For our Doodlewash prompt of “Bonfire,” paired with the Inktober prompt of “Ash,” we have what is no doubt my oddest doodle yet this month. I decided to sketch a bonfire attended by our dog Phineas and his friends. Philippe and I have crafted elaborate narratives for the set of creatures that occasional show up on our balcony. We assume they must be there to visit Phineas, so we’ve given them names and backstories. The tiny nondescript squirrel in the background is Phineas’ best friend Michael. He comes round the most, but looks a bit different each time, so we’re not actually sure if it’s the same squirrel. Phineas doesn’t seem to notice or care about the small differences. The only quarrel they’ve ever had between them came when Phineas hired Michael as his publisher for his book entitled “Good.” Michael, being a squirrel, got distracted by nuts and never managed to publish it. Thoroughly miffed, Phineas decided to go with a new publisher, this time in the form of a black cat named Cindy. He was certain that with her no-nonsense demeanor she would succeed where Michael had failed. After seeing that his book was simply the word “good” on every single page and no other text, Cindy refused to publish it. Phineas disagreed with her assessment, but is now currently working on a rewrite, because, well, Cindy scares the hell out of him.

The raccoon is named Bob, and his claim to fame was once having a horrible habit of pooping just outside the door of our second floor balcony. Bob and Phineas used to play poker, but Phineas swears that Bob owes him money and stopped going to the door to greet him. Thankfully for us, this meant bumbling Bob stopped visiting us and we no longer had to clean up after him.

Animals Bonfire Campfire Inktober 2019 Illustration
And, of course, in the foreground is Phineas himself, wondering how the heck he ended up with such an odd menagerie of pals. Notably missing from this assortment is another dog as Phineas doesn’t really like other dogs. Many of them he thinks might actually be pets, so assumes they won’t have much in common. Only one dog in his life has attracted his attention and that was during a brief period where he dated a Shiba Inu named Keiko. She moved on, and he’s yet to find a suitable replacement. Most of these stories are fueled by Phineas’ own odd and unique wonderful demeanor. He is always in his own little world. Perhaps he’s just an artist, after all. 

Last night, Philippe and I had a wonderful evening of presents and food to celebrate his birthday. Phineas was convinced it was his birthday and kept pawing at us for a present. In truth, his birthday was on October 8th, or thereabouts as he was a rescue so we don’t know the precise date. Perhaps it really was his birthday yesterday, in which case we were terribly rude for not getting him anything. Regardless of the exact day, he most likely just turned 11 years old. Though he’s had a few health scares recently, he’s currently doing just fine. Better than fine, actually, now that Philippe is preparing all of his food for him. I’ve never seen a dog so excited to eat, but I really can’t blame him as I too adore Philippe’s cooking. Yet, I know there’s just a few precious years left to spend with this exceptional basenji. And some day in the future, we’ll get a visit from a squirrel and have to tell Michael that Phineas isn’t with us anymore. But, that would be lie. Of course, Phineas will always be with us, along with every version of Michael that appears. That’s the power of storytelling. The stories we tell are the memories we get to keep. And so, I’m quite happy to know that I’ll never forget this little dog, thanks to the story of Phineas and friends.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Gold Ochre, Quinacridone Red, Benzimida Orange, Leaf Green, Cobalt Turquoise, and Ultramarine (Green Shade). Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen (Broad Nib) 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!
Animals Bonfire Campfire Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail

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45 thoughts on “Phineas And Friends

  1. For some reason when I saw today’s painting, I was reminded of the old Laurel & Hardy routine ‘Well,here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into!’ Or am I aging myself by quoting something so old I’m the only one who remembers it? You know, it seems like Phineas adventures with Michael, Cindy and Bob, and his wild romance with Keiko would make a great book!

  2. I do not remember when I’ve laughed so hard!!! Now I’m thinking you need to illustrate and write children’s books for us adults who have never quite reached adulthood (whatever that is). This post is one of the best yet and they are all wonderful!!! Wonderful!!

    1. Thanks, Mary! 😃💕 Oh my goodness… that’s exactly the kind of storybook I’d love to write, but I’m not sure there’s a market for that. lol That’s always my curse… what I want to create is never the mainstream. 😉

  3. I love Phineas and his friends and their story made be giggle. I’m glad the birthday went well. I got to talk with various artists the past two days, see some amazing art, drive by spectacular foliage, take a bunch of pictures to fuel my creativity and I got to paint a bit. Great weekend.

  4. Wonderful story, wonderful painting!! Yes, enjoy the gift of every day with your dear Phineas. They live in our hearts forever, but not always at our sides. (Golden)-Doodle ;teee-heee!!) Mom here, appreciating every day with my best buddy. I must look more closely at the visiting critters around here now though…!! 🐾💗

  5. I wish I had the authority to bestow literary awards…If so, I would give this article a Hugo,
    the Flannery O Connor, a Pushcart, and a Pulitzer, for starters (they are the only ones I can think of off the top of my head.) And the painting…I want it too. Sadly, have to wait on that one…but soon…

    1. Oh my goodness, Sarah, you’re too sweet! Thank you! 😃💕 Your encouragement means the world to me, since you’re quite a gifted writer yourself! I really appreciate it! And no worries… but I hope you saw I made the dragon painting available for you! 😉

  6. You do seem to have the children’s book gene built in. If you’re already making up stories about dogs and friends, you are halfway to a book. It’s interesting, when I was hot to write a novel, I still didn’t make up stories very much, but, when I was writing poetry, I constantly was coming up with beautiful lines of description. I’m thinking maybe there is something to how our brains work. I read a book about the reading brain that says humans are not hardwired to be able to read. We have to build synapses in our brains as we learn.

    1. Thanks, Lisa! 😃💕 Yeah, I’ve always loved making up stories! Though, of course, the true stories I tell are true to the best of my memory. Yeah, the human brain is fascinating and we’re still trying to figure it out. Yet, I still draw a blank when it comes to an actual book… my everyday stories come naturally and then I sort of freeze up when it becomes a project. 😊

  7. Great story and Doodle! Cindy the cat shows a bit of attitude with the glare she is throwing at Phineas, and he looks a bit worried! All the critters do belong in an illustrated book, which is a great way to keep their memories all alive.

    1. Thanks so much, Bob! 😃💕 What a wonderful compliment! I’m really stretching myself this month and trying new things. As for Cindy, yeah… the real version shows a true disdain for Phineas, but he’s determined to win her favor.

  8. Such a cute sketch and story. Funny how we like to think for our little animals. Great imaginations. You know my story of Bob the taliless bird. Well the other day, we had a new bird visitor….Peg. She only has one foot. My husband spotted her first and luckily we have each other to back us up on this one. He named her.

  9. Haha OMG! This is too cute, and I love the sky too. I think ‘Phineas and Friends’ has the makings of another book series, well, that is if Phineas doesn’t get there before you!

  10. This brought tears to my eyes. I lost my 2 big guys this summer-4 weeks apart. They were 13 & 11.Oh that I could draw-than I could have beautiful memories like yours.

    1. Aww I’m so sorry to hear about your guys, Beth. Send you much love! 💕And you’ll always have beautiful memories. Though, sure, there are the kind we make on paper, they’re never quite as beautiful as the ones we paint in our hearts.

  11. What a delightful story and illustration, Charlie! Phineas is very lucky to have you to tell of his adventures. And the look on the face’s of both Bob and Cindy are priceless! Bob looks as if he’s done something he shouldn’t have somewhere and Cindy’s definitely passing judgement! And Michael, if that’s him… I, for one, look forward to more stories about Phineas and his wonderful and colorful friends!

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