Bee Happy

Bee Happy

I absolutely love to paint bumble bees, I don't know why but I think it is because they really lend themselves to watercolour , you can get a sense of their fluffy bumble bee ness with watercolour. I began painting little bees last year but my fascination grew along with my bees and now it is a real treat to spend a day painting a bumble bee in all it's buzzy glory.

1. I draw out my bee 


2. As usual I concentrate on the eye, there is a lot of detail in the eye, I want the lights and darks. I use yellow ochre as a base colour and then burnt sienna and some cerulean blue. Then I need to mix some dark darks using sepia and indigo and paint the eye socket too.( forgive me I do not know the correct anatomical names on a bee) . I also paint the pollen thingy I want the detail there too so I use very small brushes and a steady hand.



3.Now I can begin of the fuzzy bits. I carefully wet the area I want to be fuzzy then drop the colour in, I can 'pull' out the hairs with the side of my thumb. It takes a lot of practice and most importantly I want the edges of the yellow to bleed into the dark edges . I love the parts where they run into one another I drop in darker colours into the windsor yellow  and I have the detail of the leg to pain too. It does feel a bit like spinning plates, but keep looking at what you are doing and making decisions about what colour and shapes you want where.



4. Now the wet in wet comes into it's own, don't be afraid to use water and get the paint to spread and do it's thing, this right here is why I love watercolour.



5. There is more detail to paint in the remaining legs and I am getting looser now with some platters and splashes. This bee really needs to feel like it is buzzing around. 



Finally I divert from being a pure watercolourist I paint the wings and I splatter some white acrylic and gold ink around to represent the pollen. I am not going to give away all my secrets ..... but the last bits are a lot of fun to do. I now have to leave my bee to dry, always best to leave overnight so you resist the urge to fiddle and my bee is done x

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Can I buy this image?

Can’t wait to try a bee! Thanks for the help! Loving yours for sure!


Wonderful picture and thanks for the tips. Will try some of them on dragonflies

Sara byers

Inspiring blog – thank you so much for sharing your wonderful techniques and insights – beautiful !


I admire your watercolour art Rachel..and thank you so much for these instructions. I will certainly give it a go.


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