Holding On To Autumn

Ornamental Gourds Pumpkins Squirrel Watercolor Illustration

For our prompt of “Gourds” today, I initially sketched a few and they looked lonely, so I added in a squirrel admirer. As many of you know, the best friend of our dog Phineas is a squirrel named Michael, or at least that’s what we’ve imagined. Michael’s curiosity is amazing to behold and he’s often poised on a flower pot or peering around to admire something. As much as I’d like to think my own curiosity is like this, I think I can learn quite a lot from Michael. And, this time of year boasts ornamental gourds of all types and I’ve always loved seeing them appear to signal the return of autumn, which is my favorite season. I opted for the more pumpkin-like style though there are lots of weird and wonderful gourds to behold. Some look a bit gnarly and bumpy like a witch’s nose. They are also far more challenging to sketch and I didn’t have that much time today. But, I do love the odd and strange looking gourds you see this time of year. There’s so much personality to be found there. In lieu of that version, I’m offering up curious Michael as my personality infusion to today’s sketch.

Philippe and I were looking through a magazine this evening that’s showing various gifts and foods for the holidays. Actually, it’s happening as I type this so I have to pause regularly each time I hear him squeal with delight. We’ve currently hit a page that’s telling us how to reinvent mulled wine and as far we we can tell from this over-the-top recipe you might not remember your evening at all if you drink it. Now the dessert pages are coming up so the squeals are getting more frequent. Philippe’s favorite seem to be the holiday sweater Christmas cookies. We actually have lots of cookie cutters that are sitting on a shelf looking forlorn, having never been used. While there are reindeer and snowman, there’s not a sweater cutter among them. I just mentioned this irony to Philippe and asked if we needed to get some more cookie cutters. He just smiled in that way that’s entirely inconclusive. So, I’ve no idea if cookies of any kind are on the list this holiday season, but I’m thrilled to find out what comes next.

As much as I love this time of year, it seems to fly by quicker than any other time of year. There’s lots of anticipation, and then suddenly it’s all over and the New Year has begun. It’s like, if I blink, I’ll miss it. I’ve already gotten three presents for Philippe this year, which I’m rather proud to declare. Last year, I was very last minute and all of the things I found that would be really cool had to be shipped from overseas, so I was too late and they would never arrive in time. This year, I’m making sure I’m way ahead of schedule. Two of the three presents are already hidden in my closet. Not one of them is THE gift, that big one which comes at the end of our exchange on Christmas Eve. I’ve still not figured out that one yet. Truly, the more years spent together, the harder it gets to surprise and delight him. We know each other too well by this point in our life and want for far less as we get older. There’s a certain beauty in that as well. So, as I experience the rush of the holiday season, I’m just feeling warm and fuzzy. That wondrous feeling that comes as a new decade quickly approaches, while I’m still blissfully holding on to autumn.

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Ornamental Gourds Pumpkins Squirrel Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail
Recommended8 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
29 Comments
  1. Karen Fortier 1 week ago

    It looks like Michael is going to steal one of your gourds, Charles!😂 great post!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 week ago

      Thanks so much, Karen! 😃💕 I’m sure Michael would if he could carry it! hehe

  2. Sandra Strait 1 week ago

    Your little Michael is so sweet! I need to get going on my hubby’s Christmas present – it was supposed to be his birthday present but he asked for something specific and my muse hasn’t wanted to participate. He agreed that he wanted it to be good rather than just on time, but that was back in June! This is why I don’t like doing commissions – even as gifts for loved ones!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 week ago

      Thanks, Sandra! 😃💕I’m sure he’ll love it when it’s done though, so totally worth it. I hope you’ll share it when it’s done!

  3. Lisa 1 week ago

    Xmas gifts are so hard. Really, I don’t need anything, and if I do, I buy it myself. So, instead of getting me a thing, Joe will be building me a couple of raised garden beds next spring. I am getting him some electronic thing he wants, but that’s easy because he has to tell me exactly what it is and where to buy it. Takes away the surprise, but assures we will be delighted. My birthday is a week before Xmas, so he usually has to come up with something for that too unless I find some art supply that I can drop hints about.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 week ago

      hehe… I’m sure you’ll find some art supply to drop hints about! 😉 And we’ve mostly moved to wish list items and tiny cheap surprises. We just like having gifts to open so honestly, anything could be inside! lol

  4. Purnima Manjunath 1 week ago

    Awww! That’s very adorable! Love the gourds!

  5. Sharon Nolfi 1 week ago

    Life-like sketch of our friend Michael! He likes to play hide and seek among the gourds.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 week ago

      Thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 Yeah, he’s constantly weaving in an out of things. Quite graceful!

  6. Zertab Quaderi 1 week ago

    Thanks for passing on the feeling of warmth and celebration to us! The giddiness in your post is contagious!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 week ago

      Thanks, Zertab! 😃💕 yay! I’m glad I’m spreading good cheer!

  7. smzang 1 week ago

    Michael looks like he’s playing a cello and really getting into it! I love it…and I love autumn.

    Charlie says, “As much as I love this time of year, it seems to fly by quicker than any other time of year. There’s lots of anticipation, and then suddenly it’s all over and the New Year has begun.”

    That is just the way it happens. It distresses me to note that the years are passing faster and faster. I tried taking the batteries out of the clock but that didn’t help at all.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 week ago

      Thanks, Sarah! 😃💕 Oh wow… Michael playing a cello would be awesome!! hehe Yeah, I would love time to slow down a bit more. It feels like it moves way too quickly these days.

  8. Jerson Antao 1 week ago

    Can i take one Charlie!..😊 Nice one and nice rendering.

  9. Mary Roff 1 week ago

    Michael is adorable! It’s no wonder that he and Phineas are friends. The gourds are beautiful too!!

  10. Ellie 1 week ago

    Adorable, Charlie! I laughed out loud when I saw him hiding behind the gourds – ready to take one of those to his own den. I hope Philippe makes those sweater cookies so you can decorate them in crazy ways. And enjoy the coming weeks!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 week ago

      Thanks, Ellie! 😃💕 hehe… glad you enjoyed Michael’s escapades. And yess!! I want though sweater cookies! It would be so fun!

  11. Mireya 1 week ago

    Love the story. Yes what a cool friendship between a dog and a squirrel. I often dmire them in my park and why at the site of Roxy and I, they hurry to the top of the tree. Anyway there’s a lot we can learn from our animal friends. Will you be baking cookies? That would be a fun post. Happy holidays! Thanks for writing this blog as it makes me smile and sometimes at the moment I need it the most.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 week ago

      Thanks, Mireya! 😃💕 So thrilled these posts make you smile! And I’m trying to hint to Philippe that we should bake cookies this year. I just want to decorate them like I did when I was kid. hehe

  12. Lisa Ann Ulibarri 1 week ago

    Aweeeeeeee so sweet!!! I do adore Michael!!!! Some great gourds too!!! We already got our second snow lol. Oh well gives me a reason, as if needed one, to have more hot chocolate! lol 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 week ago

      Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕 Glad you liked this! I just had to sneak Michael into the mix. And ANY reason is a good one for hot chocolate! 😉

      • Gaina 1 week ago

        Squirrels are incredibly cheeky, aren’t they? I love the way you pack so much personality into your animal characters. 😁

        I definitely think you need a sweater in your cookie cutter selection. And the most gaudy food colouring you can get your hands on for the icing. *nods head convincingly* 😇😁

        • Author
          Charlie O'Shields 1 week ago

          haha!! Me too!! I’ll have to work harder to convince Philippe this needs to happen! 😉

          • Gaina 1 week ago

            I’ll provide backup if necessary. 😉 😂

  13. shawnthompsonart 1 week ago

    Nice picture of the Gourds and Squirrel!!

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