Bluebird Of Happiness

Bluebird Magnolia Flowers Watercolor Illustration

For our prompt of “Bluebird” today, I decided to sketch one with some magnolia blossoms. I’ve always loved these birds. As a kid, I was thoroughly fascinated by them, because they are the state bird in Missouri, which is where I’ve lived my whole life. And seeing one is said to be a sign that joy and happiness are heading your way in the future. Not sure if it counts when it’s just a sketch and not the real thing, but I do hope my little bluebird brings a bit of happy your way. I was a bit rushed today as after lunch Philippe and I decided to visit The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures here in Kansas City. I hadn’t been in many years and it’s constantly expanding. It now boasts the world’s largest fine-scale miniature collection and one of the nation’s largest antique toy collections on public display. Needless to say, it took all afternoon to view it, but we had a total blast! I’ve mentioned before how much I love miniature things and well, of course toys, and so my inner child was wildly delighted today. And, it was a joy to take a walk down memory lane and experience all of the fun things that made my childhood so wonderful.

It’s been a challenge to even write this post as we’re still in the process of reliving all of those toys we enjoyed as kids. So, I just have to type in the moments in between. At the museum, I saw my beloved monkey that I had when I was a kid. Philippe took one look at it and was a bit alarmed. It’s not the usual cartoon-like variety but one made to look like an actual chimpanzee. Seeing it again though, I was so thrilled! There was also an original Mousetrap game and Philippe told me that he remembers seeing it, but never played it and always wanted to try it. So now, of course, I’m going to be purchasing one so we can give it a go! They also had the original Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em robots, which looked way bigger than I remembered. It was a massive toy, indeed as it turns out! In truth, I realized that I’d already sketched so many of the things on display. In many ways, I guess, I’ve accidentally managed to make a bit of a toy museum right here on Doodlewash. I was surprised at how many things I’d doodled that were on display.

One of the most distinct revelations of our tour of toys today was that everything modern has just become super cheap and less detailed. Seeing older versions of toys, I was impressed by all of the colors and details that existed back then. These days, it’s too expensive to produce those toys, so today’s versions seem a bit cheap and uninspired. We’ve reached a phase in our existence where artistry in toys has nearly disappeared. It’s all about making things on the cheap and reducing the number of colors and detail in order to drive a larger profit. The result is jarring when you revisit the toys that we all grew up with and loved. Yet, I was inspired because that’s precisely why people love finding unique and awesome things directly from artists online. This is precisely why there’s such a fun resurgence in finding makers who can make something of actual value. Something that takes skill and has lots of wonderfully artistic attention to detail. It makes me happy that artists, crafters, and makers have managed to create a gloriously new toy store that we can all appreciate. It’s a wonderful celebration of creativity that feels just like finally meeting that bluebird of happiness.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Opus (Vivid Pink), Leaf Green, Cobalt Turquoise, and Ultramarine (Green Shade). Staedtler Pigment Liners 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!
Bluebird Magnolia Flowers Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail

Recommended7 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Karen Fortier 3 years ago

    This is gorgeous Charlie! It sounds like had a great day going down memory lane. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Karen! 😃💕It was such a wonderful day! Hope you’re having a fabulous weekend!

  2. Sandra Strait 3 years ago

    Oh, I’ll bet that museum is amazing! I just bought hubby a toy – a fascimile fart gun modeled after the one from Despicable Me. It was a hit, of course. I mean farts on demand, how could it not be, right?

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      It was such a great day! 😃💕 And awesome… haha! farts on demand are always just plain funny! lol

  3. Lisa 3 years ago

    When Joe and I were first dating we bonded over toys we loved as kids. Mine was the Liddle Kiddle doll, and his was a fire truck that had a controller wired to it. His cousin told him he could make it go faster so Joe let him cut the wire. Needless to say, it never worked again. And that’s why Joe became an electronic repair guy. He said he always knew that if he knew more, he would have been able to fix that truck.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Oh wow! I love that story, Lisa! 😃💕 Love how that childhood toy shaped Joe’s future. That’s so cool!

  4. Zertab Quaderi 3 years ago

    Just like the toys of younger days, your bluebird and magnolias have fantastic colors and details!

  5. LoriCtoo 3 years ago

    Ahhh, the bluebird of happiness. So pretty. They always remind me of Snow White. Old toys were the best! I have a soft soft for older dolls. Dolls today aren’t cute, a lot of them are skanky looking. 8P

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Lori! 😃💕 hehe… they had a ton of dolls in the museum. And it was funny… the closer you got to modern times, the skankier they became! lol

      • LoriCtoo 3 years ago

        Oh good, it’s not my aging opinion! Hahahahaha!

  6. Priscilla DeConti 3 years ago

    Your bluebird is absolutely stunning with the flowers!. I would love to visit that museum, sounds like it would be lots of fun and nostalgic. Thanks again for sharing!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Priscilla! 😃💕 It was such a great museum. Definitely recommend it if you’re ever in Kansas City! 😉

  7. smzang 3 years ago

    I gotta say, even before I began to read that super article, the painting totally captured me! As soon as I looked at it,
    I felt peace wash over me.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Oh wow! That’s such a wonderful compliment! Thanks so much, Sarah! 😃💕

  8. Sharon Nolfi 3 years ago

    I’d love to visit that toy museum! I have a few pieces of doll furniture from the 1950s. The wood is beautiful and the craftsmanship superb. It was made in the Midwest and of a quality that made me keep it all these years. Now toys are all plastic, and filling up our landfills when they get worn out and thrown away.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      It was such a cool museum! 😃💕 And yeah… things from back then feel like something worth keeping. Today’s toys are just too cheap. On display was a 75 year old teddy bear that one woman kept her entire life!

  9. Mary Roff 3 years ago

    Beautiful blended and magnolia! The toy museum sounds like a wonderful place to visit!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕 Yeah a museum full of toys is this big kid’s dream! hehe

  10. Gary Middleton 3 years ago

    Beautiful painting Charlie. The colours are so vibrant. I listened to your drawing and colouring podcast while I was painting my butterfly. I really enjoyed it.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Gary! 😃💕 So thrilled you enjoyed the podcast! That makes me so happy to know!

  11. Laura Kate 3 years ago

    Your creatures always have so much personality. This little guy, with his head cocked, seems to be saying “Try to catch me!” I also like the cherry blossoms.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Aww thanks, Laura! 😃💕 What a lovely compliment. I do always try to add a little extra personality to my creatures. Glad it shows through!

  12. Jacob 3 years ago

    Well, who couldn’t be cheered up by such a beauty, and those colours! The museum sounds like so much fun! I hope they have an Oozinator in their collection – a toy as memorable as that really needs to be preserved.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks, Jacob! 😃💕 Glad you liked this one! And no!! They didn’t!! I was looking for that one. It should be in the center of the museum under glass! lol

      • Jacob 3 years ago

        Yes it should! Maybe all the toy manufacturers have been given them as an example of what NOT to do!

        • Author
          Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

          haha! I’m sure it’s in a product development textbook at this point for sure! lol

  13. Linda Calverley 3 years ago

    This is so pretty Charlie

  14. Lisa Ann Ulibarri 3 years ago

    Gorgeous bird and flowers ahhhhhhhhh 😀 !!!

  15. shawnthompsonart 3 years ago

    Nice Bluebird Sketch, I really like the colour combinations.

  16. Dianne Brown 8 months ago

    Beautiful bird and flowers. Would love to try to draw, ink and paint it, with your permission of course. I’m just trying to learn from some paintings that jump out at me. Yours definitely did.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 8 months ago

      I’m so happy you enjoyed this painting! Thanks so much, Dianne! 😃💕 You can totally use this for inspiration. Just tag me and mention it if you post what you make on social media!😉

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