Finding Feathers

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Day 24 - Finding Feathers - Doodlewash

One of the delights of going on a nature hike or just walking down the street really, when I was a kid, was finding a feather on the ground. I’ve no idea why I found this so delighting exactly, but to me, it always felt a bit like finding a treasure. A lovely piece of nature left behind. I quickly doodled some into existence for today’s prompt and I think they were lorikeet feathers to begin with, but I decided to use less colors so now they’re from a mystery bird. Since I don’t actually live in Australia, most of the feathers I would find as a kid here were usually a striped brown or sometimes a deep blackish blue. They didn’t have to be a striking color as it was simply the act of finding them that made them special. I would collect them and bring them back home, with no real plan for them whatsoever. I mean it wasn’t like I was trying to reassemble a bird in my room or anything. Sometimes the act of finding something new is enough of a reward in itself.

I still love those moments when I discover something interesting along my path. Usually something rather small and insignificant, but with just enough interest to catch my eye. It might be a little rock that has a strangely beautiful coloring or texture. Or it can even be an unusual shadow cast across the pavement. I’ve always been on the lookout for these types of things, but since I’ve started painting each day, I’m even more observant. Suddenly, the light and shadow on a leaf becomes a thing of pure wonder and I have to stop and study it for a moment. I don’t even have my sketchbook with me and no time to sketch or paint what I see, but I’m always making mental notes that I can use to help me later. Getting ideas from the simplest of things. Ways to use color, light, and shadow for the next time I sit down to paint. I’m not a notetaker, so I never write anything down. It’s just a jumble of ideas that swim around my fishbowl of  a head until they’re ready to jump free.

While I know I should probably study proper technique more when it comes to painting, for now, I’m content with sketching as I go from a place of pure instinct and intuition.  In fact, I can say that this approach is what has helped me to keep painting every day. It’s really just my play time. One day, when this is my only line of work, I will most certainly feel differently, but today, this is only my hobby. It’s what brings me joy and relieves the stress of the day. It’s what helps me appreciate the world for what it actually is while dreaming of what it has the potential to be. It gives me the sheer pleasure of going through life with the eyes of an artist. Watching for things that others might overlook entirely and making mental notes as I go along. I’m never on the hunt for anything, I just let life pass by me as it happens, looking for the occasional little treasure. After all these years, I’m still experiencing those inexplicable little moments of pure delight, like finding feathers.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Da Vinci Yellow, Quinacridone Red, Ultramarine Blue, and Cobalt Blue.  Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book.
 #WorldWatercolorGroup - Day 24 - Finding Feathers - 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! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!

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36 Comments
  1. Mary Roff 4 months ago

    Nice feathers, Charlie! I’m still like a little kid when I find a feather on the ground…they have always intrigued me. Sometimes it’s the simple things that add sunshine to your day.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks, Mary! 😃💕That’s so true! It can take so very little to make a whole day happy!

  2. Pamela Smith 4 months ago

    Lovely feathers,,I too like it when I find a feather,my hubby says it’s just a feather…lol

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks, Pamela! 😃💕 hehe… just a feather?! lol Well, you and I both know it’s so much more! 😉

  3. Sandra Strait 4 months ago

    Your mystery bird must be a thing of beauty, because your feathers certainly are! Isn’t it amazing what interesting things nature will show you if you’ll only look?

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sandra! 😃💕It’s so true… there’s so much out there to discover, it’s amazing when you take the time to truly look!

  4. Karen Howard 4 months ago

    Prettttttty feathers

  5. memadtwo 4 months ago

    Feathers are always a treat…and perhaps you’ll paint the mystery bird as well one of these days!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks!! 😃💕 hehe… I should try and create the mystery bird one day!

  6. IamJirah 4 months ago

    I love the feathers! There is something about feathers that would bring delight to your soul and a sense of mystery that tickles your imagination and curiousity.

  7. Alice Dean Hendon 4 months ago

    I grew up on a USNavy base in Newfoundland, Canada. A nickname for the island was – still is – the rock. Because the place was literally covered in rocks. We left there 48 years ago and I still have a bunch of rocks that I collected there. They have traveled the east coast from north to south and back north again. So I totally understand where you’re coming from. Your feathers are lovely and I like the idea of them being from a mystery bird 😊

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks so much, Alice! 😃💕 That’s wonderful that you still have those rocks to remember that place and time. I think all artists are collectors by nature, from objects to the memories we collect on paper.

  8. Sharon Nolfi 4 months ago

    It’s always a delight to find a feather! Lovely painting.

  9. Lisa 4 months ago

    I love your feathers! The shadows are especially beautiful. There is a children’s book titled The Dwaddle Walk that I used to read to kids when I ran our library. You could relate to that little boy who found so much of interest in his walk to school.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕 And I love that title! hehe… already sounds like me! lol I’ll have to check out that book!

  10. smzang 4 months ago

    “I would collect them and bring them back home, with no real plan for them whatsoever.”
    Yes!!

    ” I mean it wasn’t like I was trying to reassemble a bird in my room or anything. ”
    ROFL

    the painting
    Yes!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks so much! 😃💕 So glad this post made you giggle and smile!

  11. smzang 4 months ago

    I hit send by mistake…

    “It’s what helps me appreciate the world for what it actually is while dreaming of what it has the potential to be.”

    the best of the best!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      You’re the sweetest of the sweet and I can’t thank you enough for the constant encouragement!! 😃💕 Thank you so much!!

  12. Jui 4 months ago

    Lovely feathers!

  13. Rebekah Berger 4 months ago

    Love your post! Feathers are very special. I painted floating feathers on the side of my Little Free Library, with magpies and bluebirds on the back, and roses on the front. To me, feathers represent the spiritual world floating down into our physical realm – an angelic and magical presence suggesting infinite possibilities and our own potential. I have a bowl of found feathers in my bedroom, and I agree – they are so special. They have the power to awaken us and to help us to remember who we truly are.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks so much, Rebekah! 😃💕 That painting sounds gorgeous and what a gorgeous description of feathers. I love that!!

  14. Kate Powell 4 months ago

    Sketching as you go from instinct is the only way! I love your watercolors. I wish I had more time to read posts — I so enjoy them. I to collect, rocks and shells and feather and they find homes then become attached to that place. I have a kitchen rock, for instance. It just felt like it should always be in the kitchen. Strange one I am!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks so much, Kate! 😃💕 And yeah, my posts can be nearly overwhelming since they show up daily! No worries! And THIS is why I adore you… here’s to all the strange ones in the world and kitchen rocks!

  15. Lovely, Charlie! I missed plenty of posts on Doodlewash lately. Hope to catch up with the news here soon.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks, Violeta! 😃💕 Yeah, there’s lots happening here… always something new! Just pick up wherever you like!

  16. iqra2095 4 months ago

    Nice feathers.

  17. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 4 months ago

    You’re thinking of becoming a full time professional artist? That’s wonderful, Charlie! Very glad to know this.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      well… not until retirement when is probably more than a decade away. hehe 😊 Unless something big happens to speed things up a bit!

  18. Anita Sinha 4 months ago

    Nice feather from the Mystery bird , Charlie ….True..even I have become more observant since I started painting…

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks, Anita! 😃💕Yeah, the world gets so much richer when viewed through an artist’s eyes!

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