Surfing Under The Waves

Sea Turtle Underwater Swimming Sky Light Coral Watercolor Painting

For our prompt of “Turtle” today, I chose a sea turtle, underwater and chasing a wave. Or, at least, that’s what I had in my head when I made this little sketch. I imagined my turtle spotting a surfer and wondering what it might be like to be just like him. Sailing through the air on top of a wave instead of always swimming beneath it. I think many times in my life, I’ve felt like this turtle. I see someone who’s doing something that looks absolutely amazing and then wish I had their particular skill or talent. But also, as I’m sure this little turtle discovered, I soon realized that I’m only ever at my best when I’m being the best “me” that I possibly can. For example, there are always people out there who are way more skilled at creating art than me, but I keep getting a little better each day. A little doodlewash a day, as it were, and something I encourage everyone to DO! What I personally love is watching people improve on a daily basis without even realizing that it’s happening. Sure, there’s the occasional worry, a feeling of being rushed and not always having enough time. But, we should always be proud of our own unique skills. For example, though a sea turtle can’t navigate a surfboard, he can hold his breath for 4-7 hours. This indeed would be inviable to that surfer sailing above those waves.

What I’ve learned in life, and keep relearning as I continually remind myself of this fact, is that we all have a unique and wonderful talent. There’s that one thing that we have that’s just special and not quite like anyone else. Sure, there’s probably more than one thing, but there’s always that one very noticeable thing. The thing others mention about us. Most likely, it’s not even about our technical skill in whatever creative thing we’re making, but something more. An intangible quality that many remark on, but everyone has a slightly different way to describe it. So, sometimes, we fail to even realize what it is. But it’s always there, defining us in the best way possible. It’s that spark inside of us that makes us attractive to others. Any art we create is simply an expression of this spark. So, I contend that it’s always beautiful. When I often like bomb people and seem to tell everyone that what they made is beautiful, I’m not just being nice. I truly see the beauty in everything that people create. And when I’ve seen several things from the same person, the work just keeps getting more and more beautiful to me. I’ve met their spark. I know them. And it’s absolutely lovely.

Though I started this art journey on my own, I feel like I’ve found a new family in the process. The hallmark of family is that they just “get you” in a way that most others simply cannot. I think that’s the beauty of painting, sketching, and blogging together. We’re not alone on this journey. We’re not setting out to impress those who have never met us, but simply sharing a bit more of ourselves each day with those who know us. Well, at least, that’s what keeps me coming back each and every day. I’m thrilled when someone I’ve not met before enjoys my art, of course, but my heart fills up when someone I’ve already met takes the time to comment again. And I’m fully aware that I still don’t DO all of the things everyone else does. I’ve managed to make one instructional book with two others nearly complete and I’m still rather shy about making videos. But, that’s the thing. I just show up as me. Perfectly flawed and never trying to be someone else… me. I’m sure there’s a better me I could affect, but that would break from my own philosophy. My goal has only ever been to be the best me possible. And as I watch others online and I wish I were more like them, I have to admit that I rather love the special place I’ve found, surfing under the waves.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Vermilion, Opus (Vivid Pink), Leaf Green, Cobalt Turquoise, and Ultramarine (Green Shade). Staedtler Pigment Liners 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!
Sea Turtle Underwater Swimming Sky Light Coral Watercolor Painting Sketchbook Detail
Recommended6 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
35 Comments
  1. Karen Fortier 2 weeks ago

    I love your turtle who dreams of surfing, Charlie. We all need dreams, we need to play and DOing art every day is healthy for the soul. Oh, and we need to laugh every day!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 week ago

      Thanks so much, Karen! 😃💕Yay to DOing art every day! And laughing… that’s probably the most important thing of all in life!

  2. Sandra Strait 2 weeks ago

    I agree about enjoying the beauty in what people do. You find the most interesting conversations in artwork if you look for them, instead trying to compare everything to museum-quality art.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 week ago

      So true, Sandra! 😃💕I love looking and listening for the conversations there. It’s so beautiful!

  3. Lisa 2 weeks ago

    Yep, keep doing you. It’s looking good!

    A couple of years ago niw, Joe and I were out walking on the bike trail by our house, when I saw ahead a painted turtle crossing the road. I made Joe run ahead to save it before a car came along and killed it. He picked it up and it tucked its legs and head into its shell. We carried it like that all the way back down the trail, then across two fields to the Sugar River. About a hundred yards from the water, Shelley ‘s legs and head popped out of the shell and she began swimming in the air. I think she smelled the water! Joe set her down and she raced right to the water and plop, she was gone! My favorite turtle rescue story ever!

  4. Sharon Nolfi 2 weeks ago

    Your words today are inspiring! Lovely painting, too. I’m a sea turtle fan.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 week ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 So pleased you enjoyed this post. Yeah… sea turtles are just the coolest!

  5. Amelia walters 2 weeks ago

    You have so inspired and helped me Charlie and although I’m not posting much at present I am doing something daily. Inks have taken my fancy at present especially the ones that change when they hit water !!, Nick Stewart on your video here was an eye opener and a thrill. Keep being you Charlie.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 week ago

      Aww Amelia! I’m so thrilled to hear that! 😃💕 And please know that you’ve inspired me as well. I was so nervous about publishing my first instructional book, even in the form of a child’s Activity Book. But your pages! They were SO awesome! And your progress since has been phenomenal and inspiring! You’re truly talented my friend! Keep being YOU! ❤️

  6. adnanaslamdar 2 weeks ago

    Charlie beautiful turtle surfing under the waves.Best use of water colours as usual good work thanks

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 week ago

      Thanks so much, Adnan! 😃💕 Thrilled you enjoyed this! Sea turtles are wonderful creatures!

  7. Robert J. Coleman 2 weeks ago

    Thanks for another turtle, you do them so well. It’s a great view of life: just being YOU and gliding along under the surface of the sea, peaceful, tranquil, loving life.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 week ago

      Thanks, Bob! 😃💕 I’m so thrilled you like my turtles… I feel I struggle with them a bit. But, each one gets a little easier! hehe And yay to being our own true wonderful selves. It’s the best way to live for sure!

  8. Loan Anh Pham 2 weeks ago

    Really beautiful sketching, Charlie 🥰 Especially, I love turtles, so I’m fall in love with this sketch he he. And I’m touched with many beautiful words in this story. ❤️

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 week ago

      Thanks so much, Loan! 😃💕 Thrilled you enjoyed this story! I truly appreciate your encouraging comments my friend!

  9. smzang 2 weeks ago

    Charlie says, ” I truly see the beauty in everything that people create. And when I’ve seen several things from the same person, the work just keeps getting more and more beautiful to me. I’ve met their spark. I know them. And it’s absolutely lovely.”

    I get it, and I agree. Creating the art is the artist’s part; connecting with it requires the participation of the consumer. There are those who claim Picasso was no artist. I claim the lack is theirs, not his.

    As for the turtle: You give everything you paint such personality. I love it. Also love the sense of motion you created with the positioning of the “arms’ and the shading of the water. This one awakens all the senses. It’s been awhile since I’ve ‘tasted the scent of the sea’ and heard its song so vividly.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 week ago

      Sarah you just make my day! 😃💕 I’m so thrilled you enjoy my posts and see things that I’m sometimes unaware of making. It’s such a beautiful experience! Thank you from the bottom of my heart! ❤️

  10. Mary Roff 1 week ago

    This is wonderful!!! Love all the little details!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 week ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕 hehe… you know me… I can get perfectly lost in the little details!

  11. LoriCtoo 1 week ago

    I think deep down you want to be somewhere warm. Tee hee. This is wonderfully colorful! Heading into the holiday weekend, so I will be absent for a few days. No internet service. Phone service is hit or miss,depending on where you are standing. Lol! Have a lovely Thanksgiving!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 week ago

      You’re SO right, Lori! 😃💕 hehe… I’m dreaming of California right now! lol Pop in when you can my friend! Yeah, it’s the same when I’m in Texas. When I go to try to post for the day I’m outside pointing my phone toward a tower that’s probably just an oil rig. Hoping that it manages to post! lol

  12. Jacob 1 week ago

    I actually gasped at this one – there have been many great doodlewashes in the past, but not sure if that’s happened before! What a wonderful scene!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 week ago

      Oh wow! Thanks, Jacob! 😃💕 Thrilled you enjoyed this one! And you’re likely thrilled as well that I’m not just taunting you with ice cream. 😉

      • Jacob 1 week ago

        Haha! Well yes, I’d much rather be taunted by a cool turtle!

  13. Michelle Martinez 1 week ago

    Beautiful art, and beautiful philosophy… Thank you!!! 🙏

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 week ago

      Thanks so much, Michelle! 😃💕 So happy you enjoyed this post!

  14. Lisa Ann Ulibarri 1 week ago

    Aweeeeeeee love this so much!!! There is a Native American quote I love love love that says. “Do your best then do better” I love it as in it i see us always doing our best and I see the growth that happens a long the way too:)

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 week ago

      Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕Oh my goodness, I adore that quote! It’s such a wonderful way to live!

  15. Priscilla DeConti 1 week ago

    Wow !! Thanks for your great philosophy and it shows in this group of like minded folks who just love creating…You are definitely an inspiration and I love how you encourage others…Thank you for being you! God bless!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 week ago

      What a sweet compliment! Thank you SO much, Priscilla! 😃💕 Yeah, I’m proud of the friendly and supportive group we’ve created together!

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