World Watercolor Month – Day 23 – A Swan In Two Colors

Day 23 - World Watercolor Month - Getting Wet Swan In The Water - Doodlewash

Today, when I saw the prompt of “getting wet”, my mind somehow leapt to a swan on the water first thing, so I just went with it. Since I’m still feeling rather experimental, I decided to make the swan using a quick contour sketch with sepia ink and only two complementary colors: Azo Orange and Cobalt Teal. I’m always amazed at the range of colors you can get from only two watercolors. I love using limited palettes as one of the things I love most about watercolor is mixing and layering paint. And as for swans, I just think they’re rather beautiful, floating effortlessly across the water, with such a stoic calmness. They seem to be lost in their own little world, with a unique grace that makes them captivating. And seeing them has always made me happy ever since I was a kid. There’s just something about them that seems sort of magical.

I’m also reminded of the classic tale of The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Andersen. It’s a transformation story of how a little duck, considered ugly and abused by other animals on a farm runs away only to discover he’s actually grown into a beautiful swan. What’s not revealed in this story is how the heck a farm hen laid a swan egg, but that’s not really the point. The point, of course, if that we shouldn’t judge others by their appearance, but there’s another lesson hidden there that I like even more. The duck is given all sorts of advice on the correct way to do things, and every human and animal around him is certain that they know what he should do next. Yet, despite all the advice, he still doesn’t fit in. In the end, it’s his passion to find his place that leads him to the very place he was meant to be all along. A group of fellow swans where he can finally be understood and accepted by others.

When I first started painting and posting my work, I felt like each doodlewash I made was an ugly duckling. I didn’t think they were very good at all, but I just kept on painting, posting, and practicing. Not only did my work transform and improve, my passion led me to the best gift of all. Finding all of you, my fellow artists, who made me feel like I finally belonged. Thank you so much, for your kind encouragement and support, not simply for me, but everyone in this big, little community we’ve created together. I’m so happy we found each other! And so today, I once again have a little something to give back to you! I have some more Winsor & Newton watercolour marker samples for the first 10 people (if you haven’t yet gotten one) who comment directly on doodlewash.com with the phrase, “I Make The World Beautiful!”. We, each of us, is a shining light in this confusing world and making art is one of the most incredible things we can do. You don’t have to make something elaborate in order to make people smile. Some days, it’s simply enough, to make a swan in two colors.

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About the Doodlewash

M. Graham Watercolors: Azo Orange & Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A6 Hahnemühle Watercolor Book.
 Day 23 - World Watercolor Month - Getting Wet Swan In The Water - Doodlewash
Recommend0 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 Doodlewash.com, contact me!

73 Comments
  1. Lydia 1 year ago

    This was a hard story for me, even as a child. As you get older, you realize there’s no ugly duckling, because really everyone feels like this, but still. Beautiful painting as usual.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 year ago

      Yes! Totally true, Lydia! 😃💕 I was a chubby kid that didn’t really fit in, so I’ve always connected with this story. And as an artist, I understand it even more. We ALL create beautiful things that are incredibly unique. It’s just a matter of finding our audience.

  2. June Hadaway 1 year ago

    I make the wotld beautiful.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 year ago

      Yes you do, June!! 😃💕 And you’re already on the list for one of these so, yay!

  3. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 1 year ago

    I Make the World Beautiful!

  4. June Hadaway 1 year ago

    What a beautiful swan Charlie. One thing for sure…you are making the world beautiful ALONG WITH ALL THE OTHER WONDERFUL ARTISTS.

    • June Hadaway 1 year ago

      Oops think you have me down for one. But loved your story.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 year ago

      Aww thanks so much, June!! 😃💕 Yes! WE… are making the world beautiful. And that’s such an incredible thing!!

  5. Sandra Gilbert 1 year ago

    This has always been my favorite story… LOL even when my paintings are ugly ducklings I still love them… I know the Swan is in there somewhere getting ready to sing.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 year ago

      hehe… yay, Sandra! 😃💕 Yes, each painting is precious… I always love that I managed to make anything at all! LOL Some I rather like, but the real fun is making them in the first place!

  6. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 1 year ago

    Only you, Charlie, would paint a beautiful swan and connect the classic fairy tale to your growth as an artist. Which is BTW, commendable. Even more is your growth as a cheerleader for art and artists. Wonderful post today.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 year ago

      Aww thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 Yeah, I think cheering other artists on has been the most rewarding part of this journey. Hearing their stories is actually what cheers me on each day. It’s such a wonderful journey!

  7. Sandee Setliff 1 year ago

    Beautiful swan, and I’m amazed at the coloring! I did go get me some sepia pens, but haven’t used them yet, lol I’m buying way too much this month, glad I already won some prizes to offset my spending!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 year ago

      hehe! That was my hope! Such an exciting month, I figured winning some extra prizes would offset things! And thanks, Sandee! Glad you liked this one! 😃💕 You should totally use those sepia pens… it’s a wonderful compliment to watercolor!

  8. Tamiko McCurry 1 year ago

    “I Make The World Beautiful!”.

    • Tamiko McCurry 1 year ago

      I feel that the same way you use to about watercoloring.. But as with anything else the one who puts in the practice can make anything they really want a reality. It also helps knowing along the way u have a tribe of people to support you. Whether they do or dont understand your path, position or need to color.. xoxo

      • Author
        Charlie O'Shields 1 year ago

        Yay, Tamiko! I don’t have you down for this one, so I’ll have a sample sent! 😃💕 And yes! I’m so thrilled we’ve formed this “tribe” together. Art can be lonely, but it doesn’t have to be when you do it with friends from all over the world!

  9. a.filmer 1 year ago

    I make the world beautiful. Thank you, Charlie and Winsor Newton.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 year ago

      Yes you do, Ann! And actually I already have you down for this one, so yay! 😃💕

  10. Erin 1 year ago

    Beautiful story to go with a beautiful illustration as always 🙂 Make the world beautiful

  11. Susan Cuss 1 year ago

    Beautiful swan, Charlie!

  12. Meenakshi Goel 1 year ago

    “I Make The World Beautiful!”Thank you for this super month!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 year ago

      My pleasure!! And yay, Meenakshi!! I’ll have a sample sent!! 😃💕

  13. Manan Gupta 1 year ago

    “I Make The World Beautiful!”

  14. Kirsty R 1 year ago

    “I Make The World Beautiful!”

  15. EK O'Connor 1 year ago

    You make the world more beautiful by creating the World Watercolor Group 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 year ago

      Aww… thanks! But we really just created it all together!! 😉💕 And it’s awesome!!

  16. Lisa 1 year ago

    I painted a picture today that I’m happy with! I indeed made my world beautiful today. (I have this sample already. ) Great swan!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 year ago

      Thanks so much, Lisa!! 😃💕 And yay!! You DO make the world beautiful! I LOVE that you’re happy with your picture!!

  17. Karen Colson 1 year ago

    Hi Charlie, I find myself wondering if you’ve ever considered teaching your art in an online format. I realize you already share so much time and talent with us, But I just wanted you to know – and I’m sure I’m not the only one- I would sign up for your classes quicker than you can say “doodlewash”. Planting a seed …. Karen

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 year ago

      Aww thanks so much for that, Karen! 😃💕 I’ve definitely considered it, but I just can’t seem to find the extra time to do so properly. I’m sure it’s something I’ll manage to make happen one day though!! And great to know I have my first student! Yay!

  18. Shannon 1 year ago

    Oh how beautiful!

  19. Autumn Linde 1 year ago

    I love this post so much! Thank you for sharing…I make the world beautiful! 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 year ago

      Thanks so much, Autumn!! And yes you do make the world beautiful!! 😃💕 And yay… I’ll have a sample sent your way!

  20. Gina 1 year ago

    I Make The World Beautiful!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 year ago

      You definitely do, Gina!!😃💕 I’ll have a sample sent to you!

  21. Jacob 1 year ago

    Talk about swanning in and making an instant impression – although that’s nothing new! 😉 Sooo beautiful! I too have always been enchanted by them. You’ve captured that rather thoughtful, floaty-calm nature of the passing swan perfectly.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 year ago

      hehe… thanks so much, Jacob!! 😃💕 Glad you liked this one… it was a fun one and I was happy with how it turned out. Swans are sooooo captivating. I’m sure I don’t possess an ounce of their grace though. I’m rather clumsy! lol

  22. Laura 1 year ago

    Loved your doodlewash, and I especially loved your story. Thank you Charlie for making the world a better, more beautiful place.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 year ago

      Thanks so much, Laura!! I’m so happy you liked this post! And thank you friend… that’s such a sweet thing to say! 😃💕

  23. Sharon Nolfi 1 year ago

    I love this doodlewash! Beautiful.

  24. Vicki Rowley 1 year ago

    Lovely and inspiring as usual!

  25. Mary McDonough 1 year ago

    Great blog! Thank you, Charlie, for the reminder that we can all make the world beautiful. Your two color palette is amazing, as I was reading the blog in my email I couldn’t imagine how you were going to do the swan. Looks beautiful, I love those colors.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 year ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕 I’m so thrilled you liked this one! Yeah… just a couple of the right colors can make something pretty! I love using a limited palette!!

  26. Mia Archambeault 1 year ago

    I make the world beautiful. Thank you, Charlie!

  27. Michelle Irizarry 1 year ago

    Beautiful painting

  28. Marji Karlgaard 1 year ago

    Too late for the prize drawing, but still, I make the world beautiful!
    Thank YOU for creating a community of beauty makers, Charlie :-).
    Swans on the loose in the art world!

  29. Tina 1 year ago

    What a beautiful swan and I love your post with it. But talking about their calmness – these gorgeous creatures can become quite scary when you kayak past a family with litlle ones … 😉
    “I Make The World Beautiful!”

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 year ago

      Yeah, they’re very defensive when little ones are involved. But that’s just a mom thing! hehe 😃💕 And yay, Tina!! I’ll have a sample sent!

  30. Pili Diaz 1 year ago

    I make the world beautiful. I hope so 😁, but again too late Charlie. I have to wakr in the middle of the night to mske a chance 🤐

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 year ago

      You DO make the world beautiful, Pili! 😃💕 And yes, I’m out of samples today, but you have won something, yet, I don’t think you see my responses. If you happen to, send me a note via my contact form here with your address: https://doodlewash.com/contact/

  31. Linda Olsson 1 year ago

    Beautiful swan and I just love your post ❤️
    Im way too late for the giveaway but hey – we all make the world beautiful. So Im just postumt this to remind myself too.. I make the world beautiful!
    🤗

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 year ago

      Thanks so much, Linda! 😃💕 And, yes, we DO make the world beautiful!! Always good to remind ourselves that fact.

  32. Ellie 1 year ago

    What a wonderful swan! The colors are fantastic and I really like that you used sepia ink. I always liked the Ugly Duckling story and you have certainly done it justice here. Thanks for encouraging all of us to keep true to ourselves and just keep painting!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 year ago

      Thanks so much, Ellie! 😃💕 And yes to that! We should always stay true to ourselves! And definitely try sepia by the way if inking… it’s a wonderful companion to watercolor!

  33. Kyra 1 year ago

    I make the world beautiful!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 year ago

      You DO, Kyra!! 😃💕 And I’m all out of samples for this post, but check back each day in July!!

  34. Gina 1 year ago

    I love the perspective on this swan, very nicely done.

  35. Elizabeth Metz 1 year ago

    For the record, Doodlewash appears to be my swan pond.

    Also, it’s hard to believe that’s only two colors — awesome!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 year ago

      Aww thanks, Elizabeth! 😃💕 Yeah… you can do awesome things with just a couple colors!

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