Sudden Impulses

Goldfish Jumping Out Of Bowl Watercolor Painting Illustration

For our optional World Watercolor Month prompt of “Spontaneous,” I wasn’t quite sure what to do for this one. Then I thought about it in terms of those impulses that make me jump to the next thing, often without even thinking too much about where I’m heading, much less forming a plan. To demonstrate that we have a goldfish leaping out of a fishbowl while another looks on with a bit of shock. While there’s a phrase that says one should “look before they leap,” I think it’s really fun sometimes to just sort of go for it and see what happens along the way. Okay, so that’s pretty much my usual approach to things and it’s not particularly rare. Lately though, I have been putting a bit more thought up front into what I’m about to sketch as I’m wanting to practice more narrative illustration. Once I’ve spent time thinking through an idea, however, it’s back to jumping like a fish out of water and quickly seeing what appears. And like a good story, t’s always fun to find out what happens next!

I’ve been having lots of fun this month exploring concepts and trying more illustrative sketches. And I’ve learned that my impulsive nature still holds true for the execution, but if I spend a bit more time dreaming something up, the results are a touch more interesting. Though I still can’t quite make every crazy idea that pops into my head appear on paper, I’m getting a little better at doing so for some of them, one little sketch at a time. When I first started this art journey, my goal was to write and illustrate my own storybook. Rather than jump right in as I normally would and just go for it, I’ve dutifully practiced sketching stuff each and every day now for five years. But, I only have time to make one little thing each day, so the results weren’t immediate. My inner child was so impatient for results, but I just mentally patted his little head and reminded him that practice is everything.

While impulses in art are fabulous, I’m happy to report I’ve curbed my impulse shopping a bit these days. Mostly because I’m stuck at home and without immediate gratification, I pause and make more thoughtful decisions first. But, I kind of miss going to the stores and seeing something I just have to have in that moment. It’s like getting a little gift I wasn’t expecting. Whether or not it feels the same way the next day is another story indeed. And I’ve had more impulsive hobbies that I’ve started and stopped than I can possibly count. Yet, as I get older, I feel less compelled by the shiniest of new things and more intrigued by how to make what I’m already doing feel fresh again. So, with my art, I’m taking a step back and considering my ideas a bit more thoughtfully when I can. And then, of course, rushing them to gleeful completion once I start. Some things never change. Yet, I’m quite happy to be on this adventure, always driven by those rather wonderful sudden impulses.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Hansa Yellow Medium, Quinacridone Red, Cobalt Turquoise, Ultramarine (Green Shade) and Indigo. 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!
Goldfish Jumping Out Of Bowl Watercolor Painting Illustration Sketchbook Detail

Recommended7 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Marisela Delgado 2 years ago

    Charlie, Charlie, Charlie….your water splash is FABULOUS! It is simply fantastic! How fabulous are you!! Wow. 😊 haha haha Your comment about impulse shopping, reminded me (and made me laugh) of my neighbor, MaryLou. (Her husband, Frank, is an awesome painter.) They are an older couple and have been really good to me. I called MaryLou to check in on them. She ‘s so funny. She said that she is bored at home and misses shopping . She said that she spends hours on the internet shopping. She said, “Man, I keep finding crap that I didn’t know that I needed! ” She cracks me up! Anyway, fabulous painting , Charlie! 😁😀😇

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Marisela! 😃💕 So happy you enjoyed this!! And awww… I love that story! MaryLou sounds wonderful!

  2. Susan Cuss 2 years ago

    Your goldfish leaping toward new adventures is wonderful! Love the water effects. I’ve always been one to consider any action before jumping in in life, but I can indulge that impulse and be spontaneous in my art! (well, sometimes lol )

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Susan! 😃💕 hehe… yay for being spontaneous in art!

  3. Mary Roff 2 years ago

    Another beauty, Charlie!! Every day you get closer to that dream and I can’t wait to see the result; I know it will be fabulous!!
    I’m finding it almost as easy to shop for things “I really don’t need” right from the comfort of home though I do much prefer shopping local and independently owned shops. The shopping I do miss most is finding interest gifts in local shops for Christmas and birthday gifts…that’s my favorite kind of impulse shopping.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕 So true! I miss those little shops for presents like that. And I fear not many will be there when all this is past us.

  4. Nellie Nellie 2 years ago

    Thanks for the inspiring fish! Now I want to remember, “Be the flying, floating fabulous and free fish!” (I do admit I’ve looked a bit more like the bulging eyed concerned fish as of late!) World Watercolor Month couldn’t have come at a better time-time to lighten up, relax and just be joyful again!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Nellie! 😃💕 Aww yay! I’m so happy World Watercolor Month is adding some joy! The world does need it now!

  5. Karen Fortier 2 years ago

    Fantastic Charlie! I can relate to this adventurous little fish when it comes to my art. It has been about 1 1/2 years since I took the risk to retire early and leap into becoming an artist. I’m still painting at a fairly good pace even though the opportunities to exhibit and sell have screeched to a stop. One of the daughters expressed concerns on the phone last night that the number of paintings was mounting. The two daughters are worried that they will be stuck with them. Such a support family. I venture on! Enjoy your weekend!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Karen! 😃💕 hehe… oh to be “stuck” with your wonderful paintings! That’s quite a gift! But this too shall pass and we’ll be back to a normal crazy life some time next year.

  6. Lisa 2 years ago

    I like your storytelling doodlewashes a lot. I posted my 17th pear painting today. Turns out pears just don’t have much story to tell. At least I’m more than half done, so in short order I’ll never have to paint a pear again! I think next year I may take on trees. All that lovely variation! That’s the plan!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕 Aww pears have plenty of stories to tell… just depends on how they’re painted. And trees the same! Sounds lovely!

  7. Lisa Ann Ulibarri 2 years ago

    I love you fish so much weeeeeeeeeee lol and the one looking on … lol sweet!!! I feel leaps of faith are important. Sometimes we do not land as we hoped but that might actually be a good thing too 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕 I agree! It’s better to jump and find out then to never jump at all!

  8. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 2 years ago

    This Doodlewash might just be my favorite. So much action, so much expectation. The fish leaping, the one left behind. Yes, this one tells a story. I’m all ears, all eyes, all attention. Well done, Charlie.

    I’ve taken my own leap, of sorts. Waiting for gouache paints to arrive (have never used them). A sketch is ready and though it could be done with watercolors, I got it into my head that gouache was the right medium. If you knew how cautious I am, you’d understand the leap of faith I’m daring to try.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Aww thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 Thrilled you enjoyed this! And glad you saw the story there! Awesome on the gouache! Honestly, I’ve been waiting to try it for the past couple of years, since it’s more common in illustration, but haven’t even made the leap yet!

  9. Gary Middleton 2 years ago

    Great doodle Charlie. I like little stories, on here and on the podcast. I think you’d write a great story book.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Gary! 😃💕 So happy you enjoy my stories. I hope to write that storybook soon!

  10. Sandra Strait 2 years ago

    Almost every day, when I see your art, I think – there’s a story there! It only makes sense that you write and illustrate a storybook! I know it’s a real time-consuming thing to do though.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Aww thanks, Sandra! 😃💕 yeah, it’s my dream to DO, but I can’t seem to find the extra time. Mostly though, that’s an excuse… I don’t have that idea yet that makes the time magically appear! hehe

      • Sandra Strait 2 years ago

        It takes a lot of time – this I know. I have the ideas but fleshing them out really takes a concentrated effort.

        • Author
          Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

          Indeed! And well… concentration has never been my strong suit! 😊hehe

  11. Zertab Quaderi 2 years ago

    Another fabulous doodle and I just love the expression those two are wearing, lol!

  12. Walt. F Pierluissi 2 years ago

    This is super cute…. And the stories behind your painting are simply enjoyable as the paint itself. Good job Charlie, extremely good job…

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Aww thanks so much, Walt! 😃💕 My art is always a combo of words and image so I’m thrilled you enjoy both!

  13. Viki Banaszak 2 years ago

    This is so much fun to see!

  14. Julia Tara Fürst 2 years ago

    Your paintings are amazing! Not saying you could sell them as stickers, but I am saying it, because somehow I wish I had this one as a sticker on my fridge. It’s so cute and expressive!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Julia! 😃💕 Aww cool! Yeah, I’ve thought about offering stickers, but just haven’t had a chance to make that happen yet! 😊

  15. Mugdha Savkar 2 years ago

    Hello Charlie,

    That sketch is so ALIVE! I love everything in it… the leaping fish, the fresh splash – most of all the expression of the fish still in the fishbowl. 🙂 I’m so happy to know that you wish to write and illustrate a story book. Please please please write one soon. I’ll definitely be waiting to buy it! Sending truckloads of luck your way for your book wish to come true soon.


    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Mugdha! 😃💕 Aww… you’re too sweet! Thanks so much for the encouragement! Yeah, I’m still forming the concept and idea, but I’m definitely going to be making a storybook in the future!

  16. Tom 2 years ago

    Fun fish, Charlie! The one in the water made me chuckle.
    I have another watercolour for you!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Tom! 😃💕 And yay! A tree! That’s what hooked me on watercolor… so I have a soft spot for those!

  17. LoriCtoo 2 years ago

    Oh my gosh! That fish in the bowl is hilarious! His facial expression made me laugh. Thank for sharing your thoughts on stepping back and rethinking your art journey. It is good to push ourselves. These prompts have been tough for me, not knowing what the thought Angela had behind them. I must admit, it has pushed me! I just haven’t had as much time to do them as I would like. We are half way there!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Lori! 😃💕 Aww yay! Glad this made you laugh… yeah, I used actual fish references, but some have eyes that just say, what the heck? lol And yeah, these prompts are way more open-ended than some previously… the intent is to free your own muse and creativity! Whatever comes to mind is absolutely correct! Paint it! it’s so much fun! 😉

  18. memadtwo 2 years ago

    Love this one Charlie. (K)

  19. Priscilla DeConti 2 years ago

    Love the picture which says it all!!😀

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