One of the most relaxing things in the world is to simply sit outside, perhaps with a drink in hand, and watch birds. Often, if I’m still enough, one will land on the railing of my terrace. For a brief moment, we’ll catch each others’ eyes, and he’ll stare back at me, cocking his head to access what’s before him. I stare back and nod imperceptibly as if to say “hello,” and I’m never certain that the greeting is communicated. In moments, he’s done with me at any rate and flying back off to parts unknown. It’s funny to realize we were both watchers in that moment. He was watching me as well. I’m not sure if I was as interesting to him as he was to me, but I cherish the short little time that we shared. Life can get so busy and hectic that it’s wonderful to have those little moments where nothing much of all seems to be happening. A brief encounter with a little bird can often be the best part of a busy day. A singular pause that makes the whole day simply drift away into something peaceful and happy.

I have to admit that I’m guilty of charging through days without stopping to enjoy the world around me. There are just too many things that have to be done each day and it’s easy to get caught up in the swirl of trying to actually do them. But there is always time to take that moment, to pause and reflect. To grab a brush and make something new on paper. To forget about all those complicated things that don’t seem to be sorting themselves out, and just savor the moment. Those delicious daily moments where I can scribble something into existence and add some splashes of watercolor. Pressed for time, and often wondering what the heck I should make, yet lost in a glorious moment that brings me so much joy. Sometimes, I wonder what I ever did before I discovered watercolor. My break at the end of each work day wasn’t nearly as therapeutic and comforting to be sure. I certainly appreciate this new “happy hour” much more than the ones that came before it.

It strikes me that no matter what is happening in life, we should always make time for the things that give us the most pleasure. Sometimes, sure, it seems like we’re indulging and forgetting about what’s most important. But, to me, the most important thing in the world is to do what makes us happy. When we’re happy, everything else in life just seems to get a bit easier. Life itself is a far smoother journey when we can embark with a smile upon our face. A quiet confidence, that although things are never going to be perfect, they can still be perfectly wonderful in the moments we allow our hearts to embrace the positive. And in these moments, comes the tantalizing truth that we are all artists in our own unique way. Each one of us makes something happen each day that couldn’t have happened if we weren’t there. To me, at least, that’s a totally amazing thing to consider. It’s all a thing of beauty, whether it’s creating the next watercolor masterpiece, or simply taking that cherished moment to get lost in the humble, yet amazing experience of watching birds.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Red Rose Deep, Cobalt Turquoise, Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Blue, and Payne’s Gray.  Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book.
 #WorldWatercolorGroup - Day 8 - Watching Birds - Bluejay - Doodlewash

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38 thoughts on “Watching Birds

  1. I really appreciated this post as I am a “birder”. I have some field guides and enjoy identifying and observing birds wherever I go. Luckily, I have a lot that visit my backyard, and this year we were treated to a nest! The tiny eggs hatched and we watched the babies being fed until they fledged. I’m so glad you enjoy the beauty all around you! Even better, you are able to capture it in your sketches.

    1. Awww, we bought out house just because of the birds in the garden. During the second visit to the house, I saw a woodpecker in the front garden and … decision was made 🙂 We still have the woodpecker (and many other birds!) visiting our garden and bird feeders, which are organised at several locations. Specifically, for the woodpecker, we keep one dead apple tree as a source of worms. I love birds watching and painting too.

  2. What a beautiful blue jay you’ve painted, Charlie. Their markings are so striking. They are among the easier of wild birds to train. If you put peanuts (raw, unsalted, and in the shells) on your railing, they’ll come to eat them. And they’ll remind you should you forget. Watching birds and listening to their trills is one of the most calming things to do. Glad you make time for it.

  3. Hi Charlie! 🙋 Great to stop and reflect on your post today… I agree that life seems to keep me too busy that I forget to stop and savor the quiet. Can you believe I forgot it was Draw A Bird Day?! 😮 So I will be shaking my tail feathers in my post on Saturday!! Love your bird!! 🐦👍

    1. Aww thanks, Jill! 😃💕 To be honest, I’m never sure if we’re still doing Draw A Bird day or anyone is curating the posts anymore, but if I have one in my prompts list I always put it on the 8th, just in case! hehe… here’s the savoring the quiet!!

  4. My cat often stares at me. I have no idea what’s going on behind those luminous yellow eyes but it’s probably along the lines of: “feed me soon or you won’t like me when I’m angry.” When I paint birds I usually stick to vivid colours like magpies. I find them much easier.

  5. A lovely bird indeed. The colors are great. I like the way you tilted the head. We have a lot of chickadees in the winter months that are so much fun to watch. They do seem to lighten the load on a busy, hectic day. Another nice story.

  6. Due to a bad fall I have spent all year closely watching and discovering the birds in my garden, I feel in someways its been a blessing to have to rest and appreciate the life in my garden of which I was previously unaware. Your site is also stirring thoughts of revisiting an attempt at watercolours. Thankyou for your refreshing thoughts on the simple pleasures in life.

    1. Aww thanks! I’m so thrilled you enjoyed this post! 😃💕 And sorry to hear about your fall… but I hear that watercolor is an excellent remedy in helping to heal quickly! hehe… I’m a total watercolor pusher… hehe… but you should DO it, DO it!!

  7. Your bird is beautiful colors and I love the turn of the head. Watercolors have made me more aware of so many things that I just didn’t observe. I have always loved nature and enjoyed taking photos but when I started painting there was so much more to observe. The light, shadow, color, line and shapes seem to call out. So many gifts of nature. Your are so right about taking that simple pause to enjoy and take it in. Thanks, Charlie, your words are encouraging.

  8. Don’t get to see too many blue jays here, so this is quite the sight! It is indeed a treat to spot any visitor, though it’s easier to enjoy when the cats aren’t prowling around.

    Sound philosophy, as always! <3

  9. And this post is yet more proof you need to write a book so I can highlight, like, half of it and foist it on everyone I know.

    Also, blue jays rock. (I’m out in here in the PNW, and we have Stellar’s Jays, like blue jays with all black heads, and Scrub Jays, which are like Stellar’s, but with grey heads — and they’re ALL my favorite. They’re just so *talky*. And BLUE. And pretty.)

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