When met with our Doodlewash prompt of “trees,” I realized I just wasn’t in the mood to sketch trees, so we ended up with a quick ink and watercolor sketch that includes a bit of tree underneath a little cardinal. I’ve seen this little red bird outside my kitchen window for several days in a row. He cocks his head and looks back at me as though trying to tell me something, but since I don’t speak cardinal, I’ve no idea what it actually is. The tree he favors is an evergreen, so it’s lovely to see that pop of red appear from time to time. On this same perch, I’ll sometimes see a squirrel on his lunch break, furiously devouring a nut as though he has to get back to a meeting at the office. But, in truth, these creatures don’t have any deadlines at all that don’t apply to the simple act of survival, so I’m rather envious of their lifestyle. Sometimes in life everything feels so rushed, and nature is a fabulous reminder that life is indeed on a much more natural schedule. This weekend, I’m happily enjoying that timetable instead, and taking each little moment as it comes.

Last night, for Philippe’s birthday, I bought him a little robot I saw on Kickstarter this summer called Vector, The Good Robot. This was mostly because he saw it as well and mentioned liking it, so it was the only thing he audibly liked recently to give me that “clue” I needed as to what the heck to buy for him. We had a blast playing with it, as it’s an always-on little robot that feels like something straight out of a Pixar movie combined with the maid from The Jetsons. It can answer questions, play with a little magical cube that lights up and even be used as a kitchen timer. Not surprisingly, this last feature is probably the most important and Philippe happily used it tonight while making dinner. Vector can also play Blackjack with you, which I thought was rather fun and did so this morning. When Philippe came downstairs, I told him to try it and he told me he didn’t know how to play it. This perplexed me as Blackjack is a Spanish invention and I thought it was universally understood. I quickly explained the rules and he tried a few rounds before getting bored. It turns out, Vector is a sore loser and a bit belligerent, so it’s quite like we’ve invited another basenji into our household. Phineas is not amused.

Little robots are, to be sure, the absolute antithesis of trees and natural life. Yet, we are entering a time when they are becoming much more prevalent. While I love the idea of a sweet little robot, meant primarily as a toy, I’m wondering just where all of this new technology will take us. If we can simply ask questions to a little digital box, will it eventually stop us from seeking knowledge in other forms? Will our curiosity be limited to only questions that have been pre-programmed to deliver a result? When we don’t receive the requested knowledge, what happens when we simply move on and ask something else, forgetting that we failed to understand that last bit properly? Though I think these new things are marvelous and exciting, I approach them with the glee of a child. To me, they’re wonderful toys to be enjoyed, but not a replacement for taking the time to actually think for ourselves. Looking out of my kitchen window, I think perhaps that’s the message that was gently being sent to me from that little red bird.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, and Indigo (my “Vintage” Trio!). 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 13 - Autumn Cardinal Redbird Watercolor - Doodlewash


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36 thoughts on “That Little Red Bird

  1. Oh such a pretty bird. Your painting and the actual bird. Living in the PNW, we don’t have cardinals. I grew up in the Midwest and was able to witness them. I miss them and the fireflies!

  2. Always love your paintings… I need to practice my watercolor skills. I don’t put enough time and effort into my art projects these days. I’ll have to check out that robot! Sounds interesting…

  3. Beautiful cardinal with a great expression. Robots amaze me. Kind of scary in a sence that they are so darn smart and life like. It’s great it is also a kitchen timer. My sister has had a cardinal tap on her window every morning for the past three years. She named him “Tapper.” I think they can have an attachment to people. Sounds like you have one that will be around for a while too.

    1. Thanks so much, June! 😃💕Yeah, I think robots are cool… but today, so far, the kitchen timer or an audible version of Google is all they really have to offer us. And I love that story… “Tapper” sounds like a wonderful friend to have indeed!

  4. Truth! But, one of my favorite things Alexa does is spell. If I am in the middle of a document and need to spell anwei, I ask Alexa and she pops up Ennui! See! 😂😂 Makes me very happy as do cardinals!

    1. haha! Awesome, Lisa! 😃💕 Actually, I just learned that Alexa is being added to our little Vector robot later this year. No idea yet if it will mean a split personality and second voice or not. lol But it should be fun!

  5. What a beautiful cardinal – I remember them from when I was a kid living in New Jersey. They aren’t common in California, at least not where i live – so this one is a special treat. What he’s trying to tell you is to leave him a treat!

  6. I have heard that seeing a red cardinal is illustrative of a departed loved one trying to make you feel their presence whenever you are missing them, needing them most or talking or thinking about them. That sounds very comforting. What do you think?

  7. I envy Philippe his birthday present. Robots are cool! I’m sure Phineas isn’t happy about it though. I remember how my mastiffs acted whenever we’d bring in one of the singing/dancing stuffed animals. They made it clear that such unnatural beasts were NOT welcome in their household. Robots are probably even worse in the eyes of the animal kingdom.

  8. I’ve always been told that knowing the right question is just as important as knowing the right answer. For sure you know the right question! (Charlie says:”If we can simply ask questions to a little digital box, will it eventually stop us from seeking knowledge in other forms? “) That question shows a wisdom that will save the world from itself, if people will just hear and heed.

    Btw, the cardinal is a beauty. It is also W.V’s state bird.

    1. Thanks, Sarah! 😃💕 Yeah, I agree… asking the right question is the heart of all knowledge. But being at the limitation of bots for an answer, I fear, could make the questioning less rich and insightful. I just hope people don’t resort to dumbed down questions just so they can get a bot to answer them. 😉

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