An Odd Little Picnic

Day 18 - A Strange Little Picnic - #doodlewashJune2018 Doodlewash

For our art challenge prompt of “picnic” today, I was running well short on time and just decided to dash off a quick sketch of an an imagined picnic. The kind where you have a couple of glasses of wine, some cheese and bread, complete with a romantic score playing in the background the entire time. Of course, you’d need a proper basket similar to something I’ve seen at World Market. The truth is, I’ve never had this kind of picnic so the output was a bit whimsical and strangely surreal. My actual experiences were only family picnics which were often hilarious and had more of a comedic score in the background, complete with cartoon sound effects. We weren’t quite so civilized in our approach, and instead, focused on having as much fun as humanly possible without getting a sunburn. The food consisted of hot dogs and hamburgers and whatever potato salad someone managed to make that day. Later in life, at family reunion picnics, we’d be burning in the heat amongst little wooden tables in rural America using an airstream trailer for a toilet. And I have to admit, it was totally awesome!

We didn’t have wine, only beer, and half of what we ate came out of a bag. It was a far cry from the horribly romantic picnic basket I had only seen in movies. The kind with civilized little nibbles of things and a bottle of wine with glasses made of actual glass. I assumed these types of gatherings were reserved for the rich folk, but we poor folk really knew how to live it up and make the most of a sunny day. My family is what one might describe as inelegant, lacking those upper crust skills that demand linen napkins. Life is just life after all and there’s really no need to make such a fuss about it. While others set the bar high and demanded only certain luxuries, we ignored the bar entirely and just focused on enjoying every moment as it came. And I have to believe that this is a rather amazing skill. A skill that I brought into my adult life, even learning to love wine and cheese, and forgoing food served out of a bag. There’s a time for seriousness, but I’ve never quite been able to discern when that actually needs to take place.

No matter how civilized I become, I have never become so much so that I forget to have a ton of fun in the process. My family taught me that. Just be yourself and forget about what everyone around you has to say about it. That’s the beauty of family, if you lean into it. You never have to go through the arduous process of trying to “fit in” because you already do. They are your people, even when they don’t seem similar to you at all. That’s a wonderful gift of being a painter, as you can spot similar reflections in such wonderfully unique things. For me, I think painting and sketching each day has brought me closer to my family. To begin to focus less on the dissimilarities and instead find all of the ways we are painted in common. This always brings me so much joy. We can often grow up wanting to define ourselves in a way that makes us distinct from our family. This is definitely a wonderful aspiration as well, but I still love to focus on the things that make me ridiculously me. Those things that my wonderful family reminds me of every time I have the pleasure to happily attend an odd little picnic.

About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Nickel Azo Yellow, Leaf Green, Quinacridone Red, 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 18 - A Strange Little Picnic - #doodlewashJune2018 Doodlewash

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!

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14 Comments
  1. June Hadaway 2 months ago

    Your basket is a fine one….filled with a beautiful bottle of wine. Lovely shade of purple it is. Family picnics definitely were always so much fun for me as well and so my husband and I continued the tradition. Picnics were a welcomed treat. I miss those days! You need to go to the beach and take a picnic basket with you. Life is just too short!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much, June! 😃💕Glad you liked this, it turned out a bit surreal to me! hehe Much like family picnics which I adored! Such much days! Life is definitely too short to wait for things you love!

  2. Sandra Strait 2 months ago

    Your picnic basket looks delightful, and actually something that would work well for a day of plein air painting with friends.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks, Sandra! 😃💕 hehe.. you know I’ve only ever done that once with my friend Aesha. I should make a point to try that again!

  3. SnehLata Maheshwari 2 months ago

    Picnic basket is pretty . beautiful colours as well.and the family pinici is tremendously helpful to all members. Love the story. thanks.

  4. Sharon Nolfi 2 months ago

    I love the over-sized wine bottle! Your family picnics sound perfectly wonderful. I have similar memories, except for my family the food was Italian, and lots of it.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Yeah, the wine bottle had to take center stage! LOL 😃💕 Thanks so much, Sharon!

  5. smzang 2 months ago

    “Life is just life after all and there’s really no need to make such a fuss about it. ”

    I am amazed by the easy way you manage to include the most earth moving statements.
    Your every post is a goldmine. As a miner I am hard pressed to decide which is the most awesome nugget.

    In this piece it was a toss up between that one and this one:

    “That’s the beauty of family, if you lean into it. You never have to go through the arduous process of trying to “fit in” because you already do.”
    I think you will be known as the Philosopher Painter. It is pure joy to read your
    posts and see your paintings. Thank you!

    The picnic basket is authentic and brings back a ton of memories. Ours had plastic plates and utensils, lemonade and an assortment of culinary delights … fried chicken, potato salad, and chilled concord grapes from our arbor…oh goodness, now I’m hungry again! All that mingled with the scent of “Off” because the mosquito should have been the state bird of Maryland. They were large and hungry, and while we were not particularly troubled by ants or bees, the mosquito usually put an end to the evening (and often times to romance : )

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks you SO much my friend for the constant encouragement! 😃💕 The writing bit is actually the hardest part of all for me in these posts. Each time I dash off a sketch, I think… oh no… now I have 600 words to go! hehe And I never know quite what is going to come out, so I’m thrilled that you enjoy what does! Also, adoring the idea that a mosquito could be State Bird! That’s awesome!!! LOL

  6. Laura Hale 2 months ago

    I’ve always admired those same baskets at World Market as well! I have to admit I enjoyed your Doodlewash far more and the backstory that accompanied it. Thank you again Charlie. I hope our children have similar feelings when they recall all the silly, fun things we did together while they were growing up.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much, Laura! 😃💕Yeah, I’m totally getting one of these baskets one day! hehe And I’m thrilled you enjoyed this. I too hope that children today have those same wonderful feeling when they think back to growing up!

  7. Shar Kennett 2 months ago

    Glad you included the red wine…Malbec, perhaps?

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