The Season Begins

Cardinal Pine Cones Branch Watercolor Painting

It’s the beginning of the month and that means a brand new Doodlewash art challenge! For our first prompt of “Pinecone,” I sketched a couple of them and added a cardinal for some festive color. Many of you know that I adore this time of year and that my inner child starts doing backflips the moment this month begins. And, these childish acrobatics don’t stop until the New Year begins! Though I always approach life with my inner child by my side, this month, he is totally in charge. Despite wanting to just go ahead and be a kid again, this month is actually one of the busiest of the year. There’s travel and last minute details to attend to at work, before I can relax into the month properly. Yet, making a moment to sketch something is always on the list! I was once asked if I would miss sketching stuff if I ever took a day off. The answer, of course, was a resounding yes! So, no matter how busy the month gets, I always carve out a little bit of time to make something appear on paper. It’s a magical thing indeed, and there’s nothing more fitting during a month like this one. So I hope you’ll sketch and paint along with me as much as you can this month!

Each year, Philippe and I have a tradition that involves our own Lego Advent Calendar as well as one filled with treats. Yes, we have two advent calendars, because, why not? That’s the fun of being an adult without little ones in the house. You don’t have to demonstrate the good value of showing restraint. It’s equally why Philippe and I can both get a bit out of control this month. When both of you turn into children, there’s no adult to balance things out. But, that’s precisely why I adore this month most of all! If you haven’t guessed by now, Philippe is normally the adult in our relationship. The one who tries to keep things in check and not let everything devolve into reckless abandon. It’s quite a skill when living with someone like me. I’m so prone to bounce around between ideas as well as passions and there’s always something new and shiny that catches my eye. I approach everything new that excites with zealous enthusiasm. It’s equally why my art can sometimes bounce around in different directions, but I hope it all looks rather like something I’d make.

The upcoming week is a bit crazy. We are heading to Texas on Thursday and then instead of returning home with Philippe next Monday evening, I’m now heading to a brief stop in Charlotte, North Carolina for a work presentation. This bit of the trip takes place in less than 24 hours and then I’m back home again the following afternoon. I’m already exhausted thinking about it, and no idea when I’ll sneak time in to sketch, but that’s never stopped me before! Once home, thankfully, I’ve only five business days before I’m off work for the remainder of the year! So, I’m excited for that time as things slow down a bit once more. While I should have lots of things planned for my time off, I’ve instead planned nothing at all. Outside of Christmas and New Year’s Day, I’m just taking every moment as it comes. They’ll be sketching and writing, to be sure, but outside of that, I’m going to relax and enjoy a little break. This will indeed involve lots of things to amuse my inner child as I experience the glittering world of pure love. Love for all of the beautiful things in life that matter most, enjoying my favorite time of the year once again as the season begins.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Gold Ochre, Quinacridone Red, Cobalt Turquoise, Leaf Green, Terra Cotta 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!
Cardinal Pine Cones Branch Watercolor Painting Sketchbook Detail
Recommended6 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
34 Comments
  1. Mary Roff 5 days ago

    Wow!! All those days off to fill with fun things to do on a whim….sounds like a fantastic month!!! Wonderful pinecones and cArdinal…the perfect way to start the month!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 days ago

      Thanks, Mary! 😃💕 hehe… yet another reason why I adore this month! Time off to play!

  2. Karen Fortier 5 days ago

    Fantastic post to start the month with, Charlie! We are starting December with a major snowstorm which might last for a few days. Nice to be home this evening.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 days ago

      Thanks, Karen! 😃💕 Glad you enjoyed this! And stay warm at home my friend!!

  3. Zertab Quaderi 5 days ago

    Your sketch and post sure do ring in the month of December with much pomp and festivity! It’s got me excited too! Thanks, Charlie!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 days ago

      Thanks, Zertab! 😃💕 yay!!!! I’m so thrilled to hear that! yeah, I’m a total excited child all month this month! hehe!

  4. Bonnie Ottaviani 5 days ago

    Wow! What a fun and busy month you have. Your doodle for today is lovely. I agree, finding time each day to do the things we love is so important. Thank you for the reminder!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 days ago

      Thanks, Bonnie! 😃💕 Yay to doing things we love… it’s so tough when we get busy and easy to forget.

  5. Sandra Strait 5 days ago

    You are going to be busy indeed! I’m glad you’ll be getting some days off soon!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 days ago

      Thanks, Sandra! 😃💕 Me too! Actually, it all takes place in just this very next week, and then… home and bliss!

  6. Lisa 5 days ago

    Wouldn’t it be great if all this fun stuff could be spread out a bit? We are having company leave tomorrow, and more come to visit on Friday! I’ll hardly have time to clean the house between them. Good thing no one ever visits to check on my house keeping skills! Lovely painting today!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 days ago

      Thanks, Lisa! 😃💕 hehe… yeah, if anyone visits to check house cleaning skills, then need to be shown the door! lol This season is just together time fun! Yay!

  7. Lisa Ann Ulibarri 5 days ago

    Breathtaking!!!! And here is to another fabulous month of fun creativity!!! 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 days ago

      Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕 Yay to a fresh new month! It’s always so exciting and I love seeing what everyone comes up with!

  8. Robert J. Coleman 5 days ago

    The cardinal and pine cones so invoke the spirit of the Season. Sounds like you will have plenty of time after this week to find your inner Charlie. Enjoy the hunt!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 days ago

      Thanks so much, Bob! 😃💕hehe… yes! I love visiting family, but I’m also happy to be home and ready to enjoy the season!

  9. adnanaslamdar 5 days ago

    Superb photo and superb start of new month December Charlie

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 days ago

      Thanks so much, Adnan! 😃💕Hope you have a wonderful December!

  10. Gary Middleton 5 days ago

    I’m looking forward to next next month of prompts. Nice painting.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 days ago

      Thanks, Gary! 😃💕 Yay! I’m thrilled to hear it! I am as well! Some fun things on the list this month. Can’t wait to see what everyone makes!

  11. Jerson Antao 4 days ago

    Yes! December month is more of snowfall and when christmas is around the corner your paintings gives me the feeling more of it.I love December month. keep going Charlie!😊😀🌲

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 days ago

      Thanks, Jerson! 😃💕 And yay to December! It’s such a wonderful month indeed!

  12. Mike Powell 4 days ago

    I love your cardinal, Charlie. It is perhaps my favorite winter bird, because even in the darkest, most dreary winter days it provides a spot of bright color. I love that you have no plans for your free time later this month. I just got back from a three week stay in Paris. I had no real plans beyond my flights and Airbnb apartment. I brought along two guidebooks but never opened them. I did a lot of walking and went on a couple of sketching tours–it was great. Your postings like this one are a welcome reassurance that it is more than ok to live my life like that. Thanks, Charlie.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 days ago

      Thanks, Mike! 😃💕 SO true! That spot of color is so needed this time of year. And that’s so awesome you were in Paris for three weeks! I would love that! When we visit family we can never manage more than two. And sketching tours? What’s not to love about that? Sounds to me as if you’re living your life exactly as it should be lived! 😉

  13. Laura Kate 4 days ago

    Can you share a photograph of your Lego advent calendar? It sounds delightful.

  14. Loan Anh Pham 4 days ago

    Beautifully done, Charlie 🥰. I love your story, many joys have being come ❤️

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 days ago

      Thanks so much, Loan! 😃💕Thrilled you enjoyed this! Here’s to a wonderful December!

  15. Darlene Campbell 4 days ago

    I LOVE this one so much! A cardinal on a pine branch! I can’t imagine anything more vibrant!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 days ago

      Aww thanks, Darlene! 😃💕 I’m so thrilled you enjoyed this one!!

  16. Linda Calverley 4 days ago

    We don’t see cardinals here so I’m quite fascinated by them. Enjoy your trip.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 days ago

      Thanks, Linda! 😃💕 Yeah, it’s so fun that some people’s everyday birds are exotic to others no matter where you live!

  17. smzang 4 days ago

    Charlie says, “We are heading to Texas on Thursday and then instead of returning home with Philippe next Monday evening, I’m now heading to a brief stop in Charlotte, North Carolina for a work presentation.”

    I can imagine that Little Charlie is chafing at the bit to be done with schedules, anxious to be where he’s going (well, maybe not so much the business part, but knowing that young fellow as I feel I do, I’m pretty sure that he will turn even the business trip into an adventure that inspires.) Your words remind me of Frost’s “miles to go before I sleep”. Your cardinal looks so beautifully comfortable on that pine branch. Bright eyed, he looks as if he, too, might be thinking of Christmas.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 days ago

      Thanks so much, Sarah! 😃💕Glad you enjoyed this! haha!! You’re soooo right! Little Charlie was perfectly annoyed that his plans were interrupted with adult nonsense! 😊

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