Flying To Great Heights

Hummingbird Wings Watercolor Illustration

For Day 8 of #WorldWatercolorMonth and our prompt of “Flying High,” I opted for this little hummingbird. I figured that any height is rather high for a hummingbird as they’re quite tiny creatures. Many times, I have to admit, I find myself thinking of things as though they might be absolute. This is, after all, human nature. But then, I stop to consider that every creature is very different. Indeed, every person is different and has a myriad of unique tastes. That’s why I created Doodlewash, and why I always strive to encourage people to use their art supplies in whatever way their heart demands they should use them. It’s equally why I founded World Watercolor Month as simply a celebration of the medium itself and didn’t restrict people as to how they might use it. I always tell people that mixed media is perfectly fine as long as the art includes watercolor, because whenever one uses watercolor, it always sort of steals the show. It’s rather impossible to use watercolor in a painting without having it sneak its way to center stage. The glowing, luminescent colors are what attracted me to the medium and it’s still my absolute favorite way to color my quick doodles.

My sincere hope in everything I DO is to bring the world of traditional painters, abstract fine artists, illustrators, crafters, hobbyists, and more, all together in a single place. I think we have much to teach one another, even if our styles and approaches are incredibly different. As a writer, or wannabe writer, I feel the same about that art form. While one should certainly read all they can in their particular genre, it’s stepping just outside that known world that produces the most intriguing ideas. What I’ve found in my own creative journey, both professionally and personally, is that I learn much more when I dip a toe in the water of someone else’s vision. Being at the hub of this quilt of an art world I’ve started has been the most rewarding experience I could have ever imagined. Because, in my own art journey, I’m just looking for a new way to think. I’m not on the hunt to exacting techniques, though I love learning about those. No, I’m just looking for the next idea. The thought that someone put into something they created. And, in fact, many times, some of the most clever ideas come from those who just picked up a paint brush for the very first time.

This is precisely why I always invite people to go back to the very beginning and embrace their inner child. I’ve watched over these past four years as people who’ve never made art before picked up a paint brush for the very first time in their lives after retirement. And I’ve received letters from people who are 80 years young or older and trying watercolor for the very first time. If these people had failed to mention their age, I would have been at a loss to guess it. That’s the beauty of discovery. It makes us all the same age. That beautiful age when we were too young to bother with questions that didn’t actually relate to what we were currently DOing. Back then, we just set out on the beautiful journey, excited for whatever lies ahead. And today, that’s the spirit I wish for anyone reading this as it applies to whatever creative endeavor has currently captured your heart. Explore everything you can in this world, especially the things that don’t seem perfectly relevant. You’ll discover, as I have, that at our best, we’re not creating a world of art, but simply a world of ideas. Thoughts and notions combine and swirl together to create new questions in our minds. This is when, as artists, we discover that, we’ve moved beyond the expected approach and are now, quite happily, flying to great heights.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Leaf Green, Quinacridone Red, Cobalt Turquoise, Terra Cotta, and Cobalt Blue. 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!
Hummingbird Wings Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail

 

Recommended6 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
22 Comments
  1. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 4 months ago

    Charlie, I like this insight into what inspired you to create Doodlewash. You do in fact bring the community together in a way that celebrates each person on their own terms. That’s a really wonderful aspect of this site. You are to be commended on your holistic vision. At the moment, this little charmer is lighting up my view.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕I had this crazy dream to DO just that from the beginning, so it makes me so happy to know you feel it’s happening. Yay! I figure if I can make a difference in just a handful of people’s lives, then it’s always something worth showing up for!

  2. Sandra Strait 4 months ago

    I agree with you on watercolor. It isn’t actually the medium I feel most comfortable with. I started with pen, and I think I’ve tried almost every medium there is. But watercolor is the one I most enjoy.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      That’s awesome to hear, Sandra! 😃💕Yeah, I’m totally the same way… I just love sketching stuff! hehe… but watercolor has become the coolest way to color of them all for me!

  3. Sharon Nolfi 4 months ago

    Your hummingbird actually glows! Love it!

  4. Karen Fortier 4 months ago

    Love your hummingbird! Watercolor is so much fun. I try to embrace its independence and somewhat unpredictable nature. It is so fun to watch the granulation and play across a good piece of cotton watercolor paper. Still learning and loving the process!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Yay! Thrilled to hear that Karen! 😃💕 Yeah… watercolor is unique and awesome. It has such an allure! And there’s a million ways to use it, so that makes it even cooler!

  5. Lisa 4 months ago

    There are 200 to 400 billion birds vs. 5 billion humans living on this planet. The number of humans continues to increase, while the number of birds is in decline. As sad as that fact is, I still persist in watching birds and keeping track of what I see. I added one new bird to my life list this past spring, and 4 birds to my list of birds I’ve seen in my yard. The Veery, which is a type of thrush, made both lists. So that is the long and short of it.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Yes, our birds are our living dinosaurs! 😃💕 They managed to live on this planet far longer than I think our species will. So, in the end, I’ll bet the birds still manage to outlive us! 😉

  6. June Hadaway 4 months ago

    This is a great painting and such an inspiring story with a lot of good advice. I agree, watercolor is my favorite too.

  7. Jannette Berger 4 months ago

    How n where do I post my sketch?

  8. Robert J. Coleman 4 months ago

    That hummer is a fine little jewel! We sometimes get ruby-throats at our backyard feeder, just gotta admire them. And your note about seeking our inner child embodies your message-reconnect with the real you, deep down inside. Only then can you see the world with a child’s simplicity and take it all in.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks, Bob! 😃💕Glad you liked you liked my little hummingbird! And yes, I truly believe that there’s less we need to learn than we think. Most of it is an act of re-learning what we already knew, once upon a time. 😉

  9. LoriCtoo 4 months ago

    Right on! More people need to learn to play! I try to encourage people to just give it a try. That is why I am doing WWCM this year….to show people you don’t have to create perfect art to participate. All you need is paper and paint. And before you know, you are hooked! It is such a stress relief, takes you away from the world around you. I am also doing a nature sketch class this summer and it has made me really look at what is around me. Nature is so full of beautiful things. It also takes me away from the real world. Something I think people need to do more. I’ve become an old lady birdwatcher too!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks, Lori! 😃💕 Yay to play! And to watercolor!! hehe… so much of social media is built on only showing the “perfect post,” but I say BLEH! I want to see real life… it’s always far more interesting!

  10. Lisa Ann Ulibarri 4 months ago

    Hi Charlie! First wanted to say I love love loveeeeeeee the hummingbird. So beautiful!!! 🙂 From the Native American part of my heritage we believe we can learn from the animals and that we have guides to help us in our life. One of my guides is hummingbird one who encourage our bravery, joy, enthusiasm, and a light hearted manner in life. Wise little critter 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕Aww I love that idea of animal guides! I think there is much wisdom to be found there!

  11. Mary Roff 4 months ago

    Beautiful post and painting!

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