Smelling Flowers

When I was little kid, and would see a butterfly landing gently on a flower, I used to always think it was simply stopping to smell it. I had no clue about how things in nature really worked yet, and life was full of simple solutions. I never thought much about what the bees were doing on flowers, they just sort of terrified me, and so I would run away. But butterflies fascinated me and I would stare at them endlessly, watching them smell those flowers. After careful observation, I realized they lacked a proper nose, so I felt a bit sad that they for all their efforts, they probably couldn’t smell a thing. But I always appreciated the fact that they would keep trying. It was inspiring to me. Sure, I would soon learn about pollination and other important things, but I loved most those moments of not really knowing anything at all. Seeing something for the first time, with fresh eyes and a lively imagination, is really the  best experience in the world.

Due to the decreasing numbers of butterflies, thanks to human indifference, I don’t see as many today as I did back then. But each time I’m lucky enough to see one, I still smile, remembering that world I used to believe in. It strikes me that no matter how much I learn, I don’t ever want to feel like an expert. It’s far more fun to fill in the blanks and decide for yourself how something happen next. That’s the best part of being an artist. We never have to stop believing in impossible things and when things don’t work like someone says they should, we can just invent our own reality. In fact, that’s likely the very definition of an artist. If this sounds like you, then you’re definitely one, even if you just picked up a brush for the first time. I don’t believe in “becoming an artist.” I truly think that it’s not a skill as much as a mindset that all of us had when we were kids. Perhaps we’ve just forgotten bits along the way. To me, it’s as simple as “being an artist” and letting your mind and heart wander to the places the want to go.

I hope that anyone out there reading this who has yet to hop in and share their watercolors with our community here on Doodlewash, will take a moment and do so. We’d love it if you’d share your heart with us! Feel confident and powerful in the fact that there’s no such thing as a “true artist” as that would imply there are people who aren’t artists at all. That’s simply not true. We are all artists. Some of us choose to DO more than others, but that doesn’t change the fact that we are all capable of making something new and wonderful. I built Doodlewash with this idea in mind. A simple, yes happily childish notion, that the world doesn’t need to be divided into silly categories. And I quickly realized that masters were simply the people who practiced more. There wasn’t a secret ingredient beyond that. So, in the end, we’re all capable of imagining any world we like and being the artists I know we are. Just like when we were young enough to ignore logic and live in a world where one might find butterflies smelling flowers.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Da Vinci Yellow, Quinacridone Red, Leaf Green, Cobalt Turquoise, and Payne’s Gray.  Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book.
#WorldWatercolorGroup - Day 25 - Smelling Flowers - Butterfly Watercolour - Doodlewash

Recommended6 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Karen Colson 5 years ago

    Amen to that, Charlie. I insist~ your musings, observations, and art must become a book someday! I do so enjoy my moments taken to connect with your view of this world 🌞

    • Sandra Strait 5 years ago

      I’ll put in my two cents toward the price of buying that book!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 years ago

      Thanks so much, Karen!! 😃💕 That’s such a sweet thing to say. I do hope to compile them into a book of some kind one day when time permits. Glad to know there’s someone who might purchase it!

  2. Sandra Strait 5 years ago

    I love your butterfly and your memories of them in your youth. Your philosophy reminds me of Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours – it’s the people who spend the time practicing to good effect, who become great artists, but that simply means there are a lot of artist apprentices, casual artists and good artists producing beautiful work along the way.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 years ago

      Thanks so much, Sandra! 😃💕 Exactly!! So many caterpillars just waiting to grow their wings and fly!

  3. smzang 5 years ago

    The butterfly and the brilliant color of the flower is a sunny start to any day.
    The thoughts that you have shared made me think you should be a teacher…
    but of course, you already are. Your writing always elevates and informs.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 years ago

      Aww… you always made my day with your encouraging and sweet comments! Thank you so much for that! 😃💕

  4. Sandra Gilbert 5 years ago

    Your butterfly story made me smile. While I don’t overly remember such childhood musings, I’m sure I decided such things as well. Luckily I got to relive the magic of childhood with my children. 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 years ago

      Thanks so much, Sandra! 😃💕 Yeah, actually having kids will surely help you remember just what it was like back then!

  5. Yvonne Reeder 5 years ago

    Lovely painting and lovely thoughts from a lovely soul. I agree – a book needs doing. “The Soul of a Doodlewash” ❤️

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 years ago

      Aww thanks, Von! 😃💕 One day, even if it’s not until I retire, I’m determined to make that happen!

  6. Jill Kuhn 5 years ago

    Your posts always make me smile, Charlie! 💕🦋 Lovely butterfly on such a gorgeous pink flower! 😍

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 years ago

      Aww thanks so much!! 😃💕 Yeah it’s Da Vinci’s Opus Pink… it’s such a cool color!! hehe… don’t get to use it much and so excited when the opportunity presents itself!

  7. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 5 years ago

    Love this painting of two beauties – actually four beauties, but who wants to be so fussy, right? Even when I was a kid, I found the markings on butterflies wings mysterious and wondered if they meant something special.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 years ago

      Thanks so much!! 😃💕 Awww… me too! The markings are so fascinating and never exactly the same! Magical!

  8. Elizabeth Metz 5 years ago

    “We are all artists. Some of us choose to DO more than others, but that doesn’t change the fact that we are all capable of making something new and wonderful.”

  9. smzang 4 years ago


    Speaking of experts…I have avoided them with a passion
    ever since I attended a workshop seeded with experts.
    They couldn’t agree on anything. Each one of them
    wanted to be ‘THE’ expert. I have no time for anyone
    who isn’t a student of life.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      hehe! That’s so true! In order to be an “expert” one has to assume they know something more than someone else. It would be an interesting room indeed to have all of them assembled at once. 😉

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