Skipping Stones

Day 22 - Skipping Stones Rock Boy Watercolor Illustration

While thinking about our prompt of “Stones” today, I thought back to when I was a little kid and loved skipping stones across the water. It was a game of taking a flat stone and flinging it into the water to watch it bounce across the surface. The goal, beyond just having fun and killing time, was to get the stone to skip several times before sinking. I would be happy with just a handful of skips and I it was just cool to see the stone gliding across the water. Apparently, though, when taken as a more serious sport, it’s possible to make many more skips across the water. According to the Guinness Book of Records, the world record for the most number of skips is 88 and is held by Kurt “Mountain Man” Steiner. It’s no surprise that I myself never even came close to such a historic feat, most likely because literally nobody who knows me would ever give me anything resembling the nickname of “Mountain Man.” But, as with most things in life, no matter what we try, there’s always someone out there who’s more accomplished. Thankfully, when it comes to having fun, none of that really matters at all!

I’ve never been particularly athletic, so throwing objects was probably a skill best left to those who excel at sport. I had friends much more gifted in that arena who could skip stones like champions. Though my own stone-skipping ability was questionable in comparison, I didn’t mind. It was just so much fun to DO! As I grew up, nothing much changed in that approach to life. I’m still happily trying anything I can as I leave mastery to the masters. It’s not that I don’t wish to improve, I certainly try to, it’s simply that I’ve learned that practice is all it really takes to get better at something. So, worrying over mastery, is entirely unnecessary. I just keep skipping along, like a stone dancing across the water, seeing just how far I can get before I sink, and then I hop up and start skipping again with glee. And the moment I don’t feel that glee is the only moment I stop to question what it is I’m trying. There have been many hobbies that sort of lost their thrill, but sketching and writing has been the most thrilling hobby ever.

I have a secret dream, of course, of being able to illustrate and write full time, but in the meantime, I’m happy just finding a little moment each and every day to practice. And, in many ways, the fact that it hasn’t become like a job, is rather freeing. It’s still just a visit to a playground of ideas and thoughts that I capture for the sheer enjoyment of doing it. And I DO hope whoever finds my sketches and rambles will enjoy them as well. As I get older, I find the greatest enjoyment in life comes from embracing the best bits with all my heart. This is indeed what makes me come across crazy with optimism all of the time, but that’s how I choose to live. Life is too short to waste being grumpy about things that aren’t exactly as we’d like them to be. Perhaps that’s why I so often think back to my littlest self and try to once again harness that pure, simple feeling of wonder and creativity. To me, that’s the secret elixir, or the fountain of youth. A magical place where a series of memories can remind me that I once believed I could do anything at all. Even if I wasn’t the very best, when it came to skipping stones.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, and Indigo (my “Vintage” Trio!), + 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!
Skipping Stones Rock Boy Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Illustration
Recommended5 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
23 Comments
  1. Laura Hale 3 weeks ago

    You’re right Charlie, life is too short to be grumpy. Cool doodlewash by the way.

  2. Sandra Strait 3 weeks ago

    Your painting of little Charlie skipping stones is adorable! Alas, I never managed to get even a single skip when I threw stones. I was usually lucky if I managed to get it in the lake at all, lol.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Sandra! 😃💕 haha… yeah, I don’t think I was much better. A couple skips and I felt like I’m just accomplished something grand!

  3. Lisa 3 weeks ago

    I lived a mile from Lake Michigan and you’d think I would be a good stone skipper. But alas, I’m in the bottom echelon of that sport too. I my have talked about this before, but I went out for the track team. I was going to be a champion shot put thrower. Dad even bought me a shot ball to practice. I showed up at my first practice raring to go. Then I found out that even the shot put people had to run laps at every practice. That might I put my shot ball away and never returned to any organized sport but bowling!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      haha! I adore that story! Love that you were almost a shot put champion. 😃💕 Yeah, running in circles was my least favorite thing to do as well and also probably why I never went much for sport!

  4. Karen Fortier 3 weeks ago

    Great post Charlie! Hold on to your dreams as you never know what the future may bring.

  5. Mary Roff 3 weeks ago

    Great sketch of little Charlie! I remember my Dad teaching us how to skip stones. Have to admit I still like skipping stones…just takes me back to being a kid.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Thanks, Mary! 😃💕 And yay to still skipping stones! I try it on the rare occasions I end up at a lake these days. Still fun!

  6. June Hadaway 3 weeks ago

    This is adorable. I love the way you painted the hair….just too cute! Skipping stones was a lot of fun even if I never mastered it.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Thanks, June! 😃💕 I really never sketch people, so glad you liked the hair!

  7. Sharon Nolfi 3 weeks ago

    Lovely piece of writing! I never played skipping stones – maybe because we don’t have many lakes or ponds in So Cal. Sounds like a fun and contemplative pastime, even for an adult.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 Yeah, this is definitely more of a lake thing… hehe… but so fun to try!

  8. basai5 3 weeks ago

    This is adorable.

  9. LoriCtoo 3 weeks ago

    I haven’t done this prompt yet. I was actually ahead of the game until recently. I am going to copy your sketch. 🙂 For one, it is so cute, two it reminds me of skipping stones on Lake Superior(they had an abundancy of flat stones) and three it will get me to finally do some water painting. Thanks!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Awesome! 😃 Yeah, this is always a tougher prompt than it seems. I had no clue at first so I painted a memory! hehe

  10. Laura Kate 3 weeks ago

    Beautiful self portrait.

  11. Robert J. Coleman 3 weeks ago

    Great topic and doodle! That little guy got several skips, must have been practicing. It never worked for me, as a leftie. I think most of the stones I tried were right handed….

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Thanks, Bob! 😃💕 Hehe… oh, that’s the best reason ever! I wish I were left-handed now so I could have used it.

  12. memadtwo 3 weeks ago

    One of many of life’s small pleasures. (K)

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      So true! 😃💕 And now I’m determined to find a lake nearby to try skipping stones again! hehe

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