For our prompt of “Emerald” today, I was originally going to sketch the gemstone and then got sidetracked by a video of a little hummingbird known as a western emerald. So, that’s what we ended up with today. As many of you know by now, I very easily get distracted by videos when looking for ideas of what to sketch. Though truly, any chance to sketch a bird and I’ll take it! My mind also went to the Emerald City of Oz, since I live right next to Kansas and Dorothy’s hometown. There’s lots of Wizard of Oz souvenirs that can be found for tourists who visit Kansas City even though it’s actually in Missouri. This little bird isn’t one you’d find here, but hails from western Ecuador and Colombia. One of the reasons I find birds so fascinating is that there are endless varieties in every color combination one could imagine. And it’s always a perfect lesson in color theory to study nature and watch how those colors appear.

While many of the most colorful birds aren’t seen where I live, there are still lots of them to enjoy. Yesterday while on a walk a lovely primary palette appeared consisting of a red cardinal, blue jay, and yellow finch. I see these birds and many others while we’re out walking our dog Phineas. He doesn’t seem quite as interested in birds. Indeed, he just ignores them unless one moves close by and startles him. On today’s walk, he was suddenly excited about something and started pulling forward almost at a run. Philippe and I ran after him to see where he might lead us, but just moments later, he got completely distracted by a patch of grass and we never found out what he was after. This is rare, as it’s normally more of constant stroll and stop with Phineas rather than a continuous walk, much less a run. He doesn’t want to miss anything along the way. A quality I have to admire.

Walks have become my only form of entertainment outside of being at home these days. So, I’m enjoying them even more. We live directly next to a historic cemetery, which has lots of ancient trees and various paved roads to explore. That’s where the first walk of the day happens and the one I always enjoy most. Phineas doesn’t like to go the same way twice during a day, so the path always shifts. But the morning walk is my favorite, because it feels like a little escape from the tightly packed city homes and apartments. No matter what my mood my have been when I started on that walk, I’m always in a bright and cheery mood when I return. Nature never fails to surprise and delight me. Even the smallest things, things I think I’ve seen so many times before are just a bit different. Flowers have grown, new birds have arrived, and fresh leaves have fallen. And though I’m limited to my own climate and location as to what appears there, in my sketchbook it’s equally delightful to know that I can still get a visit from a western emerald.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Hansa Yellow Medium, Quinacridone Red, Cobalt Turquoise, and Indigo. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black 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!
Hummingbird Western Emerald Orange Flowers Branch Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail


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32 thoughts on “Western Emerald

  1. I had not heard of this bird, but it is beautiful. I love getting out for a daily walk. It has kept me sane for decades! We live in an area of hills and canyons, with natural areas abutting suburban homes. There are trails if we want to get away from the sidewalks. I also love walking in cemeteries.

  2. Bonjour, savez-vous dessiner sans image recherchée dans une vidéo, ou un livre ? c’est un beau colibri vert que je ne connaissais pas – vous devriez écrire un livre, d’une simple promenade avec un chien, vous créez un univers

    1. Thanks so much, Cathy! 😃💕 I often use photo references, but sometimes, if I’ve sketched something enough, like dessert, I’ll just make something up from my imagination. And yes! I definitely hope to write more books one day!

  3. Beautiful hummingbird Charlie! We occasionally see hummingbirds but today we were serenaded by a cardinal while we cleared bushes away from the stonewall that runs in front of our house. We both have sore backs tonight. Time for cheese, crackers and wine. Beautiful day here!

  4. What an inspiring and uplifting post, Charlie. I’m enjoying imagining you and Philippe and Phineas walking and spotting birds. I also love birds as my dad loved them and instilled a love of all birds and of nature in general in us. We haven’t a lot of birds in our neighborhood because the raucous crows dominate and scare away most of them. But we do get beautiful Anna’s hummingbirds here, especially as my husband and I planted hummingbird friendly flowers. Anna’s resemble ruby throats with their brilliant cranberry throats, but do not have the brilliant neon green jacket. As a kid, I also noticed that nature’s palette was more extraordinary than fashion designers allowed. Of course, I was a kid decades ago and fashion designers have since caught up with nature’s extravagance. Your Western Emerald hummer is a beauty, and you painted it gloriously. It does feel a bit like we’re all in Oz right now. Time to go home, just safely, please.

    1. Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 Yeah, it’s a very odd world we’re leaving through now. But thank goodness there are hummingbirds to remind us that everything is still as it should be in many ways.

  5. On days like this beautiful one, if I have nothing pressing to do outside, I just go out and look around. Today I discovered that one of my wild plum trees is covered with the starts of plums. From what I understand, birds love them. I also read that I could make jam from them. We will have to see what actually comes to fruition before I start toasting bread.

  6. Yep I am going to use your awesome sketch as my inspiration. I’ve been wanting to document my encounter with one the other day while out in the yard. One landed about 2 feet from me. Then he started feeding off a plant that was a foot from me. He kept going back and forth from flower to perch. He didn’t seem to be bothered by me and hung around for about 5 minutes. We always have them in our yard, but they normally don’t sit for too long.

  7. This is my favorite time of year for watching birds. We get visitors that I don’t see any other time. We had a killdeer that nested in our backyard and l’ve enjoyed watching the babies hop around ❤️❤️❤️

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