When I was young, I played the violin and loved listening to orchestral music. One of my favorites was Flight Of The Bumblebee, which is a frenetic interlude written by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov for his opera The Tale of Tsar Saltan, composed in 1899–1900. So, today, we have this little 2 color doodlewash of a bumblee. Listening to this orchestral piece, you could close your eyes and see the bumblebee soaring through the sky, and it actually felt a bit like you were being chased by an angry one. Though as bees go, bumblebees aren’t typically aggressive, this song had all the energy and frenzy to create quite a battle in a little boy’s imagination. Later, when I was in high school, I would get to play the song myself in an orchestra. That’s when I realized it’s also insanely difficult to play, unless perhaps you are actually a bumblebee and therefore quite used to flapping your wings at 200 times a second. But I was determined, so I just kept right on practicing.
In general, practicing something when I was young was not my forte. I would get very easily distracted by something else I wanted to try, and drop what I was doing before any sort of mastery occurred. There seemed to be an endless number of things that I hadn’t yet done and I wanted to experience them all. This, of course, didn’t happen either, but I did manage to jump from one type of creative project to another much like a bee pollinating flowers. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed that classic interlude so much. It was like my soundtrack, a bustling and crazy bit of music that just blasted forward until suddenly ending. Looking back, I wish I had managed to discover something I loved enough to stick with it. By my current ripe old age, I would be quite amazing at whatever it was I might have chosen. But nothing in particular was ever selected and everything was simply tried on for size.
Luckily, there was always that one song I wanted to play more than anything, even if I wasn’t terribly good at any of the others. Then, in uncharacteristic form, I would steadily put in the practice and hope that each day I would get a little bit better. Today, I think watercolor has become that song for me. Only, in this case, I’ve no idea how the song should actually sound, it’s just the playing it that I cherish. Some days, I have time to sit and take my time while others, I’m rushing madly to make something appear on paper. Sure, I could skip a day, but why do that? It’s always possible to make something new, no matter how little time there seems to be left. More times than I can count, when I’m feeling rushed, I simply play that maniacal interlude in my head. And the battle to make something begins. Happily sketching and splashing paint, hoping that something recognizable will show up, spinning onward through my flight of the bumblebee.
About the Doodlewash
Sennelier L’Aquarelle: Quinacridone Gold and Payne’s Grey. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon with black ink and second pen with sepia ink in a little red cloth hardbound l’aquarelle journal I found in a Paris shop.
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!