For today’s prompt of “motion” I was stumped a bit as to what to paint, and finally ended up with this little hummingbird. I was trying to rush around doing a thousand things at once today, as ever, and also felt a bit like one so it seemed fitting. I tried this one very quickly hoping for a looser style, but quickly learned that this is as loose as I get. These little things are in constant motion and I read once that some have a heart beating at 1,260 beats per minute. This made me wonder how fast their wings flap and it ranges quite a bit, but North American hummingbirds average around 53 beats per second in normal flight. This would explain why, when watching one fly past, it often simply looks like a tiny wingless bird body that is magically levitating. We have a few that happen by as the weather gets warmer and seeing one fills me with inordinate delight. Like, the totally giddy and excited, ready to squeal kind. Well, I don’t usually squeal, but it’s really all I can do to avoid it. They’re just so cool!
I wanted to put a hummingbird feeder out this year to attract them, but even though we have nice days ahead, we also get crazy winds that would likely topple it to the ground at some point. One year, when we were in the in the mood and super ambitious, we had flowers in pots and planters all around our terrace. Yes, I know people do this naturally, but it was a big event for us. It was actually enough to enjoy a visit from a couple hyper little hummingbirds and it was so much fun to see them. Later, we realized that our neighbor had the foresight to put out a proper hummingbird feeder and they were really just slumming it at our place before moving on to real attraction. Either way, it was lovely. Our dog Phineas is generally disinterested in birds, but these seem to capture his interest. He twitches his ears and moves his head around as though trying to mimic the flight pattern. I think he sort of just regards thinks of them as monster moths but it’s still fun to watch.
For those of us with normal heart rates, getting through the pace of a day can often seem overwhelming. So many things feel like they’ve been left undone and simply pile on the list of things to do the next day. I’m not nearly as organized as I’d like to be, and am quite prone to forgetting things or simply forgetting that so many days have passed between things. So, when I make a little painting each day, I feel like I’ve at least checked something cool off my list. Sure, the other things would normally rank higher in the list for a structured person, but for me, my little painting is enough to complete the day. I showed up and made something new. That, in the end, is a rather nice accomplishment. I’ll somehow figure out how to get all the other things done, but this one thing, the thing that makes my own heart beat miles a minute, is once again done. If like me, you love making art and making new things, don’t let anything ever stop you. Trust me when I say, it deserves to be the first thing on the list if it’s what your heart craves. The rest will always work itself out. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when your heart feels like it’s beating over 1,200 times a minute, like a hummingbird.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Opus (Vivid Pink), Viridian Green, Terra Cotta, and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book.
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!