Swimming Upstream

Salmon Jumping Leaping Upstream Watercolor Illustration

For our prompt of “Salmon” today, I doodled a happy little salmon leaping out of the water. I got a little sidetracked as ever studying videos of salmon swimming against the current and flying into the air. It was wild, fascinating, and strangely therapeutic with the sound of rushing water in the background. Salmon are born in rivers and live there for a couple of years before eventually leaving home and making their way out to sea. When it’s time to make little baby salmon, they instinctually return to the river where they were born, which means they have to swim upstream. But, going back home isn’t an easy task at all and their original birthplace also becomes their final resting place, since they perish soon after spawning. The babies are left to fend for themselves, figuring everything out until they too will head off to sea for a few years before battling their way back home again. It’s the perfect circle of life, a story that begins again as soon as it ends.

I’ve often found myself wanting to go back to places that I remember. Sometimes, it’s not even a physical place, but simply a state of mind that was particularly wonderful. Indeed, this is most often my childhood, but it can also simply be a more recent moment in time that felt truly inspiring. I sort of meditate and think back to that moment in time. I’m looking to be reminded of all of the clues that made me feel so energized. What was special about that particular moment? How can I get that back again? Indeed, during the current times, days sort of blend into one another and it’s tough to find new inspiration when we find ourselves hiding out at home all of the time and avoiding human contact. For me, that’s when I look back in time and find a new mental “home.” It’s challenging to get back there, but always worth the effort.

One of my favorite mental states is that one where I have some new challenge or new project. The kind of project that takes time to do and riddle out, and makes me excited to jump in again when I wake up each morning. It’s been awhile since I’ve had something exactly like that, so I’m currently on the hunt. Philippe and I were discussing how we could renovate our fireplace recently, but after coming up with the plan neither of us were particularly interested in doing it ourselves. We love to design things, but aren’t really the DIY type when it comes to house projects. Mostly because neither of us have the passion or attention span to see them through properly so the result would be rather unappealing. Yet, going back to dream of those times in the past when I felt that thrill of the chase is still rejuvenating. It’s a wonderful reminder that even if life feels like it’s filled with a lot of routine these days, very soon, I’ll once again find myself happily swimming upstream.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Hansa Yellow Medium, Opus (Vivid Pink), Cobalt Turquoise, Terra Cotta and Ultramarine (Green Shade). 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!
Salmon Jumping Leaping Upstream Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail


Recommended4 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Sandra Strait 1 year ago

    I think that feeling of starting something new is alluring. I know it’s one of the reasons I’ve always jumped from one passion to another. I even got into body-building, briefly. Certainly nothing about me to prove that anymore! I’m really looking forward to hearing about your great ‘up and coming’ thing!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 year ago

      Oh wow! Body building, eh? I didn’t last long there, but did get addicted to hot yoga for a time! I was much hotter while that addiction lasted. 😉 lol

  2. Mary Roff 1 year ago

    This is one awesome smile maker of a salmon, Charlie!! How could one not smile at this happy character? It’s always energizing to start planning a new project. Sometimes it feels like each day is a new project….and there are always projects swimming around in my minsd.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 year ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕 Glad this made ya smile. And yeah… there’s mostly swimming happening in my mind right now as well. Hopefully something will leap out soon!

  3. Karen Fortier 1 year ago

    Oh sure a happy fish Charlie! Thanks for the smile!

  4. Sharon Nolfi 1 year ago

    I’ve seen the salmon running in Alaska – it’s amazing.

  5. Nabeela 1 year ago

    Best of luck….

  6. LoriCtoo 1 year ago

    I had to giggle at your salmon. Not because it was bad, it is very nice. It reminded me of the movie The Incredible Mr. Limpett. Childhood memories came back. Whenever it was on, I would watch it because it was part cartoon. Remember back then, cartoons where only shown on Saturdays AND before some movies on Sundays??? You may be too young to have experienced that. 😉 Anyway, your fish made me remember one of those happy places. 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 year ago

      Thanks, Lori! 😃💕 Haha! Oh wow… I’d never heard of that movie and now I want to check it out! I actually met and had dinner and drinks with Don Knotts once! hehe I remember that! I loved the Sunday movies and Saturday only cartoons. Made it feel special!

  7. Priscilla DeConti 1 year ago

    Love your smiling fish! And although I am struggling(swimming upstream) through most days..I am glad for the sunshine and the relief that making art gives me. and the wonder of coming here and reading your reminders of days past and also looking to the future.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 year ago

      Thanks so much, Priscilla! 😃💕Yeah, the future is still going to be wonderful. And today isn’t half bad either as long as we remember to keep smiling!

  8. Lisa 1 year ago

    I just ordered salmon from the grocery store. It’s nice to be able to buy wild caught salmon, but my favorite by far was the salmon my father brought home from fishing trips on Lake Michigan. We also had a lot of lake trout from those trips. The big deal where I grew up was to have a fish boil. You put huge amounts of salt in boiling water over an open flame. Then tossed in red potatoes and little onions. Finally you put in the fish steaks. Serve with melted butter and cole slaw and a slice of rye bread. Yum! Cherry pie was the usual dezsert. It’s been too long since I had one of these meals.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 year ago

      Oh wow… you just made me drool with that description!! lol That all sounds soooo delicious! 😃💕

  9. Gary Middleton 1 year ago

    Beautiful. I was thinking of doing a leaping salmon but couldn’t think how I do the water. Now I know. So simple but really effective.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 year ago

      Thanks, Gary! 😃💕 I wanted mine more foreshortened and leaping toward the viewer, but I couldn’t riddle that one out in my head. hehe

  10. Danai Mongkolrat 1 year ago

    Nice and beautiful!!

  11. Jerson Antao 1 year ago

    Beautiful Charlie…It’s come out very nice..keep going!😊

  12. Loan Anh Pham 1 year ago

    It’s a lovely Salmon, Charlie 🥰 It looks very happy.

  13. shawnthompsonart 1 year ago

    Excellent Salmon drawing, he looks a little bit like a character design. I know some good Salmon and Trout Streams off of Lake Ontario.

  14. Susan Masters 1 year ago

    Live the expression and happy colours

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