Missouri Bluebird

Missouri Bluebird by Charlie O'Shields

For my Draw A Bird Day entry (hosted by my lovely friend Laura at Create Art Everyday), I’m continuing with my hometown tour by introducing you to the Missouri state bird. Meet the Eastern bluebird, which was designated as the state bird in 1927 (it’s also the state bird of New York but not until 1970… we’re such trendsetters here).

The Eastern bluebird is a medium sized songbird with a short tail, rounded head, short black bill, a reddish-orange chest, and brilliant blue wings and tail (Cobalt Blue and Cadmium Orange with a hit of Burnt Sienna in the case of my little doodlewash). This is only my second time drawing a bird, the first time was a rooster, but I really enjoyed drawing one so I’m hoping to try more!

As is often the case in birdland the male gets the fancier colors, and I love that in order to attract the female, this little guy performs a “Nest Demonstration Display.” He basically just brings nest material to the hole, goes in and out, and perches above it waving his wings around. This is his only contribution to nest building, much like many human males when moving into a new home.

Populations of these birds declined in the 70’s, when I was a kid, so it was very rare to actually see one. Thankfully they’ve been coming back over the years and their numbers are increasing (thanks in large part to the popularity of nest box campaigns). I’ve always loved these birds and you can spot them from a distance when the sun shines through their blue wings in flight. I hope you like him too!

Profile photo of Charlie O'Shields
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!
Published in By Charlie
32 Comments
  1. Sharon Mann 2 years ago

    Wow, gorgeous color and nicely rendered Charlie, it’s been fun today seeing everyone’s bird contributions.

    • Author

      Thanks Sharon!! Glad you like it! Just had time to sit down and browse other birds! Love seeing them all…this is fun! 😃🐦

  2. ann christina 2 years ago

    He´s gorgeous!!! I´d love to see one in real. We don´t have that colorful birds around here…

    • Author

      Thanks Ann! I haven’t seen but one this season… they’re kind of like finding gold! So pretty when you stumble across one!

  3. Teresa Robeson 2 years ago

    Bluebirds (various species) are a perennial favorite of people’s and your painting shows why!

  4. Charlie, this is beautiful and you totally nailed the colors! Really love it! You did a wonderful job. Glad you joined in again! This is one of my favorite birds. My husband built some boxes especially for them so we always seem to have them in our yard. We live in the sticks though, farm country. We’re lucky to have different kinds of birds. Really enjoyed your painting, Charlie!

    • Author

      Thanks so much Laura!! Glad you liked him. And kudos to your husband on the boxes! Those boxes are what’s keeping the population numbers up for these little guys! So yay! 😉😃

      • Yeah, I think he started building them when he heard their numbers were declining. We’ve had a pair in our yard not long after, and ever since. Could be a different pair, but they’re lovely to watch, whoever they are. Gorgeous when they fly, as you said.

      • Author

        That’s so cool! I’m jealous! You don’t see them much at all in the city.

  5. memadtwo 2 years ago

    Beautiful! It’s fun to see different approaches to the same bird. I love the freshness of your colors.

    • Author

      Thanks Kerfe! My first little bird… hoping to try more. It is super fun to see different approaches. Would be fun to all pick the same subject and do it one day as new art challenge!

  6. Jill Kuhn 2 years ago

    Your Bluebird is AWESOME, Charlie! Wow! You are a natural at birds! Love your idea of picking one bird and everyone creating it! 🙂

    • Author

      Yeah I was thinking it could be any subject matter, but everyone seems to be okay with birds so maybe that’s the safest subject matter. Even me now that I’ve actually drawn one! Hehe 😊Glad you like him Jill! ❤️😃

  7. Jodi 2 years ago

    What a beauty Charlie! Tell me – do you sketch first then paint or vice versa ? And do you ever ketch first in pencil? Trying to find the best way for me and wondering how others do it. I would be so excited to see a bluebird. I think I need to see if hubby can build a house to attract them. 😉

    • Author

      Yes! Build the house!! Hehe… I usually always just sketch in pen first and then add watercolor as I did with this one. For some subjects with lots of soft lines I’ll start in pencil then go over it with pen and erase the pencil marks. If I’m just doing a doodlewash in mainly watercolor and the scene doesn’t seem to want ink (lots of organic shapes) I’ll use pencil only and then go straight to watercolor. I’ve only attempted watercolor only a couple times, but that’s another option. It’s just about experimenting. My favorite way is ink only and watercolor, but anything you love will work! 😉

      • Jodi 2 years ago

        I really appreciate hearing your process. Thanks !

  8. Kari 2 years ago

    Beautiful bird! User hummingbirds often in my backyard but never attempted to paint it. I thought the Missouri would be the cardinal. 😊

    • Author

      Thanks! Yeah…the Cardinals are a St. Louis baseball team, but the bird is blue! Hehe I want to paint a cardinal though as I’ve never tried it. You should totally try painting a hummingbird Kari!

  9. artandmoondreams 2 years ago

    What a charming fellow! I love this…and only your second bird? You are a natural for sure. Thank you for sharing him.

    • Author

      Thanks friend! ❤️😃Yeah it’s my second. The first was a rooster, so this is the first typical bird drawing I guess. 😊hehe

  10. amaryllislog 2 years ago

    Ah, this is perfection Charlie! Such a lovely bird!

  11. beverlydyer 2 years ago

    Little blue gem!

  12. […] Charlie at Doodlewash […]

  13. Sand Salt Moon 2 years ago

    Great lines and color

  14. […] This little doodlewash is for Draw A Bird day which is hosted by my friend and soul sister Laura at Create Art Everyday on the 8th of each month (try it today or join us next month!). This is my third bird that I’ve painted for this and the third bird I’ve ever painted as I’ve never tried doodlewashing birds before joining in on the fun! (You can see Bird One here and Bird Two here) […]

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