Pocket Watch Memories

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Day 13 - Pocket Watch Memories - Doodlewash

Throughout my life, I’ve always been drawn to all things shiny, our prompt for today. There was a time when I was young that I had a brief obsession with pocket watches. Any time we’d go to the local antique store, I’d find the cabinet where the seller had a little collection of them. They were too expensive so I didn’t end up with one and usually just got a gumball from the machine by the front door as my prize for the trip. It would actually be years before I finally got my hands on one, and it was, at the time one of my most coveted objects. I’m still not entirely sure why I was so fascinated with these. I think the hidden nature was the real draw. I would carry it around, hidden in my pocket, and open it from time to time just to peer inside. For some reason it felt magical, hanging from its little chain. Over the years, I’ve lost track of it, but I think it’s still lying at the bottom of a box somewhere waiting to be rediscovered one day.

I always had a bit of a habit of collecting little objects of interest like this. Things I’m drawn to for their aesthetic value more than their use, if they even have a use at all. As a kid I would have a box full of little random things that I protected like they were a pirate’s treasure. It was a perfectly unrelated assortment of figurines, shiny rocks, marbles, and anything else that caught my fancy in the moment. Some things were discarded over time to make room for new things. The little things that stayed in the box the longest became the true treasure. I think that’s always been the same for me in life, whether it’s an idea I can’t quite let go or a painting hobby that I can’t bear to miss each day. The longer something stays around, the more endearing it becomes. Moving to different houses and apartments over the years, I have some boxes that never got unpacked. They’re simply filled with the things I couldn’t bear to leave behind.

Even today, I look at little trinkets on the shelves around me along with books that I will probably never read again. They’re all there because I couldn’t let them not be there. For reasons I’m often at a loss to truly explain. Something in my heart couldn’t bear to part with them. Perhaps, it’s a reminder of a very specific wonderful moment, or simply a feeling I get when I see it. A comforting reminder of a previous time in my life and the passions that got me to where I am today. The story of me, told through a ridiculous menagerie of objects that made me happy for a time. And when I see them now, they still make me smile. That silly light up rubber duck that I found in my stocking three years ago brings me back to a special moment filled with love. As the years continue to pass, often at an alarming speed, I’m so happy to have each little trinket in my life. Even after all this time, I’m still that little boy collecting bits of my world each and every day. Making new things and sometimes, if I’m rather lucky, new pocket watch memories.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Quinacridone Gold, Quinacridone Red, and Cobalt Blue.  Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book.
 #WorldWatercolorGroup - Day 13 - Pocket Watch Memories - Doodlewash
Recommended8 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!

33 Comments
  1. Laura (PA Pict) 8 months ago

    Once again, I am impressed with your ability to paint reflective surfaces and this one even contains an actual reflection. There is something about the warm glow that you have rendered that speaks to the warm glow of your happy memories of treasured trinkets too.

    I have a bit of a magpie eye too and am drawn to things that shine and sparkle. My sons have inherited this same gene and amass collections of shiny little objects, from bits of quartz to discarded washers and one of them even has a pocket watch.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 8 months ago

      Thanks so much, Laura! 😃💕 Aww I love hearing that!! See? I’m confident we would get along perfectly if we ever met! hehe Love that you’ve a family of magpie-eyed collectors!

  2. alethakuschan 8 months ago

    Your watercolor reminded me of a watch I had — which I still have — though it stopped working long ago. I had that box, too, as a kid. Sounds like the contents of our boxes were similar. So, I’m guessing your memories are shared by many people. It’s nice to revisit these bits of the past and the feeling of nostalgia through your painting and commentary.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 8 months ago

      Thanks so much! 😃💕 I’m so happy this brought back wonderful memories… and jealous of that timepiece! That’s so awesome you still have it, even if it’s stopped working now. It’s a treasure!

  3. Sharon Nolfi 8 months ago

    I love pocket watches! So elegant and reminders of a simpler time. The colors in your sketch are very beautiful!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 8 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 I do think the “simpler time” aspect is a huge draw for me as well. Love them!

  4. Sandra Strait 8 months ago

    Pocketwatches are magickal. I’m quite convinced that if you could open enough of them, eventually you’d find one that transported you to Hogwarts or some other such place. Or maybe, as you’ve said about the power of trinkets to evoke memory, it’s just that the right pocketwatch can take you beck to a happy memory. Fantastic painting, as always!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 8 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sandra! 😃💕 Yeah, I think the magic comes from the memories they evoke. Even memories you wish you had… that’s the beauty objects like these.

  5. Jennifer McLean 8 months ago

    I have a little bag just like your box. Some small things I’ve kept over the years that make me remember the years before. I try to keep it to the minimum, I don’t want to be any kind of a hoarder or keep unnecessary stuff but a little brocade bag lined in silk isn’t too much. :o) PS. I’ve always wanted one of those watches! Ohhh, shiny!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 8 months ago

      Thanks, Jennifer!! 😃💕 Glad you liked this. It would be great candidate for toned paper! Anything shiny is fun that way. And yeah, a little brocade bag means you’re not a hoarder, just a memory enthusiast! hehe

  6. Lisa 8 months ago

    I am charmed by your watch and story. I have been on a cleaning binge of last because i want to set up a studio. I am sending off loads of things, but every once in a while, I find something that gives me a certain feeling, and I cannot part with it this go round.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 8 months ago

      Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕 Yeah, those are the moments when that thing, whatever it is, simply must be kept! hehe… it always amazes me what demands to stay a memory!

  7. Rod Fletcher 8 months ago

    And there you have captured the meaning of life. It is the emotional response we get from a thing or situation that governs our behaviour. Hence why dieting is hard the emotional response from food wins over logic. Staying in ‘bad relationships’ favourite books. Freud may have had a point.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 8 months ago

      hehe… yeah, I think he might have indeed! 😃The emotional response rules all else, but is what makes life worth living in the end.

  8. Thomas Blanchard 8 months ago

    Lovely pocket watch. I have one from each of my grandfathers that I love. I think our trinkets of memories are the most treasured. I hope to never lose them.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 8 months ago

      Thanks so much, Tom! 😃💕 That’s wonderful that you have one from each of your grandfathers! What a precious memory to have!

  9. Ellen 8 months ago

    Your marvelous pocket watch transports me back to an earliest childhood memory. Sitting on my Grandfather’s lap as he pulled his pocket watch by it’s long chain from his vest pocket to check the time. As it opened you could see your face reflected on the inside of the cover. It was a fascinating shiny gold treasure that was his Father’s and his Father before him. It became his Son’s and his Son after him. Your delightful watercolor and wise words always bring great pleasure. Thank-you!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 8 months ago

      Thanks, Ellen! 😃💕 What a fabulous story… I love that. I’m so thrilled this brought back such wonderful and warm memories!

  10. Shannon 8 months ago

    Oh Charlie this is my favorite! It’s so beautiful.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 8 months ago

      Aww thanks so much, Shannon!! 😃💕 So happy you enjoyed this one!

  11. This is marvelous illustration, Charlie! The light blue surface of the glass and all the little details under the glass are fantastic!

  12. Laura Hale 8 months ago

    Lovely art. Perhaps we’re drawn to holding on to time, which of course is impossible in real life, but not in art.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 8 months ago

      Thanks, Laura! 😃💕 Yeah, I think there’s something to that. Holding onto time is an amazing thing indeed.

  13. Pamela Smith 8 months ago

    Beautiful shiny object….

  14. Kati Brooke 8 months ago

    Ohhh, this painting makes me want a pocket watch. Weirdly, it’s one of the few shiny objects that could be worn as jewelry that I don’t own (there’s been a few I wanted, but never at the same time that I actually could get them. :P).

    As always, I admire your skill at reflective surfaces. 😀

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 8 months ago

      Thanks, Kati! 😃💕 I personally give you permission to go out at once and buy that pocket watch! hehe… and then I can live vicariously!

  15. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 8 months ago

    A pocket watch! I agree, it is rather magical to open the lid and see the time. I once had a watch about the size and shape of a marble that I wore around my neck on chain, and another that was a ring. It looked like it might contain spy messages. My favorite watch was the first one I ever owned – a Mickey Mouse watch with a brown suede band. The memories do come back – thanks for the story of your watch and all your other collections.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 8 months ago

      Aww… Mickey Mouse watches were my favorite!! hehe… and I agree… I think the spy message thing was a definite draw for pocket watches! 😃💕

  16. Sandra Gilbert 8 months ago

    I wonder if collecting odd random things is hardwired into an artist. I have odd little collections of things all over the house as well. I like to be surrounded by all my little memory objects. 😄

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 8 months ago

      Yeah, I think artists are born collectors… hehe… even we’re not collecting objects we’re always collecting bits of life on canvas and paper! 😃💕

      • Sandra Gilbert 8 months ago

        Yes we are… Lol or in my case quite possibly collecting canvas and paper itself to collect more memories on… I might have a paper/journal obsession. 🤗

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