Visiting A Giraffe At The Zoo

Day 5 - Visiting A GIraffe At The Zoo - Doodlewash - #WorldWatercolorGroup

When I was a kid, I think my most memorable special trips were to the local zoo. I adore animals and getting to see so many different kinds in one place was a real joy. Of course, as an adult, I hope that animals can roam free whenever possible, but good zoos do much to preserve and protect certain species so that’s an equally important thing. Where I live, the zoo was quite small when I was young, but seemed gigantic. The animals didn’t have much room to play and I always felt a bit sorry for them. Today, thankfully, it’s grown incredibly large in size and the animals are cage free and live in much larger habitats. Though I adored the seals and their antics in the show that would happen each day, the giraffes fascinated me most. They were just so insanely tall that I was mesmerized. Occasionally, they’d flick the world’s longest, darkest tongue out to grab something off a tree and I was thrilled. When they’d look at you they’d seem to be at once totally unimpressed and other times as though they were really studying you. Most likely thinking, “why are you so small?” I stared back and mouthed silently, “one day, I’ll be as tall as you.” The giraffe, in reality or just my imagination, nodded as if to quietly approve.

Well years passed and I did grow up, I became rather tall I guess at 6″ 2½” feet (189cm) and it all happened rather quickly. It was nearly in the course of summer. This was a good thing as I was a pudgy youth and the growth spurt managed to stretch me out and make me thin. Not as gangly as a giraffe, but in many ways close, with long legs and arms that were lanky and not built for bulky muscle. My neck was thankfully not bizarrely elongated, but the similarities were still there. I guess, I got my wish, in whatever silent pact I made with the giraffe that day. Not that giraffes are capable of granting wishes, of course, but perhaps they are. One look into those deep dark eyes and you can see that there are mysteries there we may never understand. I actually make little wishes like this just about any time I can. Silly things like, if I’m able to drink this tea in one sip or toss the ball of foil into the bin, then some other thing will happen. My follow-up is horrible so I have no idea if these wishes ever actually come true. I just like the idea of wishing and dreaming of things that I want to happen next.

In many ways, I think that getting a wish is great, but the act of making it is far more fun. Sometimes, getting what I wished for wasn’t all that great in the end. It can often pale in comparison to the fantasy that I designed in my imagination. A wish, after all, is simply an ethereal thing that holds infinite possibilities. It can always trump reality because our imaginations are far more colorful than anything we could ever fully manifest. I feel that as I’m painting each day and the thing I had in my head doesn’t compare with what actually comes out on paper. But it’s rather close, and certainly with watercolor, that’s a pretty wonderful thing indeed. Many of my wishes are silly little things, almost trivial. Sure, there’s the wish I could retire and paint all day long wish, but that will actually come in time. The others are range from tiny to gigantic including the ultimate wish for peace and harmony in the world. So, although I will certainly never get all that I wish for, I will continue to have my silent wishful conversations just as I did as a kid, filled with childish hope, each time I’m visiting a giraffe at the zoo.

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Da Vinci Paint Co.: Nickel Azo Yellow, Terra Cotta and Cobalt Blue.  Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia 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 5 - Visiting A GIraffe At The Zoo - Doodlewash - #WorldWatercolorGroup
Recommended6 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 Doodlewash.com, contact me!

30 Comments
  1. Sandra Strait 8 months ago

    I hate to break it to you, Charlie, but busy people just get busier when they retire, lol. But you probably will spend more time painting and spending more time with charming giraffes like the beauty in your painting…maybe.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 8 months ago

      haha! Yeah… I sort of suspected that! 😊I have a feeling my “retirement” will be extra busy! But way fun!! And at the very least… a bit more time for painting, so that’s the best part of all! 😃💕

  2. Lisa 8 months ago

    What a great face! A few times a year, hubs and I buy lottery tickets . And since we are pretty sure we aren’t going to win the big bucks, we spend an evening listing says we will spend our magical money. It’s worth a few bucks a year to have those dreams! My over the top art studio is always on the list.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 8 months ago

      Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕 Aww I love that little ritual!! Sounds like so much fun!! Just keep on dreaming about the art studio and it’s bound to happen sooner or later!

  3. Snehlata Maheshwari 8 months ago

    Enjoy ing your post daily.and in this storey
    I love the saying hahahaha u mentioned u r
    Hight as u comparing lie to geraffe. Ok .i really loved this .halol.Will u borrow u r two figures for few days i will also try.wah kya bat he. Amazing 🌼 painting.
    Thanks.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 8 months ago

      Thanks so much, Snehlata! 😃💕hehe… yep, that’s my height! It’s now revealed! And so thrilled you like my giraffe!

  4. Sharon Nolfi 8 months ago

    I loved this story! Giraffes are one of my favorite animals, too. If you would like to feed one, you can do so at the San Diego Wild Animal Park (different facility and location than the zoo) the next time you come to So. Cal. Lovely features and expression on your painted guy.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 8 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon!! 😃💕 That sounds like so much fun! We’ll actually be back in SoCal in a couple weeks, but a bit north of there.

      • Sharon Nolfi 8 months ago

        It’s actually called the San Diego Safari Park now. And it’s in Escondido, 35 miles north of zoo.

  5. Mary Roff 8 months ago

    Lovely giraffe! Always one of my favorite zoo animals; they seem like such gentle giants.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 8 months ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕 They do seem like gentle giants… I think that’s why I love them so much!

  6. Chai Sweet Chai 8 months ago

    This giraffe looks so pretty! Love the watercolor in this piece!

  7. Mique 8 months ago

    Lovely Giraffe . May I ask, how do you start? with the pen ? Or do you make a sketch with a pencil before? Maybe you have describe that before but my english is not so very good to read ALL your post 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 8 months ago

      Thanks so much, Mique! 😃💕 I always start with my quick little contour sketch in either pencil, then ink (erasing the pencil lines), or just straight to ink. Then I jump in with watercolor!

      • Mique 8 months ago

        Thank you for your answer. I did try that for the first time with the French Fried (or chips) Now off to the bubblegum 🙂

  8. smzang 8 months ago

    The most pettable giraffe I’ve ever met. It’s the eyes, I think.
    I am always intrigued by the expressions you paint into eyes.
    This post caused me to go through all my photos. I found
    a bunch of giraffes. I used to go to the National Zoo in DC
    every 3rd weekend. Your paintings and ‘conversations’ always
    bring back the best memories. Thank you!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 8 months ago

      Aww thanks so much, Sarah! 😃💕 That’s such a fantastic compliment! Thank you so much! I love to paint the eyes of animals most… there’s something intriguing there. And I usually add a little extra light, even on the darkest of eyes. 😉

  9. Pamela Smith 8 months ago

    As always Charlie,,,love the story and the giraffe and wishes(dreams) do come true look what morphed from a mouse…the wonders of Walt Disney…

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 8 months ago

      Thanks so much, Pamela! 😃💕 Yes to that! Disney started right here in Kansas City and it’s said the mouse was actually a little visitor to the studio here. It’s made me a Mickey Mouse fan to this day! hehe

  10. memadtwo 8 months ago

    Great rendering Charlie. One of nature’s wonders. (K)

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 8 months ago

      Thanks so much, Kerfe! 😃💕 So happy you liked this one… yeah.. giraffes are soooo incredible!

  11. Jacob 8 months ago

    I’m glad you mentioned their unimpressed glance, because right away I thought you’d got that spot on! I’ve probably said before but it sounds like we have much the same frame, even similar height. Oh, how I remember that awkward growth spurt!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 8 months ago

      Thanks, Jacob! 😃💕 yeah, they just seem a bit bored with us… like they know far more than we ever will. And we do have much in common! Even down to the height and frame! hehe Though it the love of seals and zonkeys that will always bind us.

      • Jacob 8 months ago

        Haha, yes – and I appreciated you linking to Simon the Seal again! <3

  12. Tom Merriman 8 months ago

    Gorgeous giraffe, Charlie!
    Animals nod and talk to me all the time – even now!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 8 months ago

      hehe! Yay to that, Tom!! Same with me! Glad you liked this one! 😃💕

  13. Miss Gentileschi 8 months ago

    Such a lovely giraffe! I love them too – maybe because I myself am rather tiny 😉 Those eyes are mesmerizing, aren’t they? And I share your feelings about zoos, of course it would be lovely if all animals could live wild and free and happy, but since that´s just a dream, the protection offered for certain species must be a good thing, right?

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 8 months ago

      Thanks, Sarah! 😃💕 I totally agree… I think the protection is important, if it’s a good zoo at least. They do wonderful things!

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