For our prompt of “Panda” today, I decided to sketch a giant panda relaxing and doing nothing much at all. This is how I’ve decided to spend my weekend, so it seemed quit fitting. Actually, in order to get enough food, giant pandas spend most of the day eating. This involves devouring the leaves, stems and shoots of various varieties of bamboo. Since this isn’t a super nutritious diet, they have to eat about 20-40 pounds of bamboo each day. That’s a massive amount of food, but they are, after all, rather massive creatures. And, even though they’re quite large, they still seem cute and cuddly to me. Perhaps this is because I had a little stuffed animal version of a panda as a kid that I adored. I’m sure I’d given him a name, but I can’t remember what it was now. What I remember was that he was adorable and we were fast friends. So many of my memories from years ago are rather imprecise. It’s the feeling I remember most more than all of the specific elements of the time. And though I can’t remember my friend’s name now, it does nothing to dispel the beautiful memories I have of him.

Today, Philippe and I attempted to sleep in a bit, but our dog Phineas had other ideas. He insisted that we get up and start our day already. Even with the urgent beginning, however, things grew immediately less urgent after the dog was taken out and fed. We had our breakfast and then watched a show called Encore! on Disney+ where a group of people come back together after over 20 years to perform their high school musical. Each episode is a different show and reunion of students, but the first was the musical Annie. It was super fun to watch and brought back great memories of my own high school musicals. Just recently my high school drama teacher posted a page from my senior yearbook on Facebook and tagged me. It was fun to see, and a flood of great memories came rushing back. Because of the post, we reconnected and began making plans to meet up again in the future. The show we watched made me wonder what it might be like if we all came back together again to perform our own high school musical. In our case, the show was a much lesser known musical called “Li’l Abner” based on a comic of the same name.

I played a chubby character named Marryin’ Sam, that required I wear a pillow under my costume. Not quite panda-sized, but very chubby nonetheless. By that point in my life, I’d dropped all of the pounds that haunted my youth, so I no longer fit the part physically. But, it was such a fun role! I can’t even imagine what it would be like to try that again today. The guy who played Li’l Abner is now the Elvis in the Legends show in Las Vegas. And his onstage girlfriend went on to become a radio show host under an assumed name. It was indeed a talented group, but I still think it would feel a touch crazy to come together to try and do it again. Still, I loved watching the idea of such a thing happening in the form of this Disney+ show. It’s a wonderfully interesting question to answer. If you could go back, would you? I’ve often said that the memory is more than enough, but it’s intriguing to imagine a second chance to relive something so memorable. This, of course, is all just a mental exercise as I’m still functioning like this panda at the moment. While it’s fun to imagine questions, I’ll leave it to others this weekend to com up with the answers. For me, in this moment, I’m still simply enjoying a lovely weekend and a perfect time to unwind.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Gold Ochre, Aureolin, Vermilion, Quinacridone Red, Leaf Green, Terra Cotta and Ultramarine (Green Shade). Staedtler Pigment Liners 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!
Panda In Tree Bamboo Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail


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26 thoughts on “Time To Unwind

  1. Oh! Your panda just makes me go ‘Oh!’ Let me know if you ever get together with your fellow actors to do L’il Abner again, ’cause I hope I can make it to the show. I never saw the musical version, but I loved the comic strip. Were there shmoon? I think it would be cool to hear shmoon singing (and shmoon is an accepted plural form of shmoo for today’s trivia answer).

    1. Thanks so much, Sandra! 😃💕Oh wow! That’s so awesome you knew that comic! hehe… I actually don’t know if a shmoon made the musical. In truth, I can’t remember much of the specifics of the show. So if there was a reunion. I’d have a lot of rehearsing to do! hehe 😊

  2. That’s one happy panda, taking a break from chewing! I enjoyed the reference to Li’l Abner, one of my favorite cartoon strips along with Gasoline Alley. And that’s the great thing about memory, how we can relive events in the way we want, not how it actually happened! Not sure if I would want to go back and repeat those days but it works in one’s mind!

  3. I wouldn’t go back to high school! Too much drama, and not your kind of drama. College maybe. Or the few years when I lived alone in the northern town of Rhinelander. That’s when I took up biking and had my first “good” job. Living in a northern climate suited me. As did living alone on a small lake, and within an easy drive to Lake Superior. It was so beautiful up there.

  4. You nailed it with the panda’s expression while he’s just chillin’.

    As for going back or just looking back, I think I’m happier just looking back.
    Going back is sometimes a colossal letdown whereas ‘looking back’ is almost
    always rewarding.

    1. Thanks so much, Sarah! 😃💕Well said! I feel the same! Our memories have errors, put there on purpose. They make things shinier and better than they actually were. I’d really hate to dull that shine by actually going back!

  5. Charlie, in just the short time I’ve been following your blog, I’ve noticed how your sketches have progressed. Do you ever go back to your very first sketches and look at how far you have come?

    1. Aww thanks so much! 😃💕 Actually, I now have to search my own site to make sure I’m not using the same title for a post. hehe… so I end up seeing a previous version of something I’ve sketched. And it’s truly nice to see some progress there, yes!

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