Peacock Butterfly

Peacock Butterfly by Charlie O'Shields

This is a doodlewash of a peacock butterfly, because I was thinking it might be cool to sketch a peacock and these came up as well while I was searching for reference. I’m rather easily distracted. I hadn’t really known there were butterflies called this, but it looked sort of cool so I thought I’d try to make one.

I always remembered my mother collecting butterfly pins when I was growing up. This was handy as it was always a good starting point for a gift – a necessity when you’re both young and a guy. I’m not really sure if she intended to collect them or whether observant people simply noticed one she was wearing once and started the trend.

But my mother’s butterfly pin collection is really quite extraordinary and I think it’s wonderful. Over the years, she’s acquired all sorts of beautiful and bejeweled pins and selects a new one each time she goes out to dinner or a show. No matter what she chooses to wear, there’s always a butterfly perfect for completing the look.

I had a friend who “collected” ornamental frog sculptures, but later I found out that she didn’t even like frogs. People had just started giving them to her after two close family members had gifted her the first two. After seeing them in her house, simply because she’d forgotten to hide them after said family members had finished their visit, she continued to receive more until she was forced to become a frog collector.

I’ve always thought it would be cool to have a “thing” that you collected, but my attention span issues left me always looking for new things right after my collection started. And after I had acquired the first few treasures, I was immediately bothered by the fact that I didn’t know what to do with them and it all just felt like stuff I didn’t need.

Perhaps that’s why I enjoy “collecting” things in a sketchbook. Not only can I collect anything that comes to mind for free, I immediately have a place to put it. When I’m done with this current sketchbook, for example, I’ll have collected 60 things! Weirdly random things, sure, that would be bizarre if they all managed to sit on a shelf together. But in my tiny book, they fit together just fine.

So this little peacock butterfly has managed to fly into my collection and landed directly across from a stuffed duck toy. The only thing they have in common is that they suddenly came into my mind. And finally, I have a way to collect things. Not in the traditional way, but in a way that works like my crazy mind works – spontaneous, unplanned, and one page at a time.

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!
36 Comments
  1. kirkistan 2 years ago

    Great colors.

  2. Teresa Robeson 2 years ago

    There are so many butterflies just on our continent that I know I will never know them all and therefore I’d never heard of this one. 😉 I’m sure you made it more beautiful than it really is! I’m with you…I don’t like to collect things anymore for the lack of places to put them and then I have to dust them, too. No thanks! 😀

    • Author

      Hehe! So true! And I’m not sure I even truly capture this butterfly’s beauty! It really looks like this! Only prettier! 😊😊 Hehe

  3. Kari 2 years ago

    Love butterflies!! For my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah last year, I hand lettered all the envelopes and drew a butterfly on each.. Yeah, it was crazy but I enjoyed it. Your are gorgeous!! I’m glad I didn’t have to draw THAT on each envelope. 😊

    I collect elephant figurines. I’ve always loved elephants. My father-in-law has a frog ceramic sculpture for each of his 10 grandchildren.. 😊

    • Author

      Wow! On each envelope! You are amazing!! I can barely do a doodlewash a day! Lol I’m sure they were impressively beautiful Kari! ❤️😃 And I had an aunt that used to collect elephants! You just reminded me of that! But the frog for each of the grandkids is priceless! Love that! ❤️

  4. Jacob 2 years ago

    You don’t see butterflies like that over my way! Indeed these days it seems a rare treat to see one at all, which is a shame. How marvellously colourful, and very deserving of such a name! Great stuff, Charlie – you should still do a peacock, though.

    I used to collect little model windmills and clocks as a child, because I was the coolest. My mother still has the windmills. I don’t really do that kind of thing anymore, although I am a bit of a hoarder when it comes to digital files… the TV shows I record, never get to watching, but am loathed to actually delete!

    • Author

      Actually I just couldn’t find a good reference for a peacock that I thought would fit on my tiny Moleskine page. 😊😊 But I’ll try one someday! And Windmills and clocks!!? Awesome…you were definitely the coolest!! 😎

      • Jacob 2 years ago

        Wahey, please do! I look forward to it!

  5. Sharon Mann 2 years ago

    Oh so beautiful Charlie! A favorite quote:
    The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.
    Rabindranath Tagore

    • Author

      Thanks Sharon! 😃❤️Ohhhh…..what a lovely quote! I hadn’t heard that. That’s amazing! Thanks for sharing it! 😃

  6. Sharon Mann 2 years ago

    Some years ago I made a series of paintings using quotes and I found this one. 😍

  7. Yolanda D 2 years ago

    I love the concept of the sketchbook as a collection. It turns out that I collect elephants LOL. I don’t really wnat any more so I’ve placed them on a tray that limits it.

    • Author

      Glad you liked it Yolanda! And elephants are awesome! The tray trick is a good idea! Of course, I guess, you could always just buy another tray when that one’s full! 😉hehe

  8. Jill Kuhn 2 years ago

    Hi Charlie! I so enjoyed your post today! ❤️ I tend to collect “stuff” too and then become bored with it and move on. I’m relieved to know that I’m not alone! 😊 I like to think that I just have LOTS of interests. I love collecting books on a variety of art mediums that I refer to for ideas and inspiration. I really like your idea of collecting different subjects in your sketchbook! 🎨💖😄 And your peacock butterfly Doodlewash is AMAZING!!! 😄 I love butterflies too! 💖🌟🌈

    • Author

      Awww thanks Jill!!! ❤️😃I’m so happy you liked the butterfly. I’d never tried to draw one before and they’re deceptively difficult! Hehe And I think collecting must be an artist’s genes! 😊 But I do think sketchbooks are good with helping to serve the craving while reducing a bit of the clutter! 😉lol 😍🎨

  9. Rebecca 2 years ago

    I live in a rural area, and we regularly see peacock butterflies in the summer; they are often early to emerge in spring, and are a flamboyant herald of warmer times. Well done on this pic – there was absolutely no doubt it was a peacock!

    • Author

      Awww thanks Rebecca! ❤️😃We don’t get many of these where I am so it was really fascinating to me. And kind of tough to doodlewash! I’m glad you recognized it!! 😊hehe

  10. DrawingConnections 2 years ago

    What a lovely thing your Mum does to have a new butterfly to enjoy each special occasion with. As for the reluctant frog collector…how funny!

    • Author

      Yeah…not sure what it would be like to unwittingly end up with a house full of frogs! 😳lol And my mother’s collection has grown super impressive over the years! 😉😃

  11. Jodi 2 years ago

    Love the butterfly! Another gorgeous Doodlewash. And collecting things you love in your moleskin is an awesome collection

    • Author

      Thanks Jodi!! ❤️😃Glad you liked it! And I keep bouncing from things I actually love to things that just interest me or sometimes terrify me. Lol That will be seen later in my post today. 😉hehe

  12. Sabiscuit 2 years ago

    This looks like a decorated clothespin style clip I presented to a friend. The detail was amazing. Someone cut out a piece of wood in the shape of a butterfly, and painted it. Divine. I should have kept some for myself, or maybe I should make some. Gorgeous, as always, Charlie. x

    • Author

      Thanks so much friend!! I’m so happy you liked it! 😃💜 That clip sounds like a beautiful gift! You should have given yourself one too! Hehe 😊

  13. amaryllislog 2 years ago

    I love this post Charlie! What a perfect way to collect things! Your butterfly is beautiful. I would love to see your mom’s collection. It sounds fascinating. I guess it’s true you can become a collector without knowing it, similar items just start showing up from thoughtful family and friends.

    • Author

      Thanks so much Cathe!! ❤️😃 Yes, my mom’s collection is really great. Perhaps when I’m in Texas for Christmas I’ll doodlewash it or at least grab some photos! Hehe

  14. memadtwo 2 years ago

    Excellent observation…I have collected far too many actual things. Perhaps I should just draw some of them and pass them on. (K)

    • Author

      Thanks Kerfe! 😃❤️Yeah…the sketchbook is a great space-saver when it comes to collecting! Hehe… I figure 60 items you can fit in your pocket is a pretty cool thing! 👍🏻😃

  15. artandmoondreams 2 years ago

    Beautiful painting, love your tale.

  16. Elestra 2 years ago

    I really like your style, not only drawing but the way you tell people about your picture. I like when artist is honest, openly speak about his experience from past, some story from his childhood. Communication between the artist and the audience, this is what I need to learn.

  17. missandile 2 years ago

    Wow. That’s beautiful. So much talent…..(Amazed) :0

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