The Other Side Of The Pond

Mallard Ducks Pond Cattails Watercolor Painting

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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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

Recommended5 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Lisa Ann Ulibarri 3 years ago

    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. 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕 Glad you enjoyed my ducks! And love what you said! That’s SO true!

  2. Mary Roff 3 years ago

    Love your ducks! They look like they’re having a grand time!

  3. Sandra Strait 3 years ago

    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!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      So true! I find more time can make me more idle! And yay to your book! 😃💕 That’s awesome!! DO it!

  4. Jennifer Bates 3 years ago

    Love your ducjs

  5. Karen Fortier 3 years ago

    Fabulous playful ducks Charlie! Pushing outside your comfort zone and doing something unexpected gets easier each time you do it. I am having fun doing a bit of that.😉

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks, Karen! 😃💕 So true… getting outside one’s comfort zone just takes practice like everything!

  6. Sharon Nolfi 3 years ago

    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.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 Oh that’s so wonderful that you had little ducklings! And that you were able to guide them safely on!

  7. Lisa 3 years ago

    I hope you’re planning on doodling a goose tomorrow. Just sayin’!

  8. smzang 3 years ago

    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.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Sarah! 😃💕 I really appreciate that. Some days it feels like I didn’t do much to move my dreams forward, but showing up is DOing that… one little day at a time.

  9. Amelia walters 3 years ago

    Do so hope in your so busy life and days that you will produce a second activity book Charlie. First one was so good and I am revisiting it…..

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Amelia! 😃💕 It’s on my list to DO within these first few months. I actually have two planned! SO thrilled you enjoyed the first one!

  10. Gary Middleton 3 years ago

    Brilliant. The thing I love about mallard is that in all that drab plumage you get the beautiful green and blue.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Gary! 😃💕 Yeah, I agree! I love those pops of color. And this time I decided to add more into the drab plumage to spice it up a bit. hehe

  11. Tazzie 3 years ago

    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!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Tazzie! 😃💕 Glad you enjoyed my rowdy mallards! hehe

  12. Heidi S. 3 years ago

    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

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Heidi! 😃💕 I hope you fly on as well and that all your dreams come true!

  13. LoriCtoo 3 years ago

    Wow! You nailed these. Kudos to you for moving out of your comfort zone. That is something I should do with my sketching too. It really does help you grow.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Lori! 😃💕 Yeah, I’ve been doing that since October more often. It’s fun to push and try something that seems too difficult or different!

  14. shawnthompsonart 3 years ago

    Nice painting of mallard ducks, you really captured the motion well.

  15. Linda Calverley 3 years ago

    Lovely ducks, look like they are having fun.

  16. Priscilla DeConti 3 years ago

    Your ducks are amazing! Thanks for sharing your thoughts..can’t wait for that book !! 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Priscilla! 😃💕 So happy you enjoyed my wild ducks! hehe

  17. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 3 years ago

    Mallard ballet – what a fun scene. Seems a great possibility for a story plot needing lots of pictures.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 hehe…. yeah, this does look like the beginning of a story!

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