they are the most consistent and best priced artist paints on the market!

  7. Gerrie Carol Bell 4 years ago

    Like someone else mentioned— get yourself a craft heat tool that looks like a little hair dryer, and use it to dry paint quick. I’ve seen several other artists use one.

    As for A.D.D., I have it too. There is a phenomenon in this called hyperfocus— you focus on something you love so much that wild elephants could walk through the room and your concentration would not break. This happened to me when I interpreted for the deaf many years ago. I wonder if you ever do that— sort of get “lost” in what you’re doing???

    I love your style. Not just specific pieces. Your style.
    Gerrie Bell

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks, Gerrie! 😃💕 Saying you love my style is a gift as I’m still never sure if I have one! So, thank you! And I totally relate to that feeling of dismissing elephants walking into a room. My doodlewashes may be brief, but good luck getting my attention while they’re happening! lol Micro-focus is my thing at least!

  8. Mary Roff 4 years ago

    You paint glass beautifully and the marbles are wonderful. I still have a small collection of glass marbles that we’ve found when digging in the yard here. Love them!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks, Mary! 😃💕 And yay to that collection! That sounds amazing! I don’t know what it is about marbles, but they just seem so magical!

  9. Jodi 4 years ago

    Your marbles are so magically beautiful, Charlie! I see smiles in so many of them. Your personality shines through in your art! Happy New Year buddy! I am refreshed from a lovely break!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks so much, Jodi! 😃💕 Yay! You saw the smiles! I always add them to my animals so I figured my marbles should benefit from the same. hehe Hope you have a perfectly fabulous New Year my friend!!

  10. smzang 4 years ago

    Charlie says, “in reality, I’m just hoping I can make a little something before time runs out.”

    Marbles aside, those are the word of a true artist (no matter the venue).

    As for the marbles:

    What a grand assortment. You even have a shooter in there. It was quite a coup to win somebody’s shooter. When I was a kid, some of the mean boys used to sneak steelies (ball bearings) in. That way if they didn’t knock the opponent’s marble outside the circle so they could claim it for their own, they would chip it so it was no longer any good. The marble tournaments began in April and lasted until the end of May. The choicest win was the shooter followed by the prized cat eyes. I love the assortment you have created…each one is a memory.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks, Sarah! 😃💕 And I’m suitably impressed you actually played the game of marbles! That’s awesome! I never did… I didn’t know about shooters and other things until I was an adult and could google it. 😊 Sounds like totally fun memories!

      • smzang 4 years ago


        Somehow I always ended up with a bag full of chipped marbles. My mother made my two sisters and me each a drawstring bag with our initials on it. Every Christmas we got a new bag of marbles in a net bag. We would trade with each other and friends to get ‘the best collection ever’. At the end of the year, my oldest sister had a bag full of perfect marbles. I never understood it.

        • Author
          Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

          That’s funny… now that I think about it, I ended up with more chipped ones than others. Guess we really didn’t know how to play that game! hehe

  11. Definitely Sensitive 4 years ago

    I love your drawing! So colourful and magical. I used to have marbles when I was a kid. We used to play with them in school. Good memories ♡

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks so much! 😃💕 And yay! I’m thrilled this brought back great childhood memories!

  12. alice hendon 4 years ago

    I had quite a collection of marbles, too, but I did use mine to play the game. I wasn’t very good at it but I loved it. I wonder what ever happened to all of them. lost along the way but the memory remains. thank you for bringing it back out for me.
    also I wanted to let you know – I ordered your book on Amazon. it should be here Monday. can’t wait! looking forward to curling up in my recliner and enjoying

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Oh wow! Thanks so much, Alice!! 😃💕 I really appreciate it! Hope you enjoy the book… let me know what you think! And cool that you had a collection of marbles and well, actually played the game. I never learned! lol Maybe I should add that to my list of things to DO next! 😉

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