Pat-A-Cake

Cat Paws Playing Patty Cake Pat-a-cake Watercolor Illustration Painting

For Day Twenty-One of World Watercolor Month, and the optional prompt of “Tactile,” I imagined playing a rousing round of pat-a-cake, or sometimes called patty cake, with a cat. Not entirely sure how I ended up here, but it’s the first thing that popped to mind so I just went with it. I used to have a very complex sort of hand patting exchange with a good friend in grade school. We’d devised a series of different ordered gestures that involved smacking a pair of our closed hands together, hand smacking, hand shakes, and even finger snaps. It was silly fun, but what made it even more awesome was when we’d get the whole sequence going on a steady repeat and try to increase the speed as we went. If neither of us ended up being smacked in the face during our wild enthusiasm it was considered a success. By the end, our hands were bright pink and our hearts were quite happy. That friend moved away, and I haven’t tried anything like that in years, but it was fun to think about again today.

Our secret handshake game was just a complex version of pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker’s man sort of thing… and then that devolved into a range of lyrics usually personalized for the people involved. Or totally made up for the fun of it. After a of year of quarantine and the death of handshakes, it’s fun to think back to simpler times. I don’t actually mind handshakes going away as I never really liked them. And, since people I meet in business meetings have never once challenged me to a game of pat-a-cake, nothing much has really changed. I’m actually rather protective of my hands since they’re what I use to write and sketch stuff so I can’t risk the rough games of my youth that left them red and swollen. But, as I was thinking back to those times, I did try the “moves” again to see if I could remember the sequence. I think I recalled most of it, but there were still little bits that I couldn’t remember.

Memory is a funny thing and I’ve realized that any sort of wonderful memory is still wonderful with or without complete accuracy. I tend to remember things being super incredible, but in reality, they were probably not that amazing. Yet, it’s the sheer joy that I recall and that’s memorable enough to still feel when I close my eyes and think back to those moments long ago. Even if every little moment gets a bit blurred, that feeling is always in sharp focus. It’s why I love to recall being a kid and pulling back those feelings while I sketch and create. Philippe and I both enjoy Lego, puzzles and playing games. Even our dog Phineas will play like a puppy anytime there’s even a morsel of food involved, at least. Looking at things through the eyes of a child opens up my mind and heart and allows to me to make things really quickly. It’s not about precision, it’s about connection and fun. It’s very freeing to lose the very idea of perfection, and simply approach sketching as one would approach a lovely round of pat-a-cake.

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Cat Paws Playing Patty Cake Pat-a-cake Watercolor Illustration Painting Sketchbook Detail
Recommended4 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
9 Comments
  1. Mary Roff 2 months ago

    Adorable, Charlie! Pat a cake sure does take me back a decade or two…or….It is interesting the things that come popping into our memory at times.

  2. Sandra Strait 2 months ago

    I love that feeling when you’re painting and everything mark you make leads you to making another mark. Those are always the best paintings!

  3. Marisela Delgado 2 months ago

    Um, have you ever traveled to Mexico? You can’t meet or shake someone’s hand (or TRY TO shake their hand) without it turning into a five minute hand trick. It gets annoying pretty fast after meeting several people. I guess they thought it was cool and were trying to show off for the “American girl.” I thought it was annoying and would pull my hand away. They probably thought I was snobby, but it just got old. Of course, that’s quite different to what you and your friend had going. It was cool because you were a willing participant. It was a secret handshake of sorts. Have you ever asked Philippe to try your special handshake? What would his response be? I’m laughing already, but it would be so cool if he agreed to try it. I’m imagining a blank stare, followed by a, “Why?” 😀😀
    I thought of you today because my mother and I went out to eat and I had chicken fried steak. The name of the restaurant, you ask? GOOD TIME CHARLIE’S! 💜💜💜

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks, Marisela! 😃💕 I have been to Mexico, but only once years ago. And I haven’t tried Philippe to get Philippe to do the handshake… hehe… mostly because I can’t even quite remember it all! And yay for chicken fried steak! Yum! And that’s a great name as well! lol

  4. Gary Middleton 2 months ago

    That’s a great doodle,Charlie. To my eye he’s waking on one off those glass floors you get in tall buildings. The look on his face says that he’s enjoying the experience.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much, Gary! 😃💕 Yeah, I used a bunch of references for this one and a couple of the cat paws I think were on glass. hehe

  5. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 2 months ago

    The world might be a better place were we to greet people with a silly but fun exchange of hand patting and finger clicking. At any rate, I love this playful little kitten hoping for attention with someone who loves her. Just look at the mischievousness in her eyes.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 Yeah, I did add a bit of mischief to this one! hehe

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