An Odd Bird By The Sea

Pelican Resting Relaxing Watercolor Illustration

Today, for Day 16 of #WorldWatercolorMonth and our prompt of “Relaxing,” I decided to sketch this seabird taking a break. It’s some sort of pelican painted in three colors and a perfectly odd bird. I rather adore these birds with their too-long beaks and strange bulbous bodies. It struck me that we don’t often see birds like this illustrated, with most artists preferring more colorful and indeed symmetrical varieties. So, I painted my bird like he thought he looked rather ravishing and sexy. With that slight smile and come hither look normally reserved for the popular kids. When I was a kid, I wasn’t part of the popular crowd. I was a geek and well, an odd bird, so I didn’t often fit in with whatever mainstream thing was all the rage. Though I managed to outgrow a rather unfortunate ugly duckling stage in my life, I never quite became one of the normal birds in the process. I was still a bit odd and always liked forging my own path and doing things that weren’t considered cool. I just thought if I truly found whatever I was doing cool, somebody else might as well. Little has changed since I’ve sort of grown up. Though I know all of the proper ways to do things, I just keep right on experimenting in spite of it all. And, it’s made for a really fun life indeed!

Just a heads up for those of you who participate in the Doodlewash Community here, I’m going to be testing something new as soon as World Watercolor Month ends. This includes a bit of a redesign to the site, and some rather noticeable changes to the way the community works, making it much more intuitive and more Facebook-style (for adding likes and how comments works) as that’s been one of the most requested features. The next most requested feature is a normal username and password login that doesn’t require a social media account and this change will make that possible now as well! Yes, I can’t help but to keep experimenting, but also I hope to provide a much better experience in the process. Like all experiments, it’s going to be a bit of test as everything rolls out, so thanks for your patience in the progress! If you just show up to read these posts, nothing much at all will change for you, but hey, thanks so much for showing up to read these by the way! I truly appreciate it! I know people say you should “leave well enough alone,” but honestly, is “well enough” really a high bar? I think not! If I’ve learned anything on this journey it’s that we should always continue to challenge ourselves and try new things!

Many of you who read the posts here on Doodlewash have no doubt read posts by my friend and World Watercolor Month Artist Ambassador Angela Fehr. One thing you’ll note in those posts is that she always invites artists to be “fearless.” This is probably the best advice in the world! And my own take on this is to listen to your inner child who was born with no fear at all. Yet when we talk about these ideals, it can often seem like just that, some sort of ideal state that’s not possible to achieve all of the time. Trust me when I say, it’s not only possible, but absolutely critical if you want to continually create things with joy and heart! I very often end up painting things that won’t turn out to be crowd-pleasers, like this strange bird, but I loved the process of painting it. And, in the end, that’s what really matters. There are no popular hashtags that will help lead people to this creation I made today. It’s just a bird my heart wanted to make. And that, in the end, is all that ever really matters. Fewer people will see this bird, but if you’re one of them, then I think we might just have something wonderful in common. It’s not being a rebel to set out on your own path, it’s being a leader. When we sketch and paint with heart we lead everyone on a wonderful journey of unexpected things, even something as perfectly random as an odd bird by the sea.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, and Indigo (my “Vintage” Trio!). 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!
Pelican Resting Relaxing Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail
Recommended5 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
23 Comments
  1. Karen Fortier 3 months ago

    Charlie I love your pelican and being different from the popular kids is something to strive for I think. If we were all the same what a boring world this would be. You and Angela are helping me strive to enbrace my growth as an artist. This and staying healthy are the two things I am working on this first year of retirement. So much fun!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Karen! 😃💕I’m SO happy to know you’re having so much FUN in your first year of retirement! Yay! And glad you’re inspired by this lovely community. Embrace that wonderful artist that is uniquely YOU!

  2. Sandra Strait 3 months ago

    I was never one of the popular kids but I usually ended up being the school artist and so I was never quite the outsider either. I always had the feeling that it was expected that I’d do my own thing because I was an artist, lol. I can’t say that helped my shyness any, but at least I was never totally ignored.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Hehe… that sounds rather similar to my own life! 😃💕 It’s funny how much you can become part of the crowd when the crowd needs your unique skills. 😉

  3. Miriam 3 months ago

    The bird is beautiful. It’s great to be different and find your own path. Sometimes it could be lonely but at the end we discover things about ourselves that otherwise we wouldn’t have know. I like been different, doing things my way and breaking rule sometimes. Lol 😂 “Living life to the fullest”
    Thanks for the painting and the story.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Miriam! 😃💕Yeah, I know I don’t follow the path people expect, but I know I’m always following my heart. And it makes me happy to know when people follow along with me… they’re part of that heart! That’s all I ever need to truly live life to the fullest!

  4. Sharon Nolfi 3 months ago

    What does “making it much more intuitive and more Facebook-style” mean?

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Aww… thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 I just added more info to the post… it’s basically just likes and commenting and how they function. We had “likes” and a wall for a time, but I had to remove the plugin because it slowed the site down. This new version will hopefully bring all of those features back!

  5. Lisa 3 months ago

    I grew up by Lake Michigan and thought I had seen it all birdwise when it came to water fowl. Then about twelve years ago I saw these huge black and white birds that turned out to be pelicans! I researched and found out that pelicans hadn’t been in Wisconsin for 100 years! So cool!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Oh wow! That’s awesome pelicans decided to show up there! 😃💕 I think they’re wonderful birds, but we don’t have any at all where I am.

  6. Mary Roff 3 months ago

    Wonderful “ravishing and sexy” Pelican. One of my favorite birds and seeing them always makes me smile. And, one of the joys of where I live is that I see them often..

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      haha! Thanks, Mary! 😃💕 And my pelican thanks you as well! 😉 hehe I’d love to live in a place where I got to see these birds often!

  7. LoriCtoo 3 months ago

    I love seeing pelicans on the Oregon coast. They aren’t always wandering on the beach, but occasionally you can spot one. (At least were we go.) I think they are fascinating beautiul. Wouldn’t it be a time saver, if we could scoop all our food up at once? LoL Your little guy reminds me of the last time we saw 3 of them at the beach, which lead me down the path of that trip. Thanks for the memories!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Yay! Glad this brought back good memories, Lori! 😃💕 Pelicans are such interesting birds… I wish I lived near the sea and could see them often!

  8. smzang 3 months ago

    Charlie says, ” Though I know all of the proper ways to do things, I just keep right on experimenting in spite of it all. And, it’s made for a really fun life indeed!”

    two thumbs up!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sarah! 😃💕 I’m so happy you liked that. Some days, I wonder about my experimenting. We live in a world where you’re meant to do things in a rather specific way in order to succeed. I just can’t seem to follow that exact path, so I’m happy that my own path is something some people still enjoy!

  9. June Hadaway 3 months ago

    Well, I know I read this the night you posted it and I thought sure I commented. I must not have pressed the post button and kicked my message right out. I love your odd bird with his “come hither” look. Being a twin, I know what it was like being different. It was a good thing most of the time. I always had my sister as a best friend. But, there was always a teaser and ones that thought twins were kind of freakish. Since we had each other it was much easier to pass off and just walk down our own path.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks, June! 😃💕 Aww… having a twin seems like the coolest thing ever! When I was a kid I thought that would be so awesome. My mother, however, was simply glad there was just one of me. 😊

  10. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 3 months ago

    Love this pelican’s expression, Charlie. He’d looking at me and wondering why my feathers aren’t nearly as extravagant as his.

    I’m just one of the folks who shows up at this site only to read and admire the art, so experiment away. I don’t think my experience will change.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 Big hug to you, my friend! I really can’t thank you enough for the genuine support. It’s tough to post things these days as you often get people just stumbling upon what you make without any of the context. Which for my posts, can seem a bit odd indeed! hehe

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