The Art of Relaxing

Day 20 - French Bulldog Watercolor - Doodlewash

Though I sketch a lot of animals and adore them all, dogs are definitely one my favorites. I decided on a French bulldog for today’s sketch, really just because Philippe was showing me a long Buzzfeed story dedicated to bulldogs last night. They are rather adorable with their cute little folds of skin and “please take care of me” eyes. And most of the photos were of them being impossibly cute in various states of relaxing. It struck me that as I was watching I grew a bit jealous of these lucky canines. How glorious it would be to relax like that through much of the day. My days are a bit more hectic and frantic as I rush to getting everything done. But, then I thought about my little watercolor sketching break and realized that I DO get those dog days after all. Each and every day, in fact, even if it’s only for 30-45 minutes. And, when I saw those adorable little dogs just enjoying a moment of sitting still, I realized why I always demand my little bit of sketching time each day. It’s the most wonderful way in the world to relax and let my mind take me on a lovely journey. Each time, a blank page is transformed into something that wasn’t there before and that’s quite an amazing bonus!

Many of you know that I’m prone to jumping into new things all of the time. I always have a new project that I’m working on along with a full-time job and this website. It’s a little crazy, but I’m having so much fun that I often don’t even realize when I’ve overextended myself. Which is pretty much all of the time. What’s been wild for me to discover in this art journey is that this site makes me twice as productive in the rest of my life. The creative energy I get from showing up each day and seeing all of the fabulous things posted in our community here, propels me forward. I’m so inspired each and every day to make art, and I’m fiercely protective of my daily art time. Especially on days, when I get extremely busy, I’ve learned that stopping to make art is required. Any bit of stress I’m feeling simply falls aways as the lines begin to take shape and the colors swirl into place. I’m quite sure this is true with any creative endeavor. Writers would likely feel the same way. It’s a form of escape that has all of the glorious positives of a beautiful restful nap, yet comes with something special and new in the end. At least, if it’s approached with glee and wonder, of course.

Sometimes, I place a bit of pressure on myself as I show up each day with my performance art, such as it is. I wonder or worry if people might like what I drew or wrote that day. This is part of being an artist, to be sure, but what gets me through it is that no matter what I make, there’s usually always at least one person out there who adored it. Yeah, that doesn’t seem like a very large number, but it’s amazing to think that something I made connected with someone I haven’t even met yet. And each time I make something, I’m more at ease. I feel more like I’m me again and can face all of those things on that unbearable list of things that I have to do next. I guess, what I’ve really learned is that if you want to get things done in life, be sure you’re making time to sit still and enjoy it. I had no idea when I first started painting and sketching that I’d discovered something miraculous. I just thought it was quite fun so I diligently gave it go. Now, over three and half years on, I can attest that it was actually the very thing missing from my life. A chance to let everything go, and let my creative spirit play for awhile. Indeed, I had no idea that in my moment of excitement for watercolor sketching that I’d actually discovered the art of relaxing.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Opus (Vivid Pink), Terra Cotta and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia 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!
French Bulldog Watercolor Detail - Doodlewash

Recommended5 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Sandra Strait 4 years ago

    Ah, your Frenchie is adorable! My niece has a young bulldog and she is so sweet. However, she constantly snorts and wheezes and while it makes you smile are first … My niece is a vet, and acquired the dog because she has nerve damage in her face from an accident. She has lots of pets that she acquired for similar reasons. Once of the consequences of being a vet, I suspect.

    • Sandra Strait 4 years ago

      …’makes you smile AT first’… and …’One of the consequence’… My brain has slowed faster than my fingers, I think!

      • Author
        Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

        haha! My brain always moves at that speed! 😉 And edits in real time at the speed as well. I didn’t even notice. (which is probably why my posts are likely riddled with typos. lol)

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks, Sandra! 😃💕That’s wonderful she took in that young bulldog! And I love that she’s a vet. I don’t think I ever could be as I would definitely want to take every single animal home. 😊hehe

  2. Sharon Nolfi 4 years ago

    Beautiful shadows on the face and ears!

  3. Jodi 4 years ago


  4. memadtwo 4 years ago

    What a face! you do know how to show animals at their best Charlie. (K)

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks so much, Kerfe! 😃💕 What a fabulous compliment! I adore animals, so it’s so much fun to sketch them.

  5. Lisa 4 years ago

    You can count me among your adoring fans of this cute little Frenchie! I love them. I’ve read that with their short legs and stout bodies they can be kind of lazy. No 10 mile hikes for these guys. That’s right up my alley. Today, after watching a bunch of Mind if Watercolor YouTube videos, I painted part of a little landscape. It’s not that good, but when I went back and looked at it again tonight, I saw some good parts. Makes me eager to try another. I learned something.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Aww thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕hehe… yeah, I have quite long legs so I guess I don’t have an excuse to not go hiking more often. 😊And that’s so awesome on the landscape! Steve has mad skills, so I’m sure you learned amazing things! Definitely hope back in and try another!

  6. Maria Dass The World 4 years ago

    Wow! There’s a French bulldog? Must be impeccably groomed! 😄
    I remember this elderly French lady on the train in Paris a few years ago – dressed up very nicely, and though she didn’t say anything looked approvingly at my Aodai-like top, down to my jeans and the a dismissive shrug that said ‘what the heck is that?’ when her eyes met my ugly (but comfortable!) brown walking shoes 😂 … Lesson learnt about tardy dressing in Paris – and not a word spoken mind you! 😬

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Hehe… it’s meant to be a french bulldog, but I tend to take plenty of liberties when I sketch! lol 😉 And that’s an awesome story… yeah, since I’m married to a French man, I get that same look from time to time. Sometimes, there just isn’t time or energy to show up properly. hehe

  7. Mary Roff 4 years ago

    Beautiful painting, Charlie. Painting can be the best therapy.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕 Yes! Painting is the best drug…. er… therapy of all! hehe

  8. LoriCtoo 4 years ago

    Ohhhh, he is adorable. Every day you show up, I show up. I am reminded of some piece in my life. Besides my sketching time, this is my wake up time each morning and I think that’s a great way to start my day!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks so much, Lori! 😃💕 Seriously… I can’t thank you enough for taking time to read my little rambles. I really appreciate it! So thrilled you enjoy them!

      • LoriCtoo 4 years ago

        You’re welcome! 😘

  9. Jacob 4 years ago

    Aww, how could anyone resist that look? I’ve become a little obsessed with huskies recently – well, more than I was before – because of K’eyush the Stunt Dog on YouTube. It’s hilarious how clever and chatty he is – his social skills are better than mine! Check him out if you need a laugh 😛

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks, Jacob! 😃💕 Glad ya liked my little bulldog. And Yessssss!! Huskies are amazing!! And yeah, tonight’s post will be late as I’ve just been enjoying those videos! haha… love it!!!

  10. smzang 4 years ago

    I love it! all of it1 I can feel the velvet of his muzzle.

    Charlie said, “usually always at least one person out there who adored it”

    Many more than one,
    and this one adores the paintings, the stories, the atmosphere.

    Thank you, thank you for the joy of your work.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks, Sarah! 😃💕 I love sketching doggies! hehe So thrilled you enjoyed this! And thanks for saying the atmosphere… I hope if nothing else, I’ve created a fun and entertaining one!

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