Wise Like An Owl

Great Horned Owl Watercolor - Day 8 - Doodlewash

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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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!

28 Comments
  1. Sandra Strait 2 months ago

    Your owl is so regal! You’re right about approaching life looking for the good and the positive. You find in life what you look for.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sandra! 😃💕I so agree… there’s so much good to be found in life, despite all that surrounds it!

  2. Lisa 2 months ago

    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.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks, Lisa! 😃💕Aww and I adore you took a trip to see that owl! That sounds so awesome!

  3. June Hadaway 2 months ago

    Oh wow, i like the position you painted your owl in. Colors aee great too.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much, June! 😃💕 Glad you liked him! Owls are just so cool!

  4. Sharon Nolfi 2 months ago

    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!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕So cool you have a hooting pair! That sounds wonderful… I love the sound of an owl!

  5. Leena Uniyal 2 months ago

    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. “

    • les 2 months ago

      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

      • Author
        Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

        My heart goes out to you Les 😃💕 Sending love. I’m so happy to have you here in our art community.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      I’m so sorry to hear about your dad, Leena. Sending you much love. 😃💕I know that sketching and painting has gotten me through many things that life throws at me. It’s truly a gift.

  6. les 2 months ago

    its beautiful Charlie

  7. GwendlynD 2 months ago

    Wow, he’s just fantastic <3

  8. smzang 2 months ago

    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.)

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sarah! 😃💕 I do think that we have the power to rise above all of the bad bits in the world. And it’s nothing more than embracing those little things that matter most!

  9. LoriCtoo 2 months ago

    Ha ha, just a scribble. You are funny. This is more than a scribble, mine was a scribble. A happy scribble, but
    a scribble. Your owl is beautiful.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      hehe! Thanks my friend! 😃💕 Yeah, it’s still scribbled, but very tightly and observant. I always hope to loosen up a bit more and remove lines, but I’m not that clever yet. 😉

  10. Mary Roff 2 months ago

    Lovely owl, Charlie! We have a pair of owls in the neighborhood that call to each other at night. LOVE to fall asleep to the sound of their conversation.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks, Mary! 😃💕 That owl conversation sounds perfectly fabulous! I LOVE that! Yeah, I miss my owl, I hope one or better yet, two, return soon!

  11. Elsie Hickey- Wilson 2 months ago

    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!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      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

  12. Ellie 2 months ago

    Wonderful owl, Charlie! And with just your three colors. Fantastic!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much, Ellie! 😃💕Glad you liked him! Yeah, I’m totally addicted to my latest Da Vinci Trio… these colors are kind of magical in what they can make! hehe

  13. Anita Sinha 2 months ago

    Nice and interesting info about owl. Is your black ink in your Lamy fountain pen waterproof ? Is your sepia ink also waterproof ?

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