Philippe and I have a running joke that while we’re out during the day, our dog Phineas has his friends over. These friends consist primarily of a raccoon named Bob and a little squirrel that we’ve dubbed Michael. The reason for this entourage is that they are what he sees from the terrace and more than once, each of these animals has crept over to see him. Since Phineas is a basenji and doesn’t bark, he just stares at them and his lack of barking fascinates them equally. It’s funny to watch as normally sworn enemies simply seem to apprise each other of the day’s latest events. So, we decided they must certainly be his friends now and he has them round while we’re not watching. Michael the squirrel is actually his best friend in our story, though they aren’t currently on speaking terms since Michael lost in a game of poker and scurried off before paying Phineas. Some people just talk for their dogs, but since ours can’t even bark, we invent rich histories. Oh, there’s a black cat named Cindy that he doesn’t like at all, and frankly during Halloween month, having Cindy slink across your path is a bit ominous. I’m not superstitious it’s just that she’s a bit creepy and seems to really know how to work it. Yes, we do have human neighbors, but making up stories for them would just be weird.

Since Philippe and I are happily polite, but not overly social, I’m quite sure the neighbors have created stories about us to fill in the gaps. We only attend one garden party a year, so much of the “catching up” bit is a touch more like a game. Us revealing the truth as they compare it to the stories they’ve created in their heads. And as I type this, I realize we’re not much different than poor Cindy the cat who is likely also an introvert since she can always be found wandering alone. To a highly social and gregarious human who refers to herself as a “people person” we come across as downright odd, and maybe even a bit creepy like Cindy. Though I like to think of it as just being a bit mysterious. In truth, like many artists and writers, a quick google will reveal more than you ever wanted to know about me. It will lead you to these stories filled with truth and brimming with the actual events of my life. Far more than I would ever chose to reveal if we were chatting at a party. I’m probably not alone there, we don’t often tell each other our deepest thoughts while chatting at a gathering. That would also just come across as a bit weird.

Yet art has that wonderful quality of freeing us from those pedestrian constraints and inspiring us to reveal deeper bits about ourselves. Yeah, even when you’re just sketching stuff, like me. An artist’s view of the world is a wonderful thing indeed. It’s not built from facts as much as truth. Sketching is always a vivid retelling of life, no matter what is sitting before us when we create. Regardless of any mad sketching skills we bring to the table, our own hearts will tip the pen or brush in another direction. Though we might be trying to faithfully recreate something from life, our imaginations take us on a different journey. There, anything is possible. I can, for example, create a portrait of Michael, who appears to be only a bit of wildlife, yet is actually my dog’s imagined best friend. Crazy, to be sure, but the very best kind of crazy. The version that makes life richer and dreams more beautiful, not for the pure events that happen, but for the ideas they create in our minds. And can be made entirely possible by the most unexpected of things, like that one little squirrel.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, and Indigo (my “Vintage” Trio!). Photo Reference (CC BY-SA 3.0): Nicko Margolies . Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black 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 16 - Squirrel Watercolor Inktober Drawing - Doodlewash

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24 thoughts on “One Little Squirrel

  1. Michael is such a handsome squirrel. He’s plump and pleasing,
    I sure hope he hasn’t been eating all the acorns instead of storing
    them for winter. I’m thinking Phineas has advised him to save a proper
    portion for a snowy day. I am intrigued by the idea of Phineas and friends
    having afternoon socials, or maybe even brunch, while you and Philippe are away.
    I want a copy of the book when it comes out. This post, both prose and painting
    really make my day! Really super!!

    1. hehe! Thanks, Sarah! 😃💕You’re so sweet and supportive! I can’t thank you enough. You make me feel like what I make and create has real value! And I hope I can stay on track to get this book out before Christmas! 😉 It’s focus is on prose, so the illustrations will be black and white. Far more affordable as it’s passing 200 pages. 😊

  2. So cute!….Phineas and friends! If only they could talk. Your story would make a great book with illustrations. Hint! I am a bit of a mystery in my neighborhood too. I would never be accused of being the nosy one, however, my friend, who is very out going, seems to think I am isolating myself when she doesn’t hear from me for a few days. Little does she understand how much I enjoy my quiet, creative times.

    1. Thanks so much, June! 😃💕 Yeah, people sometimes don’t understand that when we creative folk go “dark” we’re taking a moment to find the light. 😉 And I am planning a book with illustrations to come out before the holidays, if everything works out to plan!

  3. Spot on! He is cute. Your story made me smile this morning. Great way to start the day. Reminds me of a bunny I befriended this summer. The owners couldn’t catch him for about 3 months. I slowly started leaving food for him. I would go out and sit near the food a little closer each day. On the last day of his visit,(which I did not know would be his last visit) he was sitting on my lap and I video recorded him eating. I heard the owners had caught him and were going to relocate him to a better home environment. I named him Bob. He was only in my life for a week, but what a wonderful week it was!

  4. I often wonder if animals invent stories about us? Koko, the gorilla used to call women, Lipstick, because so many of the women she knew used it. Makes you pause for a moment when you catch yourself talking baby talk to one of them -‘Oh my!’ the dog thought to himself, ‘They’re forever babies!’

    1. Now that’s an awesome thought! 😃💕 I adore the idea that animals would invent stories for us! And yes, I’m quite sure Phineas would define himself as a forever baby. If it means he gets more things for that! lol

  5. Aww, he’s adorable! I like the use of blue in this one, it really works. I remember one of the first times I travelled to London, I took my camera. By far the best photos I took that day were of some squirrels in St. James’ Park – such fun!

  6. Ha! I’m not interesting enough to Google i like to think, but if you did, you would find lots of stuff about me too. Besides poetry, there are book reviews from when I was working as a library director, and lots of social media stuff too. But still, boring.

  7. Charlie, you are a great storyteller ! Your animal stories reminds me of stories from Jataka tales, Panchatantra and Hitopadesa. Recently, my 11 years old daughter and her friend did a puppet show from the Jataka tales. And, I made watercolor stick puppets of the hunter, tortoise, woodpecker and deer for them.

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