For our prompt of “Feather” today, I decided to sketch a bird full of feathers. Indeed, it was just the perfect excuse to doodle a bird since I enjoy sketching them so much. This is a Japanese robin or komadori, which I think are rather cute, though I’ve never seen one in person. The term “fine feathered friends” also came to mind and I was curious as to where it originated. Like most sayings, it’s not entirely certain, but it’s safe to say that it does predate the 1940’s Tom And Jerry cartoon of the same name. Indeed, it’s often used to talk about actual birds now, but at one time it was meant to refer to humans who had impeccable fashion sense or were in generally good spirits. This distinction made possible by the now missing hyphen of the original “fine-feathered” friends. I’m not particularly adept when it comes to fashion, but I am in generally good spirits most all of the time so I’m quite happy to know that can still be described as fine-feathered.

Indeed, my optimism is what keeps me so happy all of the time. And that drifts into my sketches where you’ll find most creatures always sporting a cheerful and contented expression. Even the made up branches that these little birds sit upon are very often curved into the shape of a smile. When I was younger though, I had a bit more angst and lived through some rather turbulent times where I don’t think I could have been considered very happy. Looking back, I realize that nothing was quite as bad as I made it out to be at the time. Sure, life wasn’t always rosy, but there was always something good to be found that I was just completely ignoring in the moment. These days, I’ve doubled down and I’m more determined than ever to always look on the bright side. Another expression that predates its popular usage, but always makes me think of a certain Monty Python song.

As I continue to get older, I’ve found that I tend to choose friends who are wired in much the same way. The large groups from my youth have dwindled to become a much smaller chosen family of people who simply bring me joy. And, it’s my own hope that I can bring joy to others whenever possible. Even if, like me, you don’t really worry too much about fashion, we all look perfectly dressed when we’re also wearing a smile. It’s one of those rare things that can change everything for the better. So, no matter what’s happening in the world around me, I’ll continue to look for the good things in life. I’ve learned they’re always there, just waiting to be noticed. Good things sometimes seem so simple that they don’t deserved a second thought. Those simple things are what motor me through my life and so I love to think about them all of the time. And, even if that fails to produce a smile, then I know I can always turn to my other fine-feathered friends.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Hansa Yellow Medium, Vermilion, Terra Cotta, and Ultramarine (Green Shade). Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black 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!
Japanese Robin komadori On Branch Watercolor Painting Illustration Sketchbook Detail

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18 thoughts on “Fine Feathered Friends

  1. I think now it’s especially important to remember those smiles. The media news wants to sell you on disaster and one is likely to buy into it if they don’t go looking for the happy things.

  2. Lovely feathered friend. I said to someone the other day, that I was as happy as a clam. They asked me, “Are clams really happy?” I replied, “I don’t know. Then, I know I am as happy as a bird with a french fry!” We both laughed as he said, “That’s one happy bird!” Spread the happy!

  3. This made me look up fine fettle which kind of means the same thing. I’m not a fashionista because I mainly look to comfort and ease. I haven’t worn pants for years because they are too hard to put on. I admit, I miss jeans. But a pull over dress every day is super easy.

  4. Hello Charlie,

    That’s a lovely lovely bird and a truly a content smiling one at that! And your saying that you insert a smile in every sketch made me go back and look at several of your sketches and yes, all your sketches look happy – especially the food – the desserts most of all! I pray that you always keep smiling and that every day brings you a reason to smile wider. 🙂


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