Imagined Places

Two Rabbits With Storybook Mushrooms Watercolor Painting Illustration

For our prompt of “Mushroom” today, I made a sketch of a couple of bunnies nestled in some colorful oversized mushrooms. I’ve been seeing lots of little rabbits in my neighborhood so they were the first creature to come to mind today. Our little puppy Elliott, who is not quite as little now as when he arrived a few months ago, often tries to chase them. When they run and disappear into a bush or a bunch of flowers, he stops immediately while seemingly transfixed and in complete awe, as though they’ve magically disappeared into an alternate dimension. While I know that’s not likely what happened, it’s fun to consider the world through his eyes. Perhaps those bunnies were just visiting our world for a moment before dashing back to a much more colorful and peaceful storybook world. It’s fun to dream about such things and even more fun to sketch scenes from my own imagination like this one. I’ve always loved dreaming of imaginary places ever since I was a little kid, so it’s fun to bring those places to life, at least on the pages of my sketchbook.

When I was a kid, I remember playing inside the branches of a weeping willow. The willowy green limbs sagged all the way to the ground, creating a cool and inviting dome of shade during the summer months. It was like nature had created a fun fort just for us kids. I remember the dappled light through the leaves and how it didn’t simply shine, but actually seemed to sparkle. The effect was truly amazing and made me feel like I had actually traveled to another dimension. Or, at least that’s where my imagination would take me. In the summer evenings, the sun would start to disappear and would be replaced by the intermittent glow of fireflies as they danced around the base of the tree, pulsing dots of green and gold light. While the effect was incredible to witness as it naturally occurred, I would dream up stories about magical fairies and tiny aliens, not necessarily in the same story, but sometimes it could happen.

In truth, anything could happen. That was the beauty of letting my mind take me wherever it wanted to go. I know I still do this quite often as an adult, but I have to remind myself to go there. It’s not quite as natural as it used to be when I was young. Yet often, when Philippe and I are taking our pup for a walk, we’ll invent dialogue for the various creatures that we encounter along the way. It’s fun to imagine what a bunny might be thinking as they sit stock-still waiting for us to pass. Or, to dream up what that groundhog is thinking about while sitting upright and watching the setting sun. Those squirrels are definitely plotting something, and we’ll come up with an ever-changing narrative of what they might be planning next. What seems in the moment as just a lot of silly fun is really so much more. I love bending my mind away from the monotony of reality and letting my creativity take me to more fanciful locations. It’s that childlike superpower that never really goes away. Just beyond that next mushroom, there’s a world of possibilities to be explored if we free our minds and take the time to visit and enjoy those wonderful imagined places.

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Two Rabbits With Storybook Mushrooms Watercolor Painting Illustration Sketchbook Detail

Recommended4 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Mary Roff 9 months ago

    This is so delightful, Charlie!!! Our backyard was full of sweet rabbits when we lived up north. I’ve seen exactly one rabbit since moving down here many years ago…and that sighting was at a car dealership when we were buying a new car….of all the places to see a bunny!
    We had a weeping willow “fort” in our backyard too and we spent hours there….dreaming, scheming and planning ways to save the world. Your post brings back lots of good memories!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕 That is definitely not the place you’d expect to see a bunny! hehe So, happy this post brought back good memories!

  2. Sandra Strait 9 months ago

    I’ve never seen fireflies (it’s on my bucket list) but we have bunnies aplenty. One of the things I like about living on a lake is that you do get to see lots of baby wildlife. More birds than anything, but they’re all magical. We get the mushrooms too, but they aren’t always so magical.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      You totally need to see those fireflies one day. It’s worth a trip! 😃💕 And yeah, we don’ have the magical kind of mushrooms here, but that what I like to imagine and paint! hehe

  3. scrittoralinda 9 months ago

    Ah Charlie I know how it feels to do that. When I was 12 or so I would lie in bed for hours and listen to the heater do its bang bang zip ping bang and envision an army of tiny carpenters building mystery into the basement. The soughing of the heater became (as noted in my writing book) the winds of time blowing over a forgotten desert grave. Then came the foghorns across the Fraser River ….

    And here my grownups thought I was finally asleep and staying out of mischief. Cackle.

    Nice sketch as usual!!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      Thanks so much, Linda! 😃💕 Aww I love the idea of tiny carpenters… hehe… that’s so fun! Creative mischief is always okay. 😉

  4. Lulu Segel 9 months ago

    So fresh and fun.
    So many rich places to go in the world you described. A wonderful adventure! Much like my own experience as a child. And how I miss those weeping willows!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      Thanks so much, Lulu! 😃💕 Yeah, such great memories. I miss those weeping willows too!

  5. Marisela Delgado 9 months ago

    Hola, mi amigo, Charlie! Such a sweet painting and story like always. I laughed out loud when you said the squirrels were plotting something. They are sneaky and cunning, aren’t they? 😂😂😂 I hope you and Philippe are staying safe and careful with the heat. We’ve cooled down to 99*F. It sounds crazy, but it does seem better. 😂😂😂Sending you hugs, my friend.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      Hola, mi amiga! 😃💕 Squirrels are definitely always up to something! lol We’re hiding from the heat here… or waiting until the sun starts to disappear before heading out. Elliott isn’t too happy about that, though! hehe Hugs to you, my friend!

  6. Gary Middleton 9 months ago

    That’s a great picture, Charlie. My brother and I used to build camps in the garden when we were young. Like Sandra, I’ve never seen a firefly. It must look magical if you do.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      Thanks so much, Gary! 😃💕 Garden camps sounds awesome! love that! Fireflies are so magical… Elliott saw his first one the other day and was totally mesmerized… before trying to eat it. 😊

  7. Lulu Segel 9 months ago

    Charlie! I see the heart on one of the dots on the mushroom 💖🙌
    That’s awesome!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      hehe!! Yeah… I tend to do that without thinking about it. You can find little hearts in lots of my illustrations. 😉

  8. catholicpsychdoc 9 months ago

    I love your art. I use the prompts to doodle 2 inch stickers for my 12 great grands. They are not super critical as long as great grandma remembers to send the 2 origami dollar bills with them. The envelope I send all of this is a coloring page. Hopefully, they are being inspired to “do” art,

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 months ago

      Thanks so much! 😃💕 Aww… I adore that you use the prompts for that. I bet the grands are thrilled to receive that gift. Definitely will inspire them to “DO” some art!

  9. shawnthompsonart 9 months ago

    Nice drawing of the bunnies and the magical ginormous mushrooms. I really like the bright red in the mushrooms, and your use of primaries, blue shadows in the bunnies, yellows in the grass / mushrooms.

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