The Good Old Days

Day 29 - Phonograph Watercolor Vintage - Doodlewash

Nearly everything I talk about on this site is a bit nostalgic, our prompt for today. So, I decided to jump a bit farther back in time with this quick little doodlewash of a phonograph, an invention created by Thomas Edison back in 1877. Nostalgia is defined as a wistful yearning of happiness for a former place or time. What makes this idea rather fun is that it’s not required that one has actually lived through that time in order to enjoy the experience. This is proven by the fact that you can still buy record players and bluetooth stereos in the shape of a phonograph today. In this case, it’s an imagined time that seems simpler and more alluring than the present. Truly, we do have a lot of new inventions and tons of social media feeds to check these days, so perhaps things were a touch simpler back then. But, it can also simply be a trick of the mind. My memories of childhood, for example, have a beautiful way of glossing over the bad bits and focusing on only the truly happy ones. That, and simply giving something a bit of distance always makes it seem less troublesome than it might in the moment. Either way you look at it, the past is always here to stay.

It’s fun to see so many young people enjoying vintage objects they themselves have never experienced. And, it’s certainly nice to know that ornate and beautifully created things are still enjoyed in today’s “make it as plain, simple and cheap as you can” world. Objects of the past were created as bits of sculpture. They were wildly ornate as if anything less would somehow defile the amazing creativity involved in the invention itself. And they are still considered valuable objects in antique shops to this day. Many of the objects made today, simply won’t survive for over 100 years, the time required for something to be considered truly antique. In many ways, it feels like we’re moving into a perfectly disposable world where there won’t be many objects of memory left behind. Far less than earlier generations, dating back hundreds of years. And yet, something like this old phonograph, will still manage to exist well more than 200 years later. As the world becomes more virtual, it’s not surprising that people of all ages are craving something to cling to, something tangible. Something that will actually last for years to come.

That’s certainly why I love sketching and painting each day. It’s wonderful to experience doing something that people have enjoyed now for hundreds of years. From those cave paintings of Paleolithic Europe to 1780 when William Reeves created those first hard cakes of soluble watercolor. Each time we grab that brush to paint, we’re part of a rich history. Nothing that requires a hard drive or electricity, but something far more complex. An act that demands our creativity and attention to detail. A visceral and immediate moment with no way to erase, delete, or start over. As more and more inventions come along to make our lives easier, I’m thrilled to be enjoying the original and often more difficult ones. My mind works in a much different way when permanence is involved, and I love the ideas that it produces while in this state. While there are certainly more memories we are able to capture in this day and age, we can just as easily erase them with a touch of button. So, yes, that’s why you’ll often find me longing for and celebrating the good old days.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, Indigo  (my “Vintage” Trio!). 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!
Day 29 - Phonograph Watercolor Vintage Sketchbook - Doodlewash
Recommended2 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!

19 Comments
  1. Sharon Nolfi 2 weeks ago

    Lovely rendering Charlie! Those early phonographs were beautifully designed as well as useful objects. They were built by craftsmen who took pride in their work. I share your appreciation for these enduring beauties.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 week ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕I know! It was such a glorious time. I miss those objects, but I think I’m not alone. They continue to retain their worth in the beauty they possess!

  2. Sandra Strait 2 weeks ago

    Love your phonograph! There is something about old record players. The hiss and pop just seems part of the magic. Clarity of sound is wonderful, but digitally downloaded just doesn’t have the overall ambiance of an old player.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 week ago

      Thanks, Sandra! 😃💕 I totally agree! I can still remember listening to my first iPod and thinking… yeah… it’s super clear, but… kind of weird and lacking a bit of soul. And missing my records!!

  3. Margaret Parker Brown 2 weeks ago

    Beautiful ❤️ I am also a nostalgic person. What I really miss is people talking about the “old days”. As s child that was my favorite thing, listening to the stories. Nowadays people seem to talk about things or their jobs in order to acquire more things. Kind of sad. I am a big fan of period pieces in movies. Sigh…….

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 week ago

      Thanks, Margaret! 😃💕 Yeah, that’s so true… it’s like the past is there only as a bit of trend or something. I’m curious to know what will be considered history and stories years from now. Will the “old days” be “that time I posted something on Instagram and got 1,000 likes”? lol Doesn’t feel like quite the same level of storytelling. 😉

      • Haha! What a thought! Not as alluring though your stories are! 😉❤️

        • Author
          Charlie O'Shields 1 week ago

          Yeah… that doesn’t seem like a story at all! lol I hope that’s not the case. 😉

  4. ehwilson2013 2 weeks ago

    Looks a lot like the phonograph that my grandparents had. I was so fascinated by it as a child when I would visit them. We had a “record player” at home….the version before “stereo “, so the big horn version at my grandparents was novel for me. Great colors on your sketch….especially on the horn! Lovely!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 week ago

      Thanks so much! 😃💕 And wow! That’s awesome your grandparents had one of these. I’ve seriously considered purchasing one… they are just incredible cool!

  5. tanaburg 2 weeks ago

    *Examples of why, we need to practice, BEING “present,” ESPECIALLY, when we FEEL things, are important, to us… 💗💝💞 (Memories, are all that are left, as time passes.)

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 week ago

      So true! 😃💕 I think that’s why I love sketching memories most of all. Making the past a little more tangible in today’s rather intangible world.

      • tanaburg 1 week ago

        *Yes… (&, what I’ve seen, they’re lovely… blending together WELL, with your ✍🏻 Nice, work 😉

  6. Lisa 2 weeks ago

    I like to temper my longing for the good old days with the self knowledge that if there arent flush toilets, I’m not interested! 😂 And, the treatment of women as second class citizens was de rigueur even in the fairly recent past. What I really long for is childhood, and the magic that it held for me.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 week ago

      haha!! So true! My other grandmother (the one I don’t really talk about because she was just odd and mean) had an outhouse her entire life with no indoor plumbing. That, I certainly can’t imagine as the “good old days!” lol Yeah, I think childhood was wonderful… it’s great to enjoy life before well and truly becoming a gender. 😉

  7. smzang 1 week ago

    Charlie says, “it feels like we’re moving into a perfectly disposable world”

    Indeed it does! It’s kind of like Teflon, nothing sticks like it used to. Sometimes
    I think progress comes at a terrible price.

    Your painting (as well as your writing) makes music in the soul. Thank you!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 week ago

      Thanks so much, Sarah! 😃💕yeah, it’s totally Teflon! Just a menagerie of fleeting trends that never quite stick. I think that’s why so many of the youth among us enjoy all things vintage. 😉 It’s tough to find something to ground you when you lose traditions.

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