We used to have a great horned owl that nested outside our window, but we haven’t heard those familiar hoots this year. Granted, it’s a bit spooky if you happen to be up late as they tend to hoot a bit more just before midnight. I rather enjoyed it, especially during this Halloween month, so I’m a bit sad that he’s apparently moved on to another place. Hopefully, just down the block and not that other more permanent place. Our dog, Phineas, on the other hand is likely thrilled as the sound of the owl would freak him out instantly and cause him to race back to the house on a walk. Owls are rather good at catching all types of small mammals, so this fear is not completely unwarranted. It’s this skill, along with the large eyes and ability to to turn their head in as much as 270 degrees in both directions that has given them the distinction of being “wise” and “all-seeing.” The Greek goddess of wisdom, Athena, enjoyed an owl as her symbol, and since that time the owl has been freely associated with knowledge. Since I don’t often paint a background, you’ll just have to imagine the stars and that full moon hanging there.

Today, I added a bit of extra black ink, mostly because I hadn’t used my black ink fountain pen much recently, so I figured I’d use this sketch to get it really flowing again properly. And since it’s Inktober, this seemed to work out perfectly. I fully realize one can simply scribble on a practice page to accomplish this, but I have very little time for these posts, so I just scribbled my way through this sketch for today instead. If there’s one thing I’ve learned during this little art journey, it’s that you can DO pretty much anything that comes to mind in the moment and have a fabulous time! I enjoyed making this little owl and hope the real version will come back to visit me one day. Phineas, no doubt, disagrees, but he’s always been rather contrary. And I miss the spooky little sounds that made this season feel a bit more complete. But, as ever, I’m content with my memories and happy to scribble a bit of owl for this prompt. I think I’m certainly still acquiring bits of wisdom each and every day. So much is changing in the world that it feels like a race to keep up. But as things change, there’s thankfully plenty that remains blissfully the same.

Beyond the headlines, masterfully designed to create a bit of stress and despair, there’s that silly thing known as everyday normal life. This is the world I chose to inhabit. Bits of things that are decidedly true and real, and don’t require a bit of googling to fully comprehend them. Yes, it’s been well-established that I’m a little boy at heart, believing in the good and positive in the world beyond all doubt. But, in many ways, I think life is just far happier when approached this way. That’s what I love most about sketching and painting. For a moment each day, I can just relax into a normal world where nothing is more pressing than simply making a bird appear on paper. In so many ways, I wake up thankful each and every day for my sketching habit. I’m not sure I could ever pause long enough otherwise to truly take that important moment to remember what’s truly important in life. I’ve no idea yet where this journey is going to lead me, but I’m quite happy today knowing that in so many ways, it’s making me wise like an owl.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, and Indigo (my “Vintage” Trio!). Photo Reference: Peter K. Burian.  Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book.
Great Horned Owl Watercolor - Day 8 - Doodlewash

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28 thoughts on “Wise Like An Owl

  1. Nice owl! A few years ago there was a great gray owl visiting here from Canada where it normally spends the winter. It settled in an area in Madison very near a small brewery. My friend and I drove up to see him. It was one of those highlight moments of my birdwatching life.

  2. Your owl looks very wise. We have owls in our neighborhood and often hear them hooting. Sometimes there will be a pair calling back and forth to each other from different perches. It’s a thrill to hear them!

  3. Love this post, Charlie!
    I’m currently going through a difficult period, with my Dad unwell.. and it’s the sketching and painting thats helping me, as you beautifully put it “relax into a normal world where nothing is more pressing than simply making a bird appear on paper. “

    1. I feel for you . My wife Cynthia died on the 5 Oct peacefully and yes my painting is helping me so much .She just loved to watch me All the best for your farther keep well Leena

  4. Charlie says, “Beyond the headlines, masterfully designed to create a bit of stress and despair, there’s that silly thing known as everyday normal life.”

    Two thumbs up and a trophy too! (for that awesome truth and for that owl, so real I can hear his eerie hoot drifting through this foggy early morning.)

  5. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Charlie, for that last paragraph in this blog post! I used to love reading the newspaper, catching the late night news broadcast….but these days I dread each encounter with the world “out there”….Ah, yes, taking a pen in hand, dipping a brush in paint, brings me back into something real, normal! Viva Art! Again, thanks!

    1. Aww YES! hehe! Painting is way better than listening to all of that stuff! 😃💕 So thrilled you enjoyed this! Thanks, Elsie! I’m not sure if you’ve sketched out my podcast yet, but if not, I hope you do. It’s strategically engineered to be used in the background while painting and combat the news to help put life back into perspective. 😉 You can find the latest episodes at sketchingstuff.com

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