That Train Under The Tree

Day 3 - Toy Train And Poinsettia Christmas Watercolor Detail - Doodlewash

While Philippe and I were out shopping last weekend, we spotted one of those trains that run on a little track underneath the Christmas tree. We have actually seen them for the past few seasons, and I’ve put in my plea for one each year. I honestly thought my dream was going to come true on this recent shopping visit, but then Philippe remarked that the color was a bit too drab. This was actually true as it was a train meant to look like the actual train from The Polar Express movie. That whole movie was a bit dark and drab in look, though still enjoyable. I considered spray-painting it to something more festive, but knew I’d never find the time to do so. So, we simply left train-less and my dream remains a dream. This happens a lot during this season, but it’s probably for the best in the end. To be honest, I’ve no idea why I’ve become so transfixed on having one of these. It’s not even a childhood memory as I’ve never had one under the tree. But, that’s the fun part about my inner child. It’s not always based on memories, but simply impulses. And one day, I shall have my magical train.

In truth, our tree is practically drooping with ornaments as it is, so perhaps things have already gotten out of control. I attempted to buy another ornament this weekend, but Philippe assured me, pleading actually, that we had enough. Instead, I opted for one of those little Santa figures. They come rather large, but I just wanted one of the ones that stand about a foot tall. We were at a discount store, so I knew I could find one for practically nothing at all. After looking at several, I paused on a Santa that looked insanely merry. Drunk actually. His eyes had been painted a bit too quickly and were pointing in different directions. I adore him at once! I showed Philippe, and he smiled, not really approving, but that was enough for me. Just as I was about to make my choice, however, I saw another Santa on skis, dressed in gray flannel and plaid with gold glasses. His eyes were painted in the same haphazard fashion, but the glasses added even more personality to the wild gaze. Turning him around I realized he was slightly squatting and had been given an enormous rump. Rather than the large tummy, normally associated with St. Nick, this effigy was sporting the world’s largest yoga butt. My love for the first Santa quickly faded and was transferred to this new amazing find. He’s currently sitting on the cabinet, smiling and looking at me, or well, looking at everything in the room at once really.

We don’t have one of those large suburban houses with a basement, so our storage space is rather limited. This is probably a good thing as I’m quite sure that basement would be filled to the ceiling with holiday decorations that would take us hours to recreate and dispose of each year. As it stands, though the tree trimming takes a bit of time, everything still fits neatly in a closet. Since the big butt Santa looks more wintery than specific to Christmas, he’ll probably stay up throughout the winter. I mean, he is skiing after all, and I’m rather sure Santa doesn’t have time to do that until after the holidays are over. In truth, it’s a sad day when the decorations have to leave us. I never want these moments to end. We once had a polar bear head that stayed up all year long, but that’s simply because we’d grown used to him and neither of us realized the oversight until Halloween. By then it just seemed silly to swap him out for a couple weeks. And though it seems like we have everything we need, there’s always something more magical to add to the mix. Kind of like art supplies. So, one day, I’m bound and determined that I’ll finally have that train under the tree.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, Quinacridone Red, Leaf Green,and Indigo. 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 3 - Toy Train And Poinsettia Christmas Watercolor Detail - Doodlewash


Recommended4 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on, contact me!

  1. Sandra Strait 7 days ago

    I love your train, but I have to admit I’m a bit disappointed that you didn’t paint the Santa, lol!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 days ago

      Thanks, Sandra! 😃💕haha!! Santa is a people… you know I don’t paint that! lol Though I should certainly attempt them more, I know! 😊

  2. Sharon Nolfi 7 days ago

    I love your red locomotive! We had a train circle under the tree when our kids were small. It was magical but impractical because there was little room for presents. I hope your dream comes true someday – you seem like a person who should have a train beneath the tree!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 days ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕And hehe… I know right? The presents?? Where do they go?? lol That’s the one thing that’s kept me at bay. Until we can solve that solution properly, I fear that the presents will always win out over the train! 😉

  3. Lisa 7 days ago

    You know, Lego makes a train set for under the tree! That seems right up your alley.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 days ago

      hehe!! Thanks, Lisa! 😃💕 I DO know they have that train and I’ve been placing hints as best I can. lol I want it!!

  4. smzang 7 days ago

    Charlie says, ” I never want these moments to end.”

    What a joyful declaration. It kind of says it all.

    The painting of the train is awesome. Just frame it and hang it on your wall;
    it will brighten its space and the hearts of all who see it.

    Your mention of santa with a big derriere made me think of Gnomeo and Juliet.
    I love that movie (even though there is no relationship between it and Christmas)

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 days ago

      Hehe… I love that you love that movie! I’ve still yet to see it, but it sounds magical and wonderful! 😃💕 There’s just something about this time of year that makes everything glitter!

  5. LoriCtoo 7 days ago

    Oh, you are making wish we would have put my son’s train up. Your little engine looks just like it.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 days ago

      Aww you totally should! There’s still time! 😃💕 Yeah, I’m totally hoping to live vicariously because I don’t think a train will make an appearance this year. hehe

      • LoriCtoo 6 days ago

        Unfortunately it is in the garage attic and not easy to get to. I guess we will both have to visit a toy store….which could create some problems. Lol

  6. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 6 days ago

    Looks like you two are having lots of fun.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 days ago

      We always DO this time of year! hehe 😃💕 I just hope the days pass slowly enough to enjoy it properly. 😉

  7. Ellie 6 days ago

    Charlie, of all the magical things you have written over the past years, the most wonderful of all is “We once had a polar bear head that stayed up all year long, but that’s simply because we’d grown used to him and neither of us realized the oversight until Halloween.” That will make me not just smile, but laugh all day – maybe all week or longer. Thanks so much! You are delightful with words and paints. (Maybe some day you could Doodlewash that polar bear head for us!)

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 days ago

      Aww… thanks, Ellie! 😃💕lol… thrilled that brought you cheer! Yeah… totally true story as with everything I write. 😊 In truth, we were rather embarrassed by the oversight so he hasn’t come out again this year. But your comment makes me think we should certainly reconsider! 😉

      • Ellie 5 days ago

        Please bring him out again!

        • Author
          Charlie O'Shields 5 days ago

          I just paused and put him back on the wall! 😉 It’s like having an old friend back again. Love him!

          • Ellie 4 days ago

            Yay!! My Christmas season is complete knowing is back where he should be. And if he stays there all year, all the better. ( :

          • Author
            Charlie O'Shields 3 days ago

            Oh, that’s very likely!! Lol

  8. Mary Roff 6 days ago

    We always had a train under the tree when I was a kid and my father continued the tradition long after my sister and I grew up and were out of the house. The train, of course, was for my Dad and thinking about that train is one of many treasured memories. Thanks for the wonderful post….every Christmas tree should have a train under it..just sayin ;-).

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 days ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕And I’m certainly reading your comment out loud to Philippe! hehe Every tree should have a train just as every Christmas should evoke these wonderful memories!

  9. Anita Sinha 6 days ago

    Awesome train painting…Liked your use of vermilion and shading…I love all sorts of trains..real as well as toys…

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 days ago

      Thanks so much, Anita! 😃💕 I’m loving vermilion! It’s one of my new favorite colors!! And I agree… trains are just awesome! Love them as well!

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