For our prompt of “Ducks” today, I ended up with a quick doodle featuring a couple of mallards. I love seeing ducks when we go to the park, and this variety of duck is one of my favorites. The ones I normally see are quite calm and simply swimming from one side of the pond to the next. They seem very content, so I decided to sketch them in more animated poses as if excited to see something new. I’m often quite content in my own daily routines, but inside, I always have a longing to try something a bit different as well. Sometimes, that little urge is there, prompting me to wonder what things would be like if I wandered just outside my comfort zone. Actually doing so, of course, is easier imagined than actually done. There’s so much comfort in the known and the tried and true that moving a bit outside of all that can be equal parts thrilling and downright scary. But, as the new year begins, I’m hoping to venture to more places in my sketchbook and try those uncomfortable things more often.

One of my dreams is to illustrate my own books, and well, write more books that could use those illustrations. Yet, dreams like these can get a touch frustrating when you can’t pursue them full time or even half time. I’m only able to grab a little hour each day to practice and play, which is still quite a lot during a busy day. That said, it’s not enough time to pursue all of the wild and wonderful projects that are currently swimming around in my brain. But, that’s okay. I can still push projects along by doing just a tiny little bit on them when I can. It’s surprising how much I’ve been able to accomplish in this way. So, I know in my heart that somehow, almost miraculously, those things will one day happen. In the happy meantime, I’m just going to keep on writing, sketching and playing each and every day. That’s the thing about a hobby. It’s always fun until it starts to feel too much like work. It’s why I’ve always protected my own hobby by doing what I love most and not always what’s expected.

This keeps things fun and it’s how I’m able to keep coming back for more. And while I’m doing what I can, I’m always dreaming of what I might do next. I’ll imagine the wildest scenarios where I’m a bestselling author or can finally draw anything that’s in my head just perfectly every single time. I would no longer have to abandon an idea because I’m just not skilled enough yet to make it happen. None of these things may ever actually happen, of course, but dreaming about them always makes me feel like they’re at least possible. For me, life is made more beautiful by those possibilities. No matter how farfetched they seem in the moment. The very idea that something could happen, no matter how improbable, keeps life exciting and interesting. Sure, it might be great to have all of my dreams come true, but sometimes I’m not so sure. Sometimes, I truly feel that life is truly best exactly where I am at this very moment. And that makes me quite happy, as I continue to fantasize about what’s actually on the other side of the pond.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Quinacridone Red, Leaf Green, Cobalt Turquoise, Terra Cotta, Indigo, 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!
Mallard Ducks Pond Cattails Watercolor Painting Sketchbook Detail

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34 thoughts on “The Other Side Of The Pond

  1. Oh breathtaking!!! love love your ducks!!! Every day we show up we are making amazing beautiful things happen so here is to the lovely little sparks in each day that help us get closer to the bigger sparks;our bigger dreams. 🙂

  2. I’m with you on dreaming and doing things out of the box. I hate to say it, but having more time free doesn’t always equate to getting more done – sometimes it is the exact opposite. ‘m getting ready to start my next Diggory book and this time I’m going about it differently so that hopefully I will be able to publish it. Fingers crossed, all my ducks out of the row, and 1-2-3-GO!

  3. Beautiful work on those ducks! Some years we have mallards mating near our pool. The couple have an elaborate courtship ritual played out in and around our pool. Then they disappear, until one day the female shows up in the pool with a dozen ducklings following her around! It’s a great joy when this happens. Unfortunately, although the duckings follow mom into the pool, they can’t get out because of the deck overhang. We have to scoop them up with a net while mom watches. Once this happens, she guides them somewhere else.

  4. Charlie says, “In the happy meantime, I’m just going to keep on writing, sketching and playing each and every day.”


    I think mallards are a most beautiful duck. You have captured that green so beautifully.

    Just a thought from an old friend (emphasis on the ‘old’) when i was approaching fifty, lack of time was a major frustration. I worried that by the time I could retire, I would have lost the spark and my dreams of writing would be gone. Turns out that isn’t so. I am still frustrated by a lack of time, but my focus has switched so that the writing is now my primary focus. There is a natural growth. Your talent and your art will keep you young and growing (and Little Charlie will too). I think you are DOing just what you are meant to DO and DOing it very well.

  5. Ducks appeared in my emails, my mind took me away thinking little white ducks orange beaks…cruising about the pond. WOWEE wonderful mallards. outside your comfort zone is a good place Charlie!

  6. Your text makes the title sound like a metaphor. I would say: fly, Charlie, or: may you fly one day or something like that.
    I dream that I could draw and paint as good as you can. Haha.
    And I dream of purchasing a Da Vinci Palette once, here in Europe.
    And so on.
    But those are small dreams and just for luxury. There are other dreams… <3

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