The Sound Of A Lawn Mower

Day 2 - The Return Of The Lawnmower - #doodlewashJune2018 Doodlewash

On this second day of our June Art Challenge we have a prompt of “gardens” that would most likely bring to mind the idea of flowers or fresh vegetables. Why I ended up with a bug’s eye view of a lawn mower is anyone’s guess really. I think I just always tend to associate the two, because when I’m outside enjoying a garden this time of year, it’s often accompanied by the roaring sound of one of these contraptions, either in the distance or less fortunately, close by. I once lived in a neighborhood where it seemed people mowed in perfectly timed shifts that kept the sound rumbling from sunup to sundown. When they finally stopped the sudden silence was almost deafening. And, sure, some days I just wanted to be outside and hear nature, not the roar of man’s machines, but I grew used to it and there was something rather nice about it. It’s always been a signal that the season has well and truly changed and a signature sound that one typically only hears on a bright and sunny day that invites people outdoors. So that, at least, is a wonderful thing indeed.

As an adult I’ve lived in the city with no lawns to mow, but as a kid, I used to mow the neighbor’s lawns for a bit of extra cash. This was not a job that I was meant to excel at in any way. The goal, apparently, isn’t simply to make the grass short, which was my only approach. The wheels of the lawn mower create little lines and these lines are apparently considered by many to be more aesthetically pleasing when in a roughly uniform pattern. As it turns out, marching around in a perfectly uniform pattern simply wasn’t my style. I never set out to break “the rules,” I guess I just wasn’t paying attention when they were ever discussed. Or perhaps, I was distracted by a squirrel, or another lawn mower. After pushing the mower in a roughly direct path once or twice the boredom set in immediately, and I veered off course. The lawns would end up well and truly cut down to size, but the resulting effect created a wildly jagged pattern that could be seen blocks away. My clients were always gracious, as that’s just how you respond when you assume this strange little challenged kid is simply trying his hardest.

One day, I got extra bored and moved about in a circular pattern just to see what might happen. Mrs. Smith reluctantly paid me for my efforts, but thinking back now to her terse expression, I think she maybe wasn’t thrilled to be the only neighbor on the block with a bullseye on her front lawn. As I think back upon it now, I realize that given any type of brush and a blank palette, I’ve always enjoyed letting the lines take me wherever I feel they wanted to go. And I’ve learned over the years, that precision and exactness is simply not my thing. I just like the general concept of things, the idea of them. I’m far more interested in the feeling of a moment and though I’m quick to spot the details, I don’t worry over them. As I paint each day, I’m still just practicing and trying different things. One day, I’ll figure out how exactly I’ll choose to “art,” but in the meantime I’ll just keep showing up to sketch and learn. And I’m most thankful for the memories that each little sketch evokes. When thinking of gardens can lead me to suddenly travel back in time to enjoy the sound of a lawn mower.

About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Quinacridone Red, Leaf Green, Cobalt Turquoise, Terra Cotta and Cobalt Blue. 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 2 - The Return Of The Lawnmower - #doodlewashJune2018 Doodlewash
Recommended6 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, contact me!

  1. Sandra Strait 7 months ago

    Your lawnmower is excellent. Moving vehicles are a challenge for me, whether in real life or in art, lol. I tend not to like having anything to do with them. I do like the sound of a lawnmower in the distance – it evokes warm, sunny days when school was in recess and all was right with the world.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 7 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sandra! 😃💕hehe… I agree… moving vehicles are tough no matter what! I usually just avoid them as well! 😉

  2. June Hadaway 7 months ago

    Lawn mowers are going all the time here. By the time mine is cut on Fridays it’s time for the neighbor to recut. They cut on Monday so one of the yards always looks like it needs cutting…again. lol You painted a sharp looking mower.

    • June Hadaway 7 months ago

      Funny about the bullseye pattern. Lol

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 7 months ago

      Thanks, June! 😃💕 yeah… the cutting of lawns seems like an endless game this time of year! hehe But definitely a sign of the new season!

  3. Lisa 7 months ago

    Our lawn was mowed today. Then I wrote a check to the girl who mowed it. Best deal of the summer! I love your bull’s eye story.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 7 months ago

      Thanks, Lisa! 😃💕 hehe… yay to writing checks! lol As an adult, I vowed never to have to mow a lawn again and actually figured the costs of those checks into the houses I could afford.

  4. Sharon Nolfi 7 months ago

    I loved hearing about your lawn mowing career! Interesting perspective and accurate rendering of the lawnmower.

  5. SnehLata Maheshwari 7 months ago

    Excellent machine lawn mower.
    It’s really changed for me.nice

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 7 months ago

      Thanks, Snehlata! 😃💕 Painting machines if more fun than actually using them! lol

  6. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 7 months ago

    That’s quite a hefty lawnmower, Charlie, something telling me it’s the grande version of the machine you cut your neighbor’s lawns with. I detect a smiling face on this silver model and maybe a junior grin showed on the one used to cut a target on Mrs. Smith’s grass. I wonder what people might say to the kids who made impressions on their lives were they to see the adults those kids grew up to be.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 7 months ago

      Thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 Yeah, this one is far superior to the one I pushed around back in the day. hehe And interesting to think about. I do wonder what people might think if they could ever see those “neighborhood kids” in their adult form.

  7. Ruth Bailey 7 months ago

    Nice job on getting a different perspective, Charlie!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 months ago

      Thanks so much, Ruth!! 😃💕Been trying to practice perspective a bit more lately!

  8. Mary Roff 7 months ago

    Looks like the Csdillac of lawnmowers , Charlie. Love the story and especially your bullseye moving.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 7 months ago

      Thanks, Mary! 😃💕 Yeah, I’m sure this one is a stellar model. My original one was just lucky that it could roll.

  9. smzang 7 months ago

    ” I never set out to break “the rules,” I guess I just wasn’t paying attention when they were ever discussed.”

    A brilliant nugget in a true gold mine. I love this!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 months ago

      Aww thanks, Sarah! 😃💕 hehe… I do feel it’s actually true. Sometimes it seems everyone else knows exactly what “should” be done and I’m still happily bouncing along doing things my own way.

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