The Beauty Of A Macaw

Macaw Watercolor Illustration

For Day 22 of #WorldWatercolorMonth and our prompt of “Rainforest,” I chose one of my favorite birds, a blue yellow macaw, whose natural habitat is the rainforest of South America. Here, reflecting a bit more green from my bits of trees for the background and my simple five color palette that I quickly chose. As ever, I always like to choose a character for a main subject, be it a creature or an object. And when painting creatures who have this much color and presence, I like to give them that “come hither” look as though they are perfectly aware that they’re rather sexy and exotic. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to feel either of those things. In my life, I’ve only been able to reach the heights of handsome or cute. And most mornings, these days, I wake up neither. There’s quite a process involved as I get older in making myself presentable, and most of it tires me and makes me just want to crawl back into bed. It would lovely to actually be a macaw like this and wake up stunning at all times. But, the cool part is, I always feel stunning and ready to be brilliant each morning, ready to DO something amazing even if my face doesn’t show it or my hair is terribly disheveled. In my heart and my imagination, I can be as sexy and exotic as I want.

When I look back at photos of my younger self, I realize I’ve never cared much for how I looked. I would wear anything that felt comfortable and pair odd colors together just because that’s how I felt that day. I went through a period as an adult where I tried to wear the latest fashions. Around the age of 40, after seeing a photo of myself on Times Square wearing “skinny jeans” and looking like a lollipop, I decided to stop bothering with such trivial things. What I’ve learned instead is that it’s truly what’s inside that matters most. There’s such a world of real emotion and heart that we each have and that’s really what the world is waiting to experience. Well, maybe not the world as a whole these days. It’s quite true that looking a bit like something familiar is still the chosen route for the popular kids. Having never been one of those, I’m free to play and experiment and enjoy the process as I see fit. And, I invite each of you to DO the same. I adore seeing the sketches and and paintings that people make when they are just starting out. They’re real and raw in their beauty. It’s enough to create something at all, so there’s no time spent staging it with brushes and palettes for that perfect Instagram photo. If you have the time, though, certainly try it, as it does indeed work best on Instagram, but don’t let it become an obsession.

For my own part, I’ve never really changed much from my first posting style. It’s just the page from my sketchbook. Today, of course, it’s scanned instead of photographed thanks to a gift from my awesome husband (seriously, this scanner really rocks!). But, it’s always just the thing I made that day, laid bare, with nothing to distract the eye. It’s not the popular way to post things, but it’s the way I still love most. My own daily offerings are an illustration to a story or simply the start of a conversation. The story isn’t always about what I painted as much as about what that painting inspired me to consider. Today, it made me think about being unusual and what that really means. I think being unusual is rather a high bar these days, and I wish more people would try it. It’s not difficult at all, really, it’s just being perfectly true to yourself and doing what comes naturally. It’s about showing up purely with what’s in your heart and sharing that with the rest of the world. When we show up like this, it’s guaranteed that we’ll create something wonderful and arrive to party with all of the beauty of a macaw.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, Leaf Green, Cobalt Turquoise, and Indigo. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black ink and sepia 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!
Macaw Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail
Recommended6 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Karen Fortier 4 weeks ago

    Great macaw Charlie. They are such a fascinating bird! They seem to have the personality to embrace all that color and charm. I’ve always been a behind the scenes type, slow and steady, letting my work speak for itself. Now I am working at seeing if my art will do that or will it be more just for my own pleasure. I am painting for me as if it doesn’t bring me pleasure how can anyone else feel that from the art.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Karen! 😃💕I agree… I think macaws know they’re gorgeous and flaunt it! Oh, to be a macaw! And yes to always making sure you’re finding pleasure in your art. It starts there and never ends. If we love something, it’s that love that people see in the finished piece and someone, somewhere is always going to smile! And often it will touch their heart!

  2. Sharon Nolfi 4 weeks ago

    Lovely bird, and I like the stem and leaves motif as well.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕Glad you liked the background… I don’t do actual backgrounds, so played with this one with sepia ink and pencil to let it fall to the background.

  3. Sandra Gilbert 4 weeks ago

    Charlie, I have always believed that sexy is more an attitude than actual looks, which means you seriously got it going on. So wave your freak flag proudly and strut your stuff. You have an attitude that I aspire to.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      heheheh! 😊You totally made me blush just then, Sandra! I think you said I was sexy! lol If you didn’t, please don’t correct me and let me dream on! 😃💕Yay to waving a freak flag high! It would be so dismal to be just like everyone else.

  4. Lisa 4 weeks ago

    He is a beauty! I was a bit of a clothes horse when I was younger and working. Now that I can’t walk, or lift my legs by myself, I have become a minimalist. Every day I slip on a colorful pullover dress with pockets. Easy peasy! The season dictates sleeve length. And the dresses are cheap. So more art supplies with the leftover money!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕I LOVE the way you think! Always so positive and resourceful. No wonder we’re friends! Yay to anything that gives us a chance to get more art supplies and create our own destiny!

  5. Amelia walters 4 weeks ago

    You are awesome Charlie. I so love daily art which is mainly due to you. I was so thankful when trousers, jeans etc were permissible for every occasion and I did not have to struggle with tights, skirts etc etc let alone smart shoes that always hurt !!!! Nobody paints like me but I get such lovely comments and am still going for day 23 today having never done any real watercolour before…….your encouragement is so so great…a million thanks.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Amelia! You are so amazing! 😃💕Seriously, your progress is insanely incredible. As much as I’d love to take all of the credit, I know my bit was really just lighting a candle that was already there waiting. But, I feel fantastic for having been that small part of your art journey and I cannot wait to see what you’ll create next my friend!

  6. Mary Roff 4 weeks ago

    Beautiful Macau and smart philosophy. Give me comfy clothes and flip flops any day.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks, Mary! 😃💕 Yay to that! Life is far to short to ever feel uncomfortable or forced to do something. The same applies to our art. 😉

  7. LoriCtoo 4 weeks ago

    So pretty! I love the leaves behind him also. I feel like I am running a race with WWCM, telling myself you can do this! A little over a week to go! Will I keep posting my stuff after July, maybe, but not every day. That’s too stressrful! Yeah, these days, it’s all about being comfortable when I head out the door. Lucky for me, I am better off not wearing anything nice to work because it can get messy.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Lori! 😃💕You can totally DO this for World Watercolor Month! hehe… yeah… I know I post daily and hold monthly challenges, but this month is special in that it’s that one time to actually DO every day! And yeah, you better keep posting my friend!! You know I’m always watching… wait… that sounded creepy. But, you know what I mean! lol

  8. Who wants to be the popular kid, anyway – the only direction is down…And I’m sure you never looked like a lollipop!

    Great macaw, by the way, Charlie.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      LOL… thanks so much, Michael! 😃💕So true! Who would ever want “down” as the only next step? hehe… but yeah, I can assure you skinny jeans are not appropriate for many people and I did, sadly, resemble a lollipop.

  9. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 4 weeks ago

    Good for you for always (nearly always) having the confidence to believe in yourself and follow your own inclinations. Took me a hundred years to get close to that. This exotic bird is beautifully painted and don’t he know it!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 Yeah, truly… it’s “nearly always” as it’s really tough to follow your own thoughts in this world today. I write these posts to remind myself as much as anyone else. 😉 And glad you liked my bird!

  10. June Hadaway 4 weeks ago

    I really like the way you painted the fern behind the Macaw. You used some really pretty colors too. Being true to yourself is the only way to be and being comfortable is the best thing ever. I can’t imagine you veing any other way.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, June! 😃💕 Yeah, I played with using sepia ink and pencil for the background to help it recede a bit in this one! So happy you enjoyed it! And my personal hope is to always show up as just me… no matter what!

  11. SMZ 4 weeks ago

    Charlie says, “I like to give them that “come hither” look as though they are perfectly aware that they’re rather sexy and exotic.”

    Before I even read the above statement, as soon as I saw that lovely macaw my exact thought was, that macaw is a rogue. It knows it has pizazz. That over the shoulder
    pose and those eyes, not to mention the vivid attire, all combine into a truly beautiful
    Macaw. Making the background fern in the same colors but lighter makes a statement
    too. It is as if the fern is agreeing “that is one lovely Macaw”.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Sarah! 😃💕 Yeah, I used a sepia pen and pencil for the background… it has to remain in the back… the macaw wouldn’t have it any other way!

      • SMZ 4 weeks ago

        That little rogue!!

  12. Sandra Strait 3 weeks ago

    I love the ‘come hither’ looks you give your creatures!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      hehe! Thanks, Sandra! 😃💕I have no idea why I always do that, but I think it gives them more character.

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