Kerrie Woodhouse

Whimsical words and watercolour

A celebration of hot air balloons - in watercolour

Series of the MonthKerrie Woodhouse

Every so often, on our early morning school run we see hot air balloons. 

It is just the sort of extraordinary sight in an ordinary day that makes me happy to be alive. Even in the most routine tasks there is the odd touch of whimsy to be found. 

It makes you breathe a little deeper and a smile a little more. 


The kids start beaming and laughing and imagining what it might be like in a balloon.

And what would it be like?    

Up in the quiet expanse of blue under a glorious colourful bulb.


Staring at those bright generous shapes in the sky you can feel the sense of freedom.

Yes, even in the middle of the school run.

Freedom is a state of mind.


Even though I am not a huge fan of heights there is something a little magical about a hot air balloon. They seem to have an energy of anticipation about them that is so inspiring.


For it does take some energy to fill that balloon and get it air bound. All the heat and drama required to lift that balloon is a fascinating contrast to all the peaceful, silent floating.

So true to life. There will be moments of heat and fire. Passion and drama. But there will also be moments of ease and serenity. Perhaps one is not possible without the other.


I’m not sure what the collective noun is for hot air balloons, or if indeed there is one. But for me there is only one word that describes them en masse. To see a sky filled with hot air balloons what else could you call them but a celebration?


The shape of the hot air balloon is something I am drawn to. I can’t help wanting to draw and paint it.

(Want to join in? It is easier than you think…)

There is so much to love about their generous curves. Like an upside down pear.  


I love the way they let the air fill them up so completely, no reserved hidden corners. Just like we should be, totally open to let life fill us up completely, holding back no parts of ourselves.

Such a symbol of freedom and trust. A reminder that in order to float free you have to be prepared to let go of everything that weighs you down. Let it all go and have faith that you will rise.

Would you like to paint your own watercolour hot air balloons?

Worried that you are a beginner and that watercolour is too frustrating to work with?

Fear not - I’ve got you covered!