Lightning Bugs In A Jar

Day 10 - #WorldWatercolorGroup - Lightning Bugs In A Jar Watercolor - #doodlewash

When I was a kid, we used to catch lightnings bugs and put them in a jar. I never wanted to keep them there long as it seemed a bit cruel, but the magical glow was mesmerizing. So, we have this quick and loose little doodlewash today to illustrate that moment. Also called fireflies, of course, spotting those little yellow lights across a field in the twilight hours was, and still is, such a thrill. Not all varieties of these little creatures, which are actually flying beetles, have the unique ability to glow. Thankfully, I live in a place where the glowing ones still come to visit, though their numbers are sadly declining. I remember visiting family in the South and seeing so many it was like glitter, or the final trails of fireworks in the sky. It wasn’t until I was much older that I learned those lights are actually signals for mating so there was far more happening in the sky than I was aware. I’m rather glad I didn’t know that. Sometimes, it’s better to just enjoy the blissful ignorance of childhood.

There are so many amazing things in nature, but lightning bugs are definitely at the top of my list. As a kid, I assume they must be battery-powered, a notion that was quickly debunked, of course. That only make it cooler as then it could only be some form of magic. I really miss those days when so many things seemed so wondrous. These days, you’re just a google away from learning the “truth” about things. Back then, you could happily go weeks thinking something was true before anyone could make you believe otherwise. I think there’s something rather nice about that. I liked inventing stories and reasons for the way things worked. I was usually disappointing in the reality as my imagined solutions were always much more exciting than the facts. From time to time, I still like to pause before googling something and just make up what I’d like the answer to be instead. It makes me feel like a kid again.

Tonight, I’m ready to sign off and enjoy the evening as the fireflies are just starting to appear here. It’s been a lovely day and I hope all of you are enjoying the weekend. This morning, I awoke to a post on Facebook alerting me that Watercolor Artist Magazine had a page talking about World Watercolor Month and Doodlewash! I hadn’t even had a chance to open my copy yet, so it was fun to see it there. I can’t believe it’s been less than two years since I started this wild journey and so much has happened in that time. And, because I never rest and have so many ideas, there’s still much, much more to come! I feel so lucky to be a part of this artistic community that we’ve built together. Watercolor is indeed a magical medium, full of the unexpected, impossible to control, yet gleaming with such luminous beauty. Actually, now that I think about it, just a bit like my childhood collection of lightning bugs in a jar.

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About the Doodlewash

M. Graham Watercolors: Gamboge, Pyrrol Red, Azo Orange, Cobalt Teal,  and Neutral Tint. Alvin Draft-Matic Mechanical Pencil in an A6 Hahnemühle Watercolor Book.
 Day 10 - #WorldWatercolorGroup - Lightning Bugs In A Jar Watercolor - #doodlewash
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!
Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
16 Comments
  1. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 4 months ago

    You tickled my memory today, Charlie. Catching lightning bugs in a jar is one of the things I truly miss about New Jersey. They were wondrous, weren’t they? A bit like catching starfish at the ocean and bringing them home in a bucket. Sadly, everything died and that was a childhood lesson that hurt. I just wanted to extend the magic of those moments but not everything is meant to be saved in a jar or a bucket. Some things can only be saved in our memories. Or a really lovely painting like this one – thank you – it’s just perfect.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 Those days were so truly magical! But yes, we all learned that magic can’t be captured like that. It’s just something to be enjoyed in the moment. A nice lesson, and still such an incredible memory! (I just spotted one now as I’m sitting outside! Yay!)

  2. Lisa 4 months ago

    I was happy to see Doodlewash in Watercolor magazine. I wish they had mentioned your name as the driving force behind World Watercolor Month. Still, congrats! And thank you for all you do.

    I saw my first firefly of the season last night. They always make me hapoy!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕 Aww, you’re too sweet! Actually, I had no idea they were going to mention it! It was a pleasant surprise. I’m okay with them not mentioning me, but I only wished they’d mentioned that it’s also to raise awareness for The Dreaming Zebra Foundation. Making a month of art is amazing, but truly making a difference in a young person’s life is even more incredible!

  3. Jill Kuhn 4 months ago

    Beautiful Doodlewash Charlie!! 💙 Love the colors you used and how your jar glows! Congrats for the mention in Watercolor magazine!! WHOOT!! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Aww thanks, Jill!! 😃💕 It’s so wonderful to see folks noticing the fun things we’re doing here! And I’m so glad you liked my doodlewash! I really didn’t know how to approach this one… hehe…. but glass… I can do! lol

  4. Phil Cooper 4 months ago

    I’m so envious of you living in a place where you get to see these creatures Charlie. When i’ve been on holiday in France or Spain I’ve come across them occasionally and they are enchanting. Beautiful painting of them in the jar – how magical!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks so much, Phil! 😃💕 Aren’t they amazing? It’s truly incredible to see them. I’ve been seeing them for years and I find myself impressed every time! That’s definitely magic!!

  5. Tom 4 months ago

    Jealous. I’ve never seen a lightning bug / firefly, Charlie, but to me they are magical. I shall keep my eyes peeled just in case one strays over in this direction!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      What?!! That’s not right, Tom! You simply must see one! They’re amazing! 😃💕 Well, when you come to visit, we can sit outside and have a drink and enjoy them properly! hehe

  6. Jacob 4 months ago

    Another dollop of envy for this post. I’ve never seen them and so can only imagine how special the sight must be.

    How marvellous to hear of the magazine mention! Next step, world watercolour domination! <3

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks so much, Jacob! 😃💕 Yeah, the magazine mention was lovely! Doodlewash appearing in print for the first time! hehe But wait… we need to fix this firefly issue. You bring the Citrus Polos and come across the pond at once to experience them!!

      • Jacob 4 months ago

        Oh, if only! Mind you, with their ingredients I’m pretty sure Citrus Polos would produce a similar glow in the right environment 😉

  7. Linda Murray 4 months ago

    Charlie, thanks for the memories and the post! I too used to catch lightening bugs and put them in a jar. Those and grasshoppers! Oh what fun! We truly knew it was summer. We don’t see very many of the lightening bugs anymore. So sad. Another indication of how life is changing . Your painting Is a winner! 👍

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks so much, Linda!! 😃💕 I’m so thrilled you liked this one! It’s a bit more improvisational that I normally do. Oh wow, yeah, grasshoppers sort of creeped me out. The way they’d sail back your face when you walked through a field. hehe… I never captured them. Just ran flailing my arms. 😊 But lightning bugs always seemed a bit more demure. lol

  8. […] for the first time and was suitably amazed at the experience. I guess it’s not dissimilar to talking about lightning bugs to people who have never had the pleasure of seeing them each night in the summer. Each of us live […]

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