Wildly Curious

Squirrel Grabbing For Acorn Nut Watercolor Illustration

For our Doodlewash prompt of “Squirrel,” combined with the Inktober prompt of “Wild” I opted for a squirrel going nuts over an acorn. Actually, a few days ago, when I posted an illustration of our dog Phineas and his friends, the squirrel got sort of lost in the background. So, I figured since Michael the squirrel is Phineas’ best friend, he needed his own illustration. Michael comes to visit often and it’s quite fun to watch him just outside our kitchen window. If there was one word to describe this little guy, it would be “curious.” He’s always looking through our flower pots while standing on two legs in the most adorable way, or crawling about reaching for whatever treasure he might find in his path. If we go outside, he doesn’t run off, but just stops and stares in that same curious fashion. As I mentioned, I’m sure it might be a different squirrel on some occasions, but we like to imagine it’s the same curious friend popping by for a visit. And, I for one am quite inspired by Michael. He’s a constant reminder to always look at the world with fresh eyes and grab for all the shiny acorns life brings.

That would be acorns in a metaphorical sense, of course, unless you happen to be really into nuts like Michael. Part of the reason why we assume he and Phineas are best friends is that Phineas doesn’t chase after him. If they meet up outside, they just stop and stare at one another and don’t seemed phased in the least. Once, while Phineas was outside and Michael was in a nearby tree, the squirrel did start shouting at him, but Phineas just pretended he didn’t hear him. No doubt, it was some quarrel over yesterday’s poker game and Phineas’ refusal to give Michael the nuts he’d won in it.

Squirrel Grabbing For Acorn Nut Inktober 2019 Illustration

There’s a glass door in our kitchen that leads outside and we’ll often find Michael peering through the glass. Sometimes, Phineas will wander over and they’ll just stare at each other again, as if communicating telepathically. Not surprisingly, Phineas gets bored first and will just wander back and lay on the couch. Michael looks noticeably miffed, as he was most likely expecting an invitation to come inside. But, he eventually wanders off in search of another nut.

While I’m not entirely sure this is normal behavior for a dog and a squirrel, there’s one thing that makes this unusual pairing possible. Their curiosity is apparently stronger than their fear. I think that’s why I find their little relationship so inspiring. It’s a wacky reminder to always push past my own fears and try new things. This is what I’ve been doing all month long, and in many ways I guess this is my thank you to dear Michael. I’ve always thought of myself as a curious person, of course, but acting on that curiosity hasn’t always been my next step. When it comes to my art, I have tended to stick to things I know well and skip ideas when they require too many references or too much of my own imagination. I truly didn’t think I had the talent to make a sketch from an idea that was in my head. As it turns out, by dutifully sketching stuff each and every day these past four years, I’ve got quite a visual database that allows me to fill in the gaps when references fail to deliver. I’ve still lots of practice ahead, but it feels like I’ve made bigger strides forward this month. I can’t give all of the credit to a squirrel, of course, but I can say that there’s no better skill when it comes to making things than the simple act of staying wildly curious.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Gold Ochre, Terra Cotta, Ultramarine (Green Shade), Cobalt Turquoise, Benzimida Orange, Opus (Vivid Pink). Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen (Broad Nib) 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!
Squirrel Grabbing For Acorn Nut Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail

Recommended7 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Mary Roff 3 years ago

    Michael is,adorable. I love watching the antics of these little critters.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕Yeah, watching squirrels is so much fun!

  2. Sharon Nolfi 3 years ago

    Love that giant pink paw! More great storytelling.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 Glad you liked this! I’m trying to branch out this month! 😉

  3. Sandra Strait 3 years ago

    The perspective in this painting is phenomenal! I love it! When we had our mastiffs, there were lots of nutria in the area. They’d come into the yard and they’d play a kind of chase. No running, but the boys would get within about 3 feet and the nutria would move a little, but juuuuust a little – as though they were teasing.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks, Sandra! 😃💕 As you’ve seen, I’m trying to play with perspective a lot this month. Glad you liked this one! And oh wow, I had to look up nutria as I wasn’t sure what you meant! They’re Coypu! hehe That’s awesome!

  4. Karen Fortier 3 years ago

    What a great sketch of Michael, Charlie! They are fun to watch. Whatever leaves that didn’t blow off today will likely be on the ground tomorrow. They saw we will get between 1 and 2 inches of rain overnight and heavy winds tonight and tomorrow. The colors were spectacular while they lasted. I racked up what I could this afternoon so the storm drain wouldn’t get clogged. We need the rain.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks, Karen! 😃💕Glad you got the rain you needed, and that you captured what you needed of the colors! Yay!

  5. LoriCtoo 3 years ago

    Oh how I love Michael and your story. Makes me miss Bob the bunny.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Lori! 💕Aww… Bob is such a great name for a bunny!

  6. Lisa Ann Ulibarri 3 years ago

    Aweeeeeeeeee Michael is so super cute!!!!!! Dogs and squirrels can be a very fun combination indeed. Reminded me of Our dog Scamp that we had. He would chase this squirrel around the fence frame. One day it was hilarious; the squirrel was standing on the bark of the tree just out of reach looking down at Scamp!!! lol 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks, Lisa! 😃💕Glad you liked Michael in is full glory! lol Yeah, I love it when squirrels taunt dogs like that. They’re all like… go ahead… climb up this tree if you dare!

  7. Lisa 3 years ago

    I love your squirrel! He’s adorable. And a bit cheeky too. Remember the dog in the movie Up? He was always distracted by squirrels. Lol Joe and I loved that. So now when we are out and about, if one of us sees one of the rodents, we yell squirrel!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕And love the dog from UP! hehe… I’m distracted by all of things all of the time. 😊

  8. Mireya 3 years ago

    ha I read the title and was like that’s me

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Awesome! Wildly Curious is a wonderful this to be, Mireya! 😃💕

      • Mireya 3 years ago


  9. Robert J. Coleman 3 years ago

    The picture of Michael tells the story: I’m taking this lovely acorn, what are you going to do about it? going to try to stop me? too late, I got it! We had squirrels like this at the rear windows of one home and they tormented our lab/pointer mix dog, Jazzie. She went crazy trying to get to them and they just jumped round in the underbrush and laughed at her. Hilarious! We had to move because Jazz was about to have a nervous breakdown!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks, Bob! 😃💕Glad you enjoyed Michael! Aww… poor Jazzie… hehe… those squirrels can really be bullies! lol

  10. CATHY 3 years ago

    Bonjour de France, étonnant ce que vous faites depuis quelques jours, je ne vous reconnais plus du tout – c’est la première fois que je vous écrit – Bonne journée – Cordialement

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Merci beaucoup, Cathy! 😃💕 I’m trying different styles this month and using much more ink! (Apologies… I can read French, but still can’t really type in French) Thanks so much for commenting!

  11. Walter F Pierluissi 3 years ago

    Very nice Charlie… It looks so cute and she want that acorn!!!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks, Walt! So happy you enjoyed this little squirrel! 😃💕

  12. Fatima Chamkha 3 years ago

    How cute you squirrel Charlie!

  13. Loan Anh Pham 3 years ago

    To me, you’re superb to depict its fancinating long tail , Charlie. I want to compete to Michael getting that shiny acorn. I love this scene he he.🥰

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Loan! 😃💕 Yeah, Michael is not giving up that acorn without a fight! lol

  14. Bonnie Ottaviani 3 years ago

    That’s a wildly great squirrel!

  15. Brenda Jiral 3 years ago

    What a great sketch! So much personality in the little fella; coupled with your fascinating stories, I feel like I know him personally!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Aww thanks, Brenda! 😃💕 Thrilled you enjoyed this little squirrel!

  16. Linda Calverley 3 years ago

    His cheeky face made me smile.

  17. smzang 3 years ago

    I love the look on Michael’s face, and the accompanying text is absolutely awesome.
    I’m glad you gave MIchael some extra space since he did get shortchanged before.
    I’m thinking though you might want to tell Phineas to tell Michael not to tell the others.
    As I recalled Cindy tends to be a little miffed most of the time and someone else’s
    stardom would surely set her off and Bob, precious bandit that he is, probably thinks
    he would be deserving of more space since he is the largest of them all. In order
    to keep peace I’m thinking you will just have to write more and more stores about
    this lively little group and of course you would have to reassure Phineas that he is
    the real star. Oh, my, you have a lot of writing to do…I’m looking forward to the
    continuing saga. : )

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      haha! Oh wow… I DO have a ton of writing based on that! Love it! Thanks so much, Sarah! 😃💕 I read your comment out loud to Philippe and he just nodded as though… yes… that’s pretty accurate so far! lol

  18. gwengordon6314 3 years ago

    Great story about Phineas and Michael. My dad used to tell animal stories. So, yours bring back such good memories. Thank you Great painting as always too.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much! 😃💕 Awww… I love that this brought back good memories!

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