For Day Eleven of World Watercolor Month, our optional prompt of “Abrupt” seemed rather challenging at first. I asked Philippe what he would suggest and he said to paint a jack-in-the-box. I thought that was a rather fun idea, but as I started to sketch one of the ones with a clown face it was terrifying me, so I morphed it into a bunny in a pink polka dot dress. These toys would thrill and scare me when I was a kid. Spinning the little crank at the side and hearing that tinny and creepy music playing was only the beginning. At some point, completely unknown, the little creature inside would burst out at me. I remember screaming each time and then shoving the little thing back inside and doing it again and again. Little kids adore being startled by something and being scared into a fit of giggles. Indeed, it’s a wise way to approach life even today. Better to be happily surprised by change and find the fun in new things than to be scared to even try something at all.

These days, I still enjoy experiencing surprises as long as they’re of the nice variety. Being surprised by a lovely and thoughtful gift by Philippe is a fabulous thing, however, being surprised by a leak in the roof is not at all welcome. There is something magical about a “happy surprise” when it occurs. Indeed, painting with watercolor is also the most fun when those sorts of things happen. That moment that a wonderful bit of light or color appears that I wasn’t even trying to create in my mind. Of course, since I sort of jump in nearly everything I do without any planning it’s pretty often that things like this happen to me. I always put a bit of confidence in the path itself and my ability to choose a good direction. It’s impossible to tell if something is the right direction until I’ve gone there. If the worst that can happen is being wrong, then I’m more than happy and willing to take that chance.

This morning, Philippe and I had a breakfast on the calendar. It was an appreciation breakfast for those who donate to our local zoo. Last night, the weather radar showed rain all morning long, but we were pleasantly surprised to wake up to a brand new forecast with no rain at all. So we spent the morning walking all around the zoo on a remarkably cool and cloudy day. It was fabulous! We even got to see the dingos who are insanely cute, but usually sleeping somewhere just out of view. And an African painted dog came right up to the fence to see me! But when I held up my hands and said I didn’t have a treat, he sniffed in disgust and walked away. This is exactly how my own dog Phineas reacts as well. Today, was a lovely change of pace. While I adore being at home and knowing things are exactly as they should be, it’s fun to get out in the world sometimes and experience the element of surprise.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.:  Hansa Yellow Medium, Opus (Vivid Pink), Quinacridone Red, Phthalo Blue, Cobalt Turquoise, 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!
Jack In The Box Bunny Toy Watercolor Illustration Painting_IG

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13 thoughts on “The Element Of Surprise

  1. Hola, Charlie! haha haha Like I don’t tell you hi every day. 😂😂 The funny thing about a jack-in-the-box is the anticipation of the clown getting closer to popping out. That was so freakishly weird. I could even feel it in my stomach, but, like you said, we would do it over and over. haha haha It reminds me of that scene in The Lion King, where the hyenas (is that correct? Where are you now, autocorrect?) kept taking turns saying Mufasa’s name for the thrill and then laugh and do it again. Mufasa! 🦁🦁🦁
    Oh, Charlie, I was just telling my mother that at our zoo, you can now feed the giraffes and how I so want to go! I LOVE giraffes, Charlie! How absolutely wonderful to spend a Sunday afternoon at the zoo! How lovely, Charlie.
    I imagine the African Painted Dog was like, “How. Dare. You. Not bring me a treat.” Phineas would shake his head in agreement and would say,”He does it to me, too, man.” Yay! I scripted for Phineas!
    Such a lovely post, Charlie. 💜💜💜

    1. Thanks so much, Marisela! 😃💕 Hehe… yeah, these things are scary! I always jumped high when the box opened. And yay for feeding giraffes!! You need to go DO that! FUN! Yeah, the painted dog was totally miffed… lol … just like Phineas!

  2. The bunny in the jack in the box was a happy surprise! I once visited the KC zoo. It was the week-end of the total eclipse and hot as blazes. Most of the large mammals were sheltering inside, so that was a disappointment. But the zoo itself was impressive.

    1. Thanks so much, Laura! 😃💕 Oh no! Yeah, sounds like a day all animals should be in hiding. Humans too! But, yes… it’s a very impressive zoo and keeps getting cooler. They’re adding a giant salt water aquarium next!

  3. Hello Charlie,

    I love the bunny-in-the-box. I’ve never owned a jack-in-the-box but I had a friend whose Dad had made her a ballerina-in-a-box from a Hello Kitty ballerina. She had a mind of her own and one day jumped not only out of the box but the open window too! Your Sunday morning at the zoo sounds wonderful. Are there any butterfly parks where you live? Just curious. Have a great week ahead!


    1. Thanks so much, Mugdha! 😃💕 Oh my goodness! That’s too funny on the ballerina-in-a-box! lol The zoo was fabulous. And actually… there are some gardens for butterflies within an hour or so of us. On the other side of the state in St. Louis, there’s a butterfly house that’s really amazing! Hope you have a wonderful week ahead as well!

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