Kerrie Woodhouse

Whimsical Watercolour

birds

Stand out to fit in

Series of the MonthKerrie Woodhouse

A little while ago I painted a series of tiny little birds and they got me thinking about the sort of big showy birds that usually get a lot of attention.

I thought they would be fun to paint with big splashes of bold colour - I was right - so much fun!

 
Dramatic Birds no 2 - Peacock (Watercolour on paper, 9"x12")

Dramatic Birds no 2 - Peacock (Watercolour on paper, 9"x12")

 

Spend some time observing these dramatic birds and before long you realise you are watching self confidence in action. 

 
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These birds seem to be like poster kids for self belief. 

"Be your bold, dramatic self," they seem to say. "Stand out and show your plumage."

 
Dramatic Birds no 9 Helio Swan (Watercolour on paper, 9"x12")

Dramatic Birds no 9 Helio Swan (Watercolour on paper, 9"x12")

 

We do spend a lot of time doing our best to fit in, to conform, at various times in our life. It can seem easier to try to just be the same as everyone else. Hide your differences to be left in peace to go about your business, rather than the pressure of  standing out and being seen. 

 
Dramatic Birds no 6 Peacock Tail (Watercolour on Paper, 9"x12")

Dramatic Birds no 6 Peacock Tail (Watercolour on Paper, 9"x12")

 

But these glorious birds are a colourful reminder that there is value in being bold, standing in your power, letting your freak flag fly!

Just like the peacock with his magnificent tail, or the flamingo with its crazy colour.

 
Dramatic Birds no 8 On My Way! (Watercolour on Paper, 9"x12")

Dramatic Birds no 8 On My Way! (Watercolour on Paper, 9"x12")

 

And then I started painting these birds together. A pair of flamingos... then a whole flock of them.

 
Dramatic Birds no 7 Flamingo Love (Watercolour on Paper, 9"x12")

Dramatic Birds no 7 Flamingo Love (Watercolour on Paper, 9"x12")

 

That's when I realised that as much as we might think we are unique special snowflakes and perhaps try to hide that to fit in, it is inevitable that with so many people in the world there will be others just like you - no matter how different you feel. 

 
Dramatic Birds no 5 Swan (Watercolour on Paper, 9"x12")

Dramatic Birds no 5 Swan (Watercolour on Paper, 9"x12")

 

It is only when you are brave enough to show the parts of you that seem outrageous to you that you will find them.

Far better to be you and find your own flock than hide your true self to fit in to the one you happen to find yourself in.

 
Dramatic Birds no 10 Flamingo Party (Watercolour on Paper, 9"x12")

Dramatic Birds no 10 Flamingo Party (Watercolour on Paper, 9"x12")

 
Find out who you are and do it on purpose.
— Dolly Parton
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An easy lesson in mindfulness

Series of the MonthKerrie Woodhouse
easy lesson in mindfulness

Have you ever spent some time watching little birds go about their business?

This could just be about the easiest lesson in mindfulness.

Everything the little bird does it does with all of its being. They are so earnest in everything that they do. All of their energy and attention is focused on the task at hand, and only that. That single point of focus makes them efficient and effective. It comes so effortlessly in the natural kingdom.

 
 

Creatures like birds know no other way to be. Any yet, we humans, apparently more evolved have lost this ease in life for the most part.

This I believe is the mindfulness lesson we can learn from out feathered friends.

It is not that they are not busy. Just like us they have multiple tasks, demands and needs. Watch a few little birds hopping about over the cafe pavement collecting crumbs. They so remind me of busy mums, bustling about the shopping mall. 

 
 

They need a good chat. Domestic budgies require 'socialising' to remain in good health. Like their wild relatives nattering in the trees they need to talk to someone - just like us.

 
 

They need alone time too. Is there a more peaceful sight than a little bird sitting alone, surveying the world? There is such calm in their stillness. We can find that too, if we are prepared to just sit still for a moment.

 
easy lesson in mindfulness
 

When a bird goes to work, it shows us how it can be if you know your purpose and fulfil it with conviction. Take the kingfisher, for example. A bird like the kingfisher is a remarkably talented huntsman. Swift, yet quiet. Ruthless, yet graceful.  He knows who he is and every fibre of his being carries out that purpose. 

 
 

And of course, everyone needs a bit of love. We all need a hug at some point.

 
 

So just like us, our feathered friends lead busy lives with many roles. It is not that you need to be less busy to find peace and calm. It is not being busy that is the problem. It is not even having multiple roles that is an issue.

Stress does not come from having too many things to do in our lives. It comes from trying to do them all at once.

We can be friends, parents, partners, homemakers, high achieving career people, and zen-like loners.

We can be all these things we want to be.

We can complete the multiple tasks we assign to ourselves.

Just not at the same time.


Feeling inspired to organise your multiple roles and chores? 

A calendar might help... you can order one starting at any month you choose.

 

Explore more bird and animal art here.