During my life, I’ve often found myself being a bit of a “shrinking violet,” our prompt for today. I’ve never been a fan of large crowds and prefer spending time with just a handful of people or, even better, one very good friend. This shyness is why I only appeared via a podcast last year for the first time, and on video just a couple of weeks ago for the first time. The latter was a huge step for me, and took almost four years of blogging daily before I finally made the leap. But, I’ve never been shy about posting my art and ideas. I don’t think any of us should ever be shy about that. Those are things made far more valuable when shared with others. When it comes to posting art, the biggest hurdle is getting that inner critic to stop babbling on about what’s wrong with everything. Everything we make could be better, but what’s really better in the end? I choose to think in terms of what’s best. And the best thing we can ever DO is show up and share what we create. It’s that simple. As simple as this little flower sketched in the 15 minutes that I had available to make something today. A flower that didn’t exist 15 minutes before that. I find to be the best thing in the world!

As a kid, I battled shyness when it came to talking to people that I didn’t know very well. It’s why you’d find me writing and doodling much of the time. I had ideas I wanted to get out, but I didn’t always know how to express them. When I was in high school and college, I did the seemingly unthinkable thing of becoming a stage actor. Something one wouldn’t expect for a shy person. But, that wasn’t me on stage. It was a character that I created, and not really me at all. So, I could be anyone I wanted and had no shyness about appearing in front of thousands of people. But today, I’m just me. The real, happily flawed and sometimes ridiculous me. I’m not a character at all anymore. So, this journey has been an enlightening one indeed. It’s why I was so slow to show up on video. I mean, it’s the real Charlie, without a persona to hide behind so I was admittedly a bit nervous. But that’s the wonderful thing about a “DO” mentality. It pushes us out of our comfort zone and onto the next phase of our journey.

I’ve got lots of things planned for the next phase of my own journey. More books, and yes, more videos are all on the list. Though I have no firm idea of when each will happen, I know that like all the things on this adventure, they’ll happen at just the right time. And like everything done with pure passion, it’s going to be a lot of fun in the process. Thanks so much for your kind words and encouragement along the way! It’s helped me come out of my shell and show up with more confidence that I actually do have something of value to share. The truth is, I sincerely think that we all do. Whether we’re just at the start of our creative journey, in the middle of figuring it all out, or a master in our field. Our stories matter. They are the bits of us that connect with the remarkably similar bits of others. The world is always somehow a bit clearer when viewed through someone else’s eyes. In the stories of others, we’re reminded of what we already know, but it makes life more comforting to discover we’re not alone. So, I thank you, from the bottom of my heart for taking a moment out of your day each day to read these stories from the shy guy.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Opus (Vivid Pink), Aureolin, Leaf Green, and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black 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 5 - Purple Flower Watercolor Illustration - Doodlewash

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31 thoughts on “The Shy Guy

  1. Lovely violet, shrinking or not. I was painfully shy until I got to college, so I can relate to your story. Sharing stories is a lot of what life is about – we see and understand we’re not as different as we imagined.

  2. Your flower is absolutely perfection!! I grew up hearing “children should be seen and not heard” a lot…made it more difficult for an already shy kid. It’s really weird because I am definitely more comfortable in a small group of people, totally, and I mean totally,freeze in front of a video camera but loved my public speaking classes in college and rarely have a problem speaking to a room full of people. But it took finding Doodlewash to help me banish that inner critic…thank you, thank you, thank you, Charlie and all of the wonderful people who share their work. It’s an amazing journey we all share.

    1. Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕And yay!! I’m SO thrilled Doodlewash has helped you abolish that inner critic! That’s awesome! That’s the exact place I hoped to create… the same one I needed.

  3. Lovely violet, Charlie, but I would never think of you as a shrinking violet, although I know that feeling all to well. I was painfully shy as a child, too. I thoroughly enjoyed your video on S.R. this week, especially with the dramatic effect of the thunder! I’ve had fun doodling along in your book, too! Not sure if I ever told you this, but you were the first non-relative or already-friend to comment on my blog when I started my WC journey. The few moments it took you to say some encouraging words meant the world to me and opened me up to other likeminded folks on WP. Those words gave me momentum to continue on and get better, and for that I am eternally grateful to you! 😘 PS: I love your blue glasses!

    1. Thanks, Carol! 😃💕 hehe… so happy you like blue glasses! And yay! I’m so honored to be the first one outside your social group to notice your beautiful talent! That makes me so happy! And so thrilled to see what you continue to make. Never stop… it’s all so wonderful!

  4. I was beyond shy up through my 20s. To the point where I would get physically sick at the thought of even going to work each day. These days I would probably be diagnosed as having a social anxiety disorder, but they didn’t have names for such things back then. I finally decided I was going to get over it, and pushed myself until it wasn’t (as much of) a problem any more. I still have to watch it – if I don’t push myself, I start getting more and more nervous in new situations. Sharing my art is one of the ways I work past it and you’ll never know how much you ramblings hit home and how much they mean to me on those days when the dark side is urging me to turn aside from something because it is too scary.

    1. Aww thanks so much, Sandra! 😃💕 Back at you! It’s a wonderful feeling to know we’re not alone on this crazy journey. Yeah, I grew up in the same time where they didn’t have names or meds for every little idiosyncrasy. In many ways, I feel a bit lucky. I’m not entirely sure I would have been this happy had I been made normal. 😉

  5. so gorgeous!!! And I can relate to the being shy myself. But I do love the idea of community. Such as art communities where we all cheer each other on and inspire each other. That is a beautiful thing.

  6. I used to be shy. It was even written on my first grade report card. I still am a little shy in one on one situations, but give me a group, where I can clown around a bit, and I’m the life of the party.

    Turns out that I don’t have a plan, or goals for my painting. Make pretty pictures is about as far as I go. I realized that as I was reading your essay tonight. It’s unusual for me. That first time I got an email that my poetry chapbook was selected by a publisher, I was over the moon, happy dance thrilled. I had always wanted to write a book and here it was. When one of my paintings was selected to be in a juried show, I was happy, but it wasn’t the same. I’m wondering if it was because it wasn’t a lifelong dream. Even though I’ve been artsy all of my life, there wasn’t that same burn that I had for writing. I don’t have any answers, I’m really just noodling around with some thoughts you inspired.

    1. See? You like the stage a bit as well, Lisa! hehe 😃💕 yeah, I was the life of the party at times as well. And that’s so interesting! I think I feel much the same. Writing was always my dream, so my art hasn’t quite felt as precious. And now I’m in a perfect mix of the two, so it’s made me feel free to have fun either way! And, of course, made me fully confused as to what I want to be when I grow up. 😊

  7. Oh Charlie it was so nice to see you in “real life” that video was good! And you know by now…all those positive comments. You really touched an art piece 🙂 I can explain good what I mean because I am Dutch and not good enough in english.

    Thank you and thank you for your book! It is very good, you are very good in teaching, it is built up in a good way. We take it with us on holiday next week and will enjoy it together.

    And…I was in a coffee bar waiting and I decided to scribble and doodle just te way you said in the book. And it was fun and took me over the shyness to draw in public.

    1. Oh, Mique, that makes me SO happy to hear! 😃💕Thrilled you enjoyed the book and that it helped you get over your own shyness. Thank you so much for buying it! Yeah, I never considered myself an art instructor and I probably still don’t, but I’m a guy with a passion who hopefully has some good things to share. 😊

  8. This little viola reminds me of the little purple volunteer pansy I discovered yesterday. I discovered while cleaning out my dead plants. A happy little surprise to keep me motivated! Your ramblings inspire me and conjure up various thoughts every day! Thank you! Keep up the great work!

    1. Thanks so much, Lori! 😃💕Thrilled my ramblings inspire you! hehe… I never know what I’ll write or if it will even make sure, to be honest. But, I keep showing up each day anyway! I think, in the end, that’s what we all should DO!

  9. I suspect that most of us have shy moments when we just want to hide in our corner and watch the rest of the world jitterbug. Maybe your shyness receded as you gained skill and confidence in your art. Then, you’ve always had a passion for engaging the rest of the world.

    1. Thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 Yeah, my shyness is still there in abundance, but thanks to encouraging comments like yours, I’m working through it. My core passion is and will always be promoting and inspiring others, but in the process, I hope to make my own little mark as well.

  10. I’ve always applauded inwardly your openness about your shy nature. Yet, you involve yourself in arenas that place you front and center. THAT…is quite courageous and admirable trait, Charlie. Good for you! I always seem open, strong, confident, but inside I’m jelly, hoping to fit in, offer my opinion and believe in my opinions, and art is not exception. I dislike and find fault with everything I paint, and am startled when others offer the opposite. I believe they’re being kind. So Charlie, you are not that shrinking violet because you DO put yourself out there, and that takes enormous courageous. Change that old tape in your yellow Walkman to a shiny new DVD (and paint it first to make it so, as Picard would say). Well done in every area, Charlie O’Shields. Take that bow on the first curtain call!

    1. Thanks so much, Fanna! 😃💕 You’ve always been so sweet and supportive and I can’t thank you enough for that encouragement my friend! You definitely make want to come back and post each day! ❤️

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