Happy Impossible Moments

Baby Elephant And Baby Giraffe Birthday Party Watercolor Painting Illustration

For our prompt of “Surreal” today, I wasn’t quite sure what to sketch. Then, the more I thought about it, I realized that most of my sketches are a touch surreal since I use animal stand-ins rather than people. So I just imagined a quiet little birthday party with two of my favorite animals. When I was in art school I did enjoy some of the actual surrealist artists we studied like Salvador Dalí. But, what I loved most about Dalí was that he was just so weird. It was freeing to think about having permission to be weird and think thoughts that didn’t always come to other people’s minds. My own thoughts weren’t the dark nightmares that many surrealists shared, as I didn’t really have dreams like that. My dreams were more optimistic and always centered around happy impossible things. Those things that a kid might imagine so vividly that it feels like it simply must be possible after all. So, today, I simply dreamed about being invited to an impossible party to celebrate the life of a little baby elephant.

It’s actually been years since I’ve either had a birthday party for myself or attended one for a friend. As everyone got older, those parties seemed to happen less and less. I have to admit though, that I never really enjoyed being the one who was the center of attention. It felt a bit stressful to mingle and make sure I saw and thanked everyone who managed to show up that evening. The reverse is much simpler as I only have to say something nice to the birthday boy or girl and then grab someone else who’s planned to do the very same thing and head off to a corner where the two of us can chat quietly all night. Though yeah, I did like opening gifts, just because little surprises are a wonderful thing indeed. Yet, when I think back to when I was a kid, I can’t remember many of the birthday presents I received. Perhaps because my mind is instead immediately filled with lovely thought so cake and ice cream.

Philippe’s birthday is coming up next month, so that’s likely why this idea came to mind. I’m not sure what I’m getting him yet. I personally always have a wishlist of some kind going for all of the little treasures I happen across, but Philippe is much less inclined to do so. In truth, if either of us actually want something, we tend to just buy it already. So, when these special occasions come, it’s truly tough to come up with something to give each other. I opt for small things as neither of us really need anything else to add to our lives. But, necessity is not what birthday parties are all about for me. I think they’re best enjoyed when you get something that would never appear if such an occasion never occurred. Something fun and unusual that seems completely frivolous, yet oddly perfect. It’s not quite like a dream come true, but more like a dream discovered, in one of those happy impossible moments.

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Baby Elephant And Baby Giraffe Birthday Party Watercolor Painting Illustration Sketchbook Detail
Recommended1 recommendationPublished in By Charlie
31 Comments
  1. Cathy France 1 month ago

    Bonjour, il fait nuit ici en France, pour l’anniversaire de Philippe, lui faire son portrait en aquarelle, et le partager avec nous – serait formidable

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Bonjour, Cathy! 😃💕 I’ve only sketched him once in a way that actually resembled him. I don’t really enjoy painting people as much as animals, they’re more universal! 😉

  2. Sandra Strait 1 month ago

    Philippe sounds like my husband – he’s almost impossible to buy for. He’s got it easy with me. He just tells me an amount and I go out and buy something with it, lol. These days I write a book for him once a year and that’s all he gets, but it makes him perfectly happy.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      That’s a beautiful gift indeed! Love that! 😃💕 Yeah, Philippe has become increasingly tougher to buy for… hehe… but I always come up with a little something at the very last minute, of course!

  3. writerleenda 1 month ago

    Charlie I knew without reading first that your mind would go straight to desserts! Heheheh. Do you think Phillippe will share his cake? I knew a woman who got a watermelon and stuck candles in it for her kid’s birthday, fourth or something. I can’t imagine.

    • Mireya 1 month ago

      I know cake is my favorite.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Oh that sounds like a terrifying birthday party indeed! lol 😉 Though I do like watermelon, it’s simply not meant for such an occasion. He always shares his cake! It’s the same one each year from a local bakery. I just have to remember pick it up.

  4. Karen Fortier 1 month ago

    Wonderful birthday party Charlie! Wonderful fall day here. I hope it was nice there too! We cleaned up a bit in the deck construction area, I got to do some art, worked on a Pop-Up Shop which will open soon and we got to relax.

    • Marisela Delgado 1 month ago

      Hola, Karen! I don’t know where you live that you have already experienced frost, but I want some of that cornbread that you made the other day! haha haha 😁😁 I am in San Antonio, Texas and our heat index will be 100*F tomorrow. We are still running the A/C. haha haha We stay tan year round. 😎😎😎 On top of the tan I was born with, that is. 🌞🌻🌼🌸 Have a beautiful day!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks so much, Karen! 😃💕 Sounds like a lovely day indeed! It was beautiful yesterday, but stormy all day today here.

  5. Lisa 1 month ago

    I was lucky to have my friend stop by today and bring us a cheesecake. We masked up and wandered around the yard looking at what is left of the summer garden and offering to share whatever is ready to be split in the spring. I have enough day lilies and iris to fill two gardens.

    As for Philippine birthday, he’s a cook and loves to do it. As a fellow cook, I would love someone to buy me a truffle, or a jar of caviar, or an expensive bottle of champagne, or some other indulgent food that he would love, but wouldn’t buy himself because its too extravagant. Some other things I look at every year, but pass on because it seems too extravagant are live lobsters from Maine, a big wedge of parmigiano reggiano, or some very aged balsamic vinegar.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      That sounds like a lovely time! And cheesecake… even better! And those are wonderful ideas! 😃💕 I was thinking caviar might be a wonderful thing indeed!

  6. Marisela Delgado 1 month ago

    Charlie, this has got to be the cutest one of your paintings! I think it is my favorite and that is saying a lot because I have loved your paintings. 😀 Before I forget, your painting of the old record player in your “related articles” section was like a splash of cold water. Not in a bad way, but I had a flash back to playing with one when I was a kid. I totally forgot about that! Wow, what a memory. I don’t think it was mine, but my neighbor’s. I THINK. Anyway, I love it! 💜
    Okay, Charlie, here’s what you do about Philippe ‘s birthday. He cooks so YOU cook for him. I kinda suspect he wouldn’t let you, but you do a sneak attack. You send him to walk Phineas and you bake him cookies. Bingo, bango, you got your cookies! You just have to pretend they’re for him. Do you see my plan here? haha haha haha I am totally joking! 😂😂😂 Just a suggestion: I don’t know if you have heard of Beekman 1802 bath products? Their products are all natural (no chemicals) and made with goat milk. They smell fabulous especially the Fig scent. Yumm. They are so incredible and they leave your skin so silky soft. They have scents for men, but my favorite is the Fig. Just a suggestion. 🌞🌼🌞🌻

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Aww thanks so much, Marisela! 😃💕 So thrilled you enjoy this one! And happy that record player brought back good memories! haha… my present is staying out of his kitchen! I’m not allowed there after attempting to cook for him early on. He likes good food more than a good attempt! 😉 Lovely suggestion on the bath products though, I’ll look that up!

  7. Mireya 1 month ago

    you should write these stories and shae them.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      I do share my stories here and in the podcast and one book so far! 😉 Hoping to write other stories to share in books in the future!

  8. Mugdha 1 month ago

    Hello Charlie,

    I LOVE today’s Doodlewash is an understatement! Love is too small a word for how I feel about it. Am unable to decide which bit of the sketch I like best. I too never liked parties but I probably wouldn’t mind going to the one you’ve painted. And I too love opening gifts, however, am great at thinking of what to give someone else but lousy at coming up with an idea of what I’d like. So I always ask for a children’s book. That makes me completely happy. 🙂 And if you’re looking for the perfect gift for Phillipe, being a chef I know what he’d probably like – a simple meal cooked by you! Im positive you’re a great cook too.

    Love,
    Mugdha

    • Marisela Delgado 1 month ago

      Hi, Mugdha!
      I read your reply. You’re sweet. 💜💜 I know how you feel about feeling sad. Today, I had a really good cry. I don’t really have anyone to talk to or cry with so I pour my heart out to the One who always listens – my best friend and my Lord Jesus. Charlie knows my story. I was seriously injured just over 7 years ago. I cut a varicose vein while shaving my legs and it turned life-threatening pretty quick. It also caused me BRUTAL pain. I was in pain for the entire 7 years because pain medications do NOT work on me. I had other painful injuries and very scary complications. I faced surgery twice. I am just now finally feeling better and was ready to try and go back to work……and then covid. As an added kick to the face, my love, my beagle, Monster died. He would whimper and nudge me with his nose when I was in really bad shape and crying out in pain. He was my love, my little boy. My “family” was indifferent and turned their back on me and my so-called friends disappeared. I was left all alone…except for that One Person I told you about. 🌻 I give you only what I have: talk to the Lord. Cry with Him. Be brutally honest with Him. Pour your heart out to Him. Jesus is great at listening and will give you the peace that you need. 🌼🌸🌞💮🌻 I will be praying for you. Sure, maybe one day we will meet. With God, all things are possible. If you come to San Antonio, let me know and I will take you out to eat some awesome Mexican food. (My mother is from Mexico.) Chubby people know where the good food is. haha haha tu amiga/your friend, Marisela 💜💜💜💜

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks so much, Mugdha! 😃💕 So thrilled you enjoyed this one! Actually, I’m not a great cook or even an acceptable one. Early in our relationship, he choked down one thing I made and then lovingly told me never to worry about doing that again. As it turns out, really great cooks like eating really great food more! lol But I’ll come up with something that’s fun to get him I’m sure!

  9. What a beautiful, happy image. Nailed it again, Charlie! 🙂

  10. LoriCtoo 1 month ago

    I want to come to this birthday party please! You should turn this sketch into birthday cards! Its so cute!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks so much, Lori! 😃💕 Yeah, I was thinking about cards for this one, as soon as I figure out how to set that up! hehe Glad you enjoyed it!

  11. Fatima Chamkha 1 month ago

    Fantastic birthday party and so cute !

  12. Priscilla DeConti 1 month ago

    Love your painting and I miss the parties and being with family and others..I hope I can have a nice celebration next year for my 70th ..😊

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks so much, Priscilla! 😃💕 Oh I’m sure you’ll have a lovely 70th party my friend!

  13. Jacob 1 month ago

    That’s one heck of a party – I pity whoever’s cleaning up after them!

    Salvador Dalí also created the Chupa Chups logo, which were handed out at lots of parties I went to as a kid. I wouldn’t mind if they were still handed out now, to be honest! I actually preferred my own birthday parties, because that meant I knew exactly who was coming. Being thrown in at other parties with friends of friends who I didn’t know used to stress me out… at least, until they brought out the cake.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks so much, Jacob! 😃💕 haha! Yeah, the cleanup on this one would be rough indeed! Aww cool about Dalí ! That’s awesome. And true on parties… it is always better when I know the entire guest list and apparently it’s rude to ask before agreeing to attend someone else’s! 😊lol

      • Jacob 1 month ago

        LOL! As bad as it probably sounds, when I’m invited out people will often just tell me who else is going as I’m more likely to tag along that way. I don’t even need to ask anymore!

        • Author
          Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

          hehe! Yep… they automatically do the same with me as well now! 😉

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