I almost didn’t post this doodlewash, because when I showed it to Philippe he simply stared at it a bit, squinted and said, “But what is it?” What made this worse was that it was something we had both seen on our walk together. I said, “You know, It’s that hole with all the foliage and graffiti where some guy had been drinking beer. It’s sort of like a Velveteen Rabbit story set in the big city.” No response.

The truth is I don’t have any clue what this is or why anyone would have a desire to paint it, but this is the next stop on our tour. It just intrigued me because I’ve always liked mysterious passageways that lead somewhere you can’t quite see (this is a dangerous habit in the city, but I try to only wander like this before the sun sets).

I remember several years ago when I was on a photo shoot in LA, a colleague with another advertising company told me a story. Another Creative Director he had worked with came into the conference room to meet a set of clients who didn’t like what her team had produced because they didn’t understand the design choices.

She just looked at them and nodded, then paused and, in strong measured tones, quietly said, “It’s Hong Kong… at midnight.” Not wanting to appear stupid they all looked at each other, paused, and then smiled and started enthusiastically congratulating her on a wonderful design. Needless to say she was immediately my new hero.

Any time we create something visual and share it, we’re often subject to a jury of our peers and quickly find out whether or not they find it interesting, pleasing, or just plain weird. This can often create pressure, as I pulled this one and wasn’t going to post it. But I created it because it spoke to me, and even if it’s weird, who cares, right?

So I’m letting us all off the hook. Don’t worry what people think, just keep doodlewashing and show us what you did! There’s something gorgeous sitting in that trash bin or in the discard pile that needs to be shared. If you made it, it’s art, end of story.

Well, not quite the end. The next day I showed Philippe again, this time calling it “Urban Jungle” and he said, “Oh, that’s cool!” So if you find yourself thinking what you just made is crap, trust me, it isn’t. It’s truly beautiful because it’s a story seen through your eyes. And because of that, you’ve definitely captured something unique, wonderful, and very likely just as beautiful as Hong Kong… at midnight.

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42 thoughts on “Urban Jungle

  1. So glad you decided to post this, Charlie. It’s different, and wonderful. I am a total sucker for those guiding pathways and teasing doorways; they add a whole extra layer to the image as we try and figure out what lurks ahead with the information given. The beyond doesn’t look too sinister to me, it looks far too vivid and inviting to be so… but yes, after sunset and touched by moonlight, the vibe might be very different… eek!

  2. Looks like a mysterious door to somewhere…and you are right, the names we give can make all the difference. But I like it no matter the name. I like a bit (OK sometimes a lot) of ambiguity…(K.)

  3. As soon as I saw your drawing it made me think of a gate near a garage at an estate I visited. It was set in a stone wall and was almost completely covered in plant life. I loved the mystery of that gate too! Great message as well. I’m going to dig out some stuff I wasn’t happy with and give it a second look…

  4. Really cool, Charlie! sometimes I think…well, if I have to explain it…was it worth drawing or painting? but yes it is, because it spoke to me. thanks for that reminder. I love the verdant opening into another part of the city. well done.

  5. I’m glad you posted this Charlie! 😊 I really like it – a passageway into our art journey perhaps – which at times can feel a bit like an urban jungle. And I agree with your message here. It is important for me to tell my stories with my art too. 🎨💜🌟

  6. I like it too! It’s very cool. Not only tells a story about the passage, but about the imagination of the artist himself. Thank you for sharing, Charlie. I can’t tell you how many leaves I thought weren’t even worth posting that people here really loved. So either they’re just being kind (which could be), or we should be resurrecting lots of stuff from the scrap pile! Press on, my friend. (Hub is similar to Philippe in terms of screwing up his eyes and looking at me cockeyed sometimes. Especially with the abstracts! I’ve refrained from snacking him (so far)). Happy Friday my friend!

  7. Personally I think this sketch is something new and dimensional in how you approach your art. You are taking me through a doorway and giving me a glimpse of beyond, you allow my mind to wander into a space that isn’t completely defined. Instead of seeing something defined in front of me you have presented a place I can only imagine, I engage differently and take a personal journey into your painting. Sorry, I didn’t mean to go off on a tangent, too early for that on a Friday morning. I love a secret doorway covered in vines! More please!

  8. Thanks for posting this. I think this is really good! When I was younger, I loved to explore hidden paths or passages. I’m more scared now.. Lol. I think more artists should post what they consider their “oops” because we all have them.. ❤️

  9. Secret gardens, mysterious doorways and barely visible pathways…the lure of the unknown…FANTASTIC! Lead on, oh charming guide ;D.This is a beautiful painting of something that caught not only your eye, but your fancy…and that is all that is needed to tell a story, or present the start of one that we the viewer gets to elaborate on while enjoying your art. Thank you for sharing your lovely art and your positive point of view.

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