As I’ve mentioned a couple of times before, I live in the middle of the city on the edge of a historic cemetery with large mature trees. The view is really beautiful and all the windows of our row home overlook it. Recently, a large owl has taken up residence there and I often see him when glancing out the window in the early morning and evenings. At night, you can hear his signature “hoo… hoo…” just outside the bedroom window. Thankfully, it’s just a few times and not something incessant and creepy that’s happening all night long, but it’s a notable change. The previous “neighbors” were far quieter since all of them have been deceased for quite some years. Ancient cultures saw the owl as a wise ruler of the night who could see souls, often helping spirits move on to the next place. This has also given the owl some ominous associations with death, but it’s mostly just a symbol of transition. Some say, it’s a signal that change is near.

Though Philippe and I find the presence of the owl rather fascinating, our little dog Phineas is not amused. While heading back to the house after a walk, he’ll hear the hoots from the owl and then perk up his basenji ears for a moment before making a mad dash for the front door to get inside. This might seem a bit spooky since dogs are said to sense things we can’t, but he’s generally always suspicious and easily spooked by anything that changes his routine. To be honest, we’re not entirely sure if he’s scared or just pissed off, but we find ourselves reasurring him that he has nothing at all to fear from the dreaded “hoo hoo monster.” He doesn’t seem entirely convinced, but has grown more used to the idea of the new inhabitant outside the window. Though it makes me think, since nearly all myths and legends associated with owls say they’re a source of wisdom, one does has to wonder what sort of secrets he might be keeping.

Like most things, I simply find the stories that cultures have created for owls fascinating. It’s intriguing to think the owl showed up as a wise harbinger to signal that change is on the horizon. At the very least, there’s just one more day of this month of natural beauty to go before beginning a brand new adventure! It’s always exciting to start a new month and I hope you’ll be joining me for whatever comes next. Change is what keeps life interesting and I love how it helps keep my mind busy with the fun of learning something new. I don’t yet have a clue what I’ll be painting and writing about in March as it’s theme-free at the moment, but I’m excited to find out what happens next. I’m still learning a lot in this art journey and have so much more to discover. But with practice and dedication, I’ll continue to learn and, who knows, maybe one day I’ll actually feel as confident and wise as the owl in the cemetery.

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About the Doodlewash

Sennelier L’Aquarelle: Red Orange, Indian Yellow, Olive Green, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Deep, and Payne’s Grey. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon with black ink in a little red cloth hardbound l’aquarelle journal I found in a Paris shop.
Day 27 - #WorldWatercolorGroup The Owl In The Cemetery Watercolor - #doodlewash
Posted by:Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)

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!

48 replies on “The Owl In The Cemetery

    1. Thanks so much, Margaret! 😃💕 I did the background color first to make the contours of the owl. I think wanted to darken it and when back in… got a bit muddy and realized the paper couldn’t handle another layer… 😊 hehe… but hadn’t tried a dark background with a light subject before so it was a big experiment!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Georgie! 😃💕 Glad you liked this one. Actually the background is an unintended side effect of my paper dying because it didn’t really want to take another wash of color and some desparate towel blotting! hehe But it made for a cool effect I can now never replicate. 😊

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  1. Your owl is handsome and looks like he’s watching over you. Maybe Phineas is a bit jealous of another creature also standing guard over you and Phillipe. Owls are absolutely wonderful birds, and I love hearing them in our neighborhood. We’ve never been able to spot one but they do live nearby. I love that their eyes are centered on their faces unlike most other birds whose eyes are on the sides of their heads. Though they are carnivores, they clean the area of pests, always a good thing in my book. And though they don’t sing, they certainly have a distinctive call. I’m terrified of the dark (I’m terrified of just about everything) but the soft sound of owls hooting makes me feel safe.

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    1. I wish you could hear my hollers at dusk, I have 5 barn owls that make awesome, yet startling songs. Not just a hoo, hoo, hooo, ho, but all kinds of crazy howah howah ha ha ha’s back and forth. Sometimes I forget how blessed I am to grow up in the country.

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  2. Oh, he looks so charming and thoughtful! Great job. You can certainly see why they were so commonly associated with wisdom and knowing. You’re lucky to have them so close by – I’ve heard a few out and about, but don’t think I’ve ever actually spotted one!

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      1. Aww, a deer too! Unfair! Have you ever doodlewashed a stag? I’m thinking you might have.

        A cemetery-dwelling seal would be quite something, wouldn’t it. I’ll remember that for when I write my will: a seal should guard my resting place at all times.

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    1. I sell some prints on Society6, but since I’m just practicing in a sketchbook, I don’t yet sell actual paintings except for the rare comission from friends. It’s something I’m considering for this year though! Hmmm… Finnish Goshawk… had to look it up… looks very cool!


  3. “Thankfully, it’s just a few times and not something incessant and creepy that’s happening all night long …” HA HA! Isn’t it funny how thin the line can be between “cool” and “kinda creepy”? At least we can say for certain that your beautiful painting falls squarely in the “cool” camp. Beautifully done. Charlie!

    Liked by 1 person

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