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.
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.
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. 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!