Honey Bees

Day 6 - #WorldWatercolorGroup Honey Bees on Honeycomb Doodlewash Extinct Endangered

Today, I was about to sketch a single bee and then realized that’s what I would normally do, so I decided to try something different and more complex. I literally erased an entire pencil sketch of a bee and drew this instead. It was liberating to wipe the page clean like shaking an Etch A Sketch and move right on to something else. So here we have a bit of a hive of honey bees doing their bee thing on a honeycomb. Still sketched loosely and speedily as I’m running out time to make this post. I don’t have a vast knowledge of honey bees, but do know that their numbers are shrinking each year, due to pesticide use, as humans are rather poor neighbors to pretty much all other living creatures on the planet. That, and honey bees are the only bees that die after they sting you, which is another unfortunate fact for them. Thankfully, these little guys are pretty docile so if you stay out of their way, they’ll typically stay out of yours.

I heard once that bees in a colony have different jobs, and some change their jobs throughout their brief existence. Interestingly, their brain chemistry actually changes as well before they start their new job. I’ve always thought this would be an exceedingly useful trick if humans were capable of doing the same. It also probably explains why I’ve only been able to do creative jobs my entire career. My brain just can’t rewire itself to say, do accounting, or other things that require an extended use of the left side of my brain. I’m pretty sure my right side devoured that bit sometime in grade school. But I guess, in the end, I wouldn’t have it any other way. As I continue to push myself into new territory with full-page sketches, I’m also wishing I could rewire my brain to increase my attention span. Near the end of these, I get a bit bored and start splashing color around and dabbing bits of dark in places in order to complete it.

What I’ve realized is that my short attention span and quick execution are simply part of my style. They’re what makes my sketches look like mine, and so it’s really not such a bad thing after all. This may also be why I’m reticent to do any sort of demo, as I’m not sure that “jabbing bits of dark” counts as a teachable technique. But if you happen to like my style, that’s pretty much the key as I always push contrast as much as possible. This is why I rarely put down my fountain pen as it helps me add immediate contrast which makes the painting go by faster. That, and painting in circles so one bit almost dries by the time I come back with another wash. All of this, I now realize, is my version of a style and so even as I paint larger, I’m still embracing it. Sometimes, you have to just lean into what feels right for you and abandon notions of right and wrong ways to do things. Sure, it would be nice to rewire our brains so that we could do what we see others do. But, in the end, we should just stick to being ourselves as we all can’t be as lucky as honey bees.

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Sennelier L’Aquarelle: Indian Yellow, Quinacridone Gold, Red Orange, Perylene Maroon, Dioxazine Purple, 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.
 Day 6 - #WorldWatercolorGroup Honey Bees on Honeycomb Doodlewash Extinct Endangered

 

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. 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!

Recommended1 recommendationPublished in By Charlie
40 Comments
  1. Annie 10 months ago

    Love your honeybees and honeycomb Charlie–especially the transluscence of that honeycomb! Very nicely done!

  2. Whitt's End Art 10 months ago

    For a quick sketch it is pretty awesome

  3. Jodi 10 months ago

    Oh I love it Charlie!

  4. Jacob 10 months ago

    My my, someone’s been a busy bee himself! This is a treat – you didn’t get a WHOA this time, but you got a YAY! instead, so no need for alarm! 😉 I do love bees, such hugely important creatures, and their jobs and the hierarchy therein is so fascinating to me. I’d love a hive someday and one of those funky beekeeping suits – one for the list! I didn’t know that about their brains – that’s so interesting, and enviable. Every day’s a school day!.

    • Author

      Thanks, Jacob!! 😃💕 I had a little extra sketching time which helped a bit for this one. Geesh… that honeycomb was tough! hehe And yes! I’ve always wanted a hive someday. It would be so amazing!

  5. YesterdayAfter 10 months ago

    You managed this very well for a full page! And we all have our own style, which is what make us recognizable, and is nice to stick with it no matter the size of your painting. You can still be able to paint in a larger scale and still be yourself! 😉 <3

    • Author

      Thanks for that! 😃💕 It’s been fun to try these full page doodlewashes. Especially when I don’t have any extra time. Learning new things every day!

      • YesterdayAfter 9 months ago

        Yes is another challenge running with the time! But you are doing well! 🙂

  6. memadtwo 10 months ago

    The hexagram is a great shape, the bees know what they’re doing to create a geometric background.
    I bet after you finish this experiment with filling the whole page, your “normal” renderings will have a new dimension too. It’s always good to try something new, even if you end up back where you started. (K)

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Kerfe! 😃💕 Yeah, I’m not sure where I’ll go next after these. Filling a page is tough, since I often have extremely little time to make a post, but I’m enjoying the challenge immensely!

  7. davidgrowsbeets 10 months ago

    An artist, writer and naturalist – very well said!

  8. berolahragabasket 10 months ago

    love this post !

  9. Syna Flores 9 months ago

    lovely blogpost.

  10. Well done for fitting this one despite erasing and starting again on a full page, so pleased you did, it’s a delightful post of the wonderful honey bee.😀

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Rebecca! 😃💕 Yeah, it was fun to trash a drawing and go for something different! hehe… glad you liked how it turned out!

  11. creativeworldm 9 months ago

    Aw you have been inspired and created an beautiful post with painting,love it so much💝Thank you for sharing your creativity and thoughts💞

  12. Sand Salt Moon 9 months ago

    They’re on the endangered species list! Beautiful tribute to these productive insects that the garden and plants need so much.

  13. Teresa Robeson 9 months ago

    It’s bee-yootiful! Sorry for the pun (not sorry…hahaha)! 😉 I love your style, so please never change! <3

  14. Curious to the Max 9 months ago

    I, for one, would like a video demo of your “technique”. It’s very helpful to watch how others create – stretches my thinking.

    Great bee hive. They are fascinating creatures.

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Judy! 😃💕 Yeah, one day I’ll actually find the time to make a proper video. I have to admit it’s a little terrifying. I’m impressed by those who can do it! 😊

  15. Sharon Nolfi 9 months ago

    Love it! did you paint the honeycomb or the bees first?

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 I painted the honeycomb base first and then went into the bees while it dried. I have to go fast as I don’t have much time so I just bounce around.

  16. snigdhadotcom 9 months ago

    Amazing 😃😃

  17. Rebecca 9 months ago

    Really great to see you spreading your watercolour wings further Charlie! And as the mother of a junior beekeeper, this one’s especially appreciated… 🙂

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Rebecca! 😃💕 And yay! That’s awesome… I’ve always wanted to be a beekeeper as well.

      • Rebecca 9 months ago

        All the best people do, you know. The real key to beekeeping, we’ve found, is to find a nice old boy who will help you – that’s essential! 🙂 Hoping to get our first pots of honey this year. Fingers crossed!

  18. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 9 months ago

    The world is a lucky place that you are not an accountant. We need accountants but you have gifts that can’t be measured with numbers but felt in our hearts, sometimes in our funny bones. I like your new “bigger picture” approach, and don’t care if you’re throwing dark paint into a few spaces. Out of black holes comes new life – something like that. Love the composition of this painting, the bees in their busy little hub, the golden honey setting up in its comb. Perfect all around.

    • Author

      Awww thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕What a sweet and encouraging comment! I truly appreciate that! Yeah, at this point, jabbing bits of dark has simply become my style… hehe… so I guess I should just own it!

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