Watching Birds

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
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, Other Cool Stuff
33 Comments
  1. Sharon Nolfi 2 weeks ago

    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.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Thanks, Sharon!! 😃💕 And soooo cool that you have a nest to see little babies hatch!! That’s so awesome!!

  2. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 2 weeks ago

    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.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Shari! 😃💕 Oh wow, I didn’t realize that about bluejays.. I’ll have to try that! We get lots of them around here! Cool!

  3. Susan Cuss 2 weeks ago

    I love to watch the birds come to my feeders, too, Charlie. It’s a peaceful time for me. Great blue jay!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Susan!! 😃💕 yeah, it’s totally awesome to watch them! Glad you’re a fan as well!

  4. Jan Williams 2 weeks ago

    I appreciate the list of colours that you have used in your paintings. Thanks Charlie.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      So happy you find useful, Jan!! 😃💕 If the colors ever look off… let me know…. I copy and paste that bit at the bottom and sometimes forget to edit it right away. hehe… but usually always right!! 😊

  5. Sandra Strait 2 weeks ago

    I love the way you’ve used purple as a highlight color! Awesome bird!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Aww thanks, Sandra!! 😃💕 A bit more purple than they really are… artistic license I guess! hehe

      • Sandra Strait 2 weeks ago

        Reflected light. That’s the story I always use, and I stick to it, lol!

  6. Nay Aung 2 weeks ago

    We usually lost ourselves in many other things but we’re lucky.We have a lovely hobby that can pause the precious moment.BTW,your bird is cool Charlie 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Thanks, Nay! 😃💕 And yay to that… we have a lovely hobby indeed!!

  7. Lisa 2 weeks ago

    I’m a big time bird watcher. Your blue hat is spot on!

  8. Jill Kuhn 2 weeks ago

    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!! 🐦👍

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      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!!

  9. Roger 2 weeks ago

    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.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Haha!! I’m sure that’s exactly what your cat is thinking! 😃💕 Yeah, I find birds really challenging in general. I prefer colorful parrots! hehe

  10. memadtwo 2 weeks ago

    That’s a wonderful blue jay Charlie. They always surprise me by being so large! A bird visit is definitely a treat. (K)

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Kerfe! 😃💕 They are big aren’t they?? Impossible to miss!

  11. June Hadaway 2 weeks ago

    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.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, June! 😃💕 Aww… chickadees are awesome!! Love those birds!

  12. 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.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      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!!

  13. Mary McDonough 2 weeks ago

    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.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Mary!! 😃💕 And you’re so right… watercolor really does make you start observing the world around you more. Another reason to love, love, love this medium!

  14. Sandra Gilbert 2 weeks ago

    Beautiful bird and I agree, bird watching is so relaxing. I love watching my little finches. The flock at my house seems to be growing, which brings more happy relaxation opportunities.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Thanks, Sandra! 😃💕 Aww… we have some yellow finches that appeared here, but just a couple that we’ve seen. Love those birds!

  15. Jacob 2 weeks ago

    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

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Thanks, Jacob! 😃💕 hehe… yeah… cats prowling can tend to put a damper on the bird watching. There’s a black cat around here that will often appear and scare away my newfound friends.

  16. Jennifer McLean 2 weeks ago

    great bird, especially the purple!

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