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Wilder Wishes

If you’re like me, bombarded daily with negative news and polarized opinions, this noisy world can become overwhelming. It bothers me, and I often wonder, “Why are people so mean to each other?”

As a species, we’re primed to pay attention to this stuff, which feels like an immediate threat. Not only do we focus on the worst of our behaviour, we feel compelled to share it with others. And when everybody shares bad news, it seems like that’s all there is.

Though I’m not on social media anymore, I’m as guilty as the next person. I’m fully invested in the negative bias that we’re all strapped into the proverbial handbasket, picking up speed on a steep downhill. Is it getting hot in here?

While editorial cartooning requires me to follow the news, I also spend much of my time painting whimsical wildlife that makes people happy. I know this because collectors and subscribers tell me so. And when I get to share that work in person at Christmas markets and the upcoming Calgary Expo, I see the evidence for myself.

At market events, a steady stream of people walks by my booth for hours on end. They might be talking to each other, looking at their phones, pointing at things, or absent-mindedly scanning their surroundings. But often, when their eyes find my work, they stop and smile. Over several days at a market, I couldn’t begin to count the number of times I see the same phenomenon.
It’s a moment of connection between my funny-looking animals and people I’ve never met. I love watching it happen, and it is a reminder that something I created made somebody else’s day a little better, if only for a moment. In a world that often seems nasty, with people intent on highlighting our worst qualities, I create art that makes people smile. I often forget that, but when I do remember, I’m grateful for this ability.

You can change yourself, but you can’t change other people. You can influence them, though, for better or worse.

It can be as simple as holding a door or letting someone go ahead of you in line, offering to take somebody’s photo for them when they’re struggling with an awkward selfie, being courteous on a shared bike/pedestrian path, or putting away your phone and giving somebody your full attention.
If you know me well, all this might sound hypocritical. I struggle with seeing the good in the world, which often puts me in a dark mood. But just like a smoker knows the habit is unhealthy, it’s worth the effort to try to cut back and eventually quit.

Because even though I’m not always a fan of our species, I know that life is hard for everybody. We’ve all got stuff we’re dealing with and can get so caught up in our own issues that we forget others are struggling, too. Empathy is a skill and a choice.
So, to spread some positive feelings around, I created these Wilder Wishes images you see here, from some of my paintings. If you like them, send one in an email or text it to someone who might need a lift. Share one on social media or wherever you want. Or print them for yourself to stick on your fridge or desk.

You can save each of these images from this post or download all five from this Dropbox link.
If one of these happy faces makes the day a little brighter, for you or somebody else, then that makes mine better, too. Sometimes, you’ve got to give a smile to get one back.

Have a good week,

10 thoughts on “Wilder Wishes

  1. You made me smile!!!
    Now my friends will all be smiling when I text them your fantastic faces.
    Thank you, Patrick, for this fabulous start to the week.

    1. Thanks, Heather. Glad you like ’em.

  2. Love this one Patrick ?. And yes the animals do make me smile, as does the tiger I see every day on the wall next to my desk ?

    1. Those aren’t question marks, they were happy faces. I know for next time…

    2. Thanks Nicole! Don’t worry about it. Emojis don’t translate to comments. All good.

  3. Yes, the gang’s all smiles and such spirit picker-uppers. too! I’m grateful they’ve hung out with me through the roughest of times!
    Have a wonderful week!!

    1. Thanks Barb! Glad your critters keep you company. 🙂

  4. These are awesome and made me chuckle. I will be sharing for sure!

  5. Just want to send you a hug of sympathy from BC this morning, Patrick. We manage our news intake to only twice a week and only after recording first so we can FF through what we don’t want to get mired into. This way, we keep an eye on what’s going on without spiraling into depression ++.
    In our society, which is mostly stable, the news representation looks the opposite…mostly anarchy with a lining of stability on the outside. This is not realistic and not helpful, in our view.
    I sympathize (again) whole-heartedly with your need to follow the news closely enough to draw your cartoons! Sadly, you are so GREAT at them…!! Thankfully you are also GREAT at drawing whimsical!! Thank you very much for both, as always.

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