Rusty patched bumblebee

Rusty patched bumblebee watercolor


This species of bee was on the list of endangered animals in Minnesota. It seemed appropriate because of the way the bees go from flower to flower. It seemed like a mindful activity.

This species has, as its name suggests a rusty patch on its back. Here is an Identification guide. In Minnesota, this species is a household name.


  • it bugs me that:
  • I couldn’t figure out how to separate the bee from the background. I thought about doing kind of a drop shadow, but that seemed wrong. So does my outlining solution.
  • Another choice I regret is making the wings purple. The reference image does show the flower color visible through the wings, but the wings are kind of gray with veins running through them. I tried to paint them, but was unhappy with the result and smeared the marks, resulting in the next problem:
  • As is usual, these days, the paper is overworked.
  • I’m happy about:
  • not much, in this image. I love purple and green together.


  • The good news is I did consciously paint this project mindfully: paint stroke by paint stroke.
  • What’s the difference, I wondered, between a bumblebee and a honeybee? This cluttered page explains. It turns out bumble bees are just bumbling around, bumping into pollen filled flowers. They remind me of an exercise I have done as part of meditation retreats. It’s called “aimless wandering.” The assignment is to go outside with no agenda, wander around with your senses wide open, and return to where you departed at a certain time. (My wanderings were not quite aimless, as I needed to stay in wheelchair-accessible territory.) Mindfulness has no goal other than awareness.

Posted on

March 22, 2023

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