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.
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.