There’s nothing I enjoy more than rainy days, our World Watercolor Month prompt for today. They’re a perfect excuse to hang out indoors and read a book or, of course, paint with watercolor! Two of my favorite things to do! Today’s doodlewash is of a little hummingbird getting a drink after a rain. What fascinates me about these little birds is that they have a tongue that’s longer than their beak. So long in fact, it actually wraps around their whole skull when not jutting into a flower to retrieve some nectar. Scientists had long believed hummingbirds drank via a capillary action, the ability for liquid to flow in narrow spaces without the assistance of or sometimes even in opposition to gravity. Like what happens when we draw up water into our paint brushes. Only relatively recently, did high-speed photography reveal their forked tongues actually uncurl when hitting the nectar and then curl back up, trapping the fluid inside. It’s thrilling to know we don’t always know everything about our world and that more discoveries are happening all the time.
Certainly painting with watercolor feels much like this as well. No matter what I think I learned that day or now “know” going into the next, things will always surprise me. If one is a perfectionist, this could feel rather frustrating, but if you’re a just-have-fun-ist like myself, then it’s all just a wonderful part of the joyous experience! I’ve never been a perfectionist. I’ve always looked at the big picture when it comes to things, and once an idea seems nicely manifested, I feel quite satisfied. Sure, a million tiny details were sacrificed in the process, but none of them really mattered to what I was hoping to accomplish. While I love exploring details in my illustrations, it’s really the illusion of detail that I’m actually presenting. Zoom in on my doodlewashes and you’ll see just what a glorious mess of lines and color they’re actually made from. They’re never precise, but precisely a proxy for whatever it was I was attempting to sketch. And I learn a little something new each day!
My discoveries are nothing breakthrough like discovering how hummingbirds actually drink, but far subtler epiphanies. Seeing a more pleasing mix of a particular color, simply because I mixed less of this or that. Beginning to add a bit more color to my shadows to give them a touch more life. And, best, of all, remembering bits of life itself during the process. Like the time when I was a kid and a hummingbird zoomed past me and I screamed loudly and ran, because I thought it was a giant insect. Truly, though, in my defense, they fly more like horseflies than birds so it’s super weird. Delightfully weird now, of course, as I’ve learned to know what I’m really seeing. And this is how my mind drifts and turns each time I sit down to paint. It’s always a surprise to me and that’s what keeps me interested and coming back for more. If I had a plan, it would be possible to fail. Since I don’t, it’s all just a ton of fun. Like spending an afternoon stuck indoors doing whatever comes to mind without regret on one of those lovely rainy days.
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About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Leaf Green, Quinacridone Red, Cobalt Turquoise, Terra Cotta and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Click Here!
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I had to laugh at the image of you running in fear from a hummingbird. Your painting of one is gorgeous – that goes without saying. But I’ll say it anyway. It’s gorgeous!
Thanks so much, Sandra! 😃💕 hehe… yeah, not one of my prouder moments, running screaming from a hummingbird, but still quite memorable! lol
Gorgeous!! What a beautiful little guy.
Thank you for the pearls of wisdom today. “If one is a perfectionist, this could feel rather frustrating, but if you’re a just-have-fun-ist like myself, then it’s all just a wonderful part of the joyous experience!”. I need to unearth the “just-have-funist” under the scared perfectionist. I think you nailed it Charlie! 🙂
Thanks so much, Sheila! 😃💕I’m so thrilled this post inspired you! Yes… definitely choose “fun-ist” … the perfectionist is only ever disappointed. 😉
There’s always something new to discover with watercolor! Lovely hummingbird.
True that! 😃💕 hehe… thanks so much, Sharon!
I think hummingbirds and dragonflies are a little alike. Love to watch and paint them but heck no for landing on me!
I totally agree, Toni! 😃💕 LOL… so cool to see at a distance, but please don’t land on me! hehe
Your Hummingbird is just the sweetest little bird. I can see where it woild scare you as a child. They do fly quite fast. I always thought their beak was like a straw. Can’t imagine having a rolled up tongue like a hose. 😦
Thanks, June! 😃💕 Hehe… yeah, it’s wild that after 200 years, we are still learning about hummingbirds. That makes them rather cool in my book!
Sometimes hummingbirds sound like giant mosquitoes to me, Charlie… when they zoom in! 😳 Enjoyed seeing your painting today, I painted a hummer from my imagination earlier this month. I’m having such a blast painting in watercolor this month! Thanks to you, Charlie my friend! 😍
Aww yay! So happy to hear you’re enjoying the month Jill! 😃💕 You always make me smile with everything you create (even when I’m woefully behind on commenting… sorry about that). And totally true! They were like giant mosquitos…. so now you’ve totally justified my screaming and running away! LOL Thanks, friend!!
Your 🐦 is very natural.as always.i like when u were kid 😁😁😁😁😁😁.
Inspired me. thanks lie.
Aww that’s the sweetest comment! Thanks so much, Snehlata! 😃💕
Lovely! What a great background too. I did laugh at the ‘giant insect’ incident, because I’m sure I’d have responded in the same way! I certainly am missing the rainy days at the moment – it’s been several weeks since we’ve had even a sprinkle of the stuff. Hopefully we’ll get a nice thunderstorm soon!
Yay! Brilliant! Glad to hear we’d be screaming and running together, Jacob! 😃💕 hehe… I rather think when we finally meet one day that will happen again when I make you eat ice cream. 😉 And yay to a nice thunderstorm… we need it here as well!
You’re probably right. Ice cream? I scream! 😉
Again we are learning about you Charlie through your painting i like birds, bees warps it a lovely picture . Nice write up again
Thanks so much, Les! 😃💕 Glad you enjoyed this… yeah I tend to just say whatever comes to mind and not edit. I’m shy, but never mind sharing my thoughts.
I have seen hummingbirds at my feeder even during rainfall – quite heavy rainfall, in fact! I was amazed the first time I saw this behavior, as they seem so fragile. I’ve not yet tried to paint a hummingbird, but maybe someday – you are inspiring 🙂
Aww thanks so much, Quinn! 😃💕 Hummingbirds are such intriguing creatures. This is only the 3rd one I’ve ever painted, but I find them so fun. You should definitely paint one soon!!
The hummers are already fighting at my feeders. Summer must be half over😢 And a raccoon knocked one down for the third time. I’m going to have to think of a solution for that problem! Maybe live traps! Anyway, nice capture.
Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕 Yeah, raccoons can be unruly. We had one that loved to poop on our terrace. Thankfully, he found a better spot before we had to employ live traps. hehe