Last week a bee landed on my computer while I was writing. I watched it walk along the top edge of the screen. It was a little bee, and although I’ve seen bees like it many times before, I don’t know what kind it is.
It stayed for a while, long enough for me to get a good picture of it. And since then I’ve been thinking about it. I was mostly intrigued by the design on its back. The way the brown and yellow looked together.
I wanted to draw it.
So this morning I did a few drawings in my sketch pad. Then I found the right piece of fabric, an old linen table runner, and got out my sewing machine. I made an outline of the bee in pencil to get the size right, then I started drawing it with my sewing machine.
I used a thin transparent piece of fabric for the wings so the texture was smoother than the linen. I used seven different colors of thread mixing them together almost as if I were painting.
And when I got done, I looked at it and all I saw was a big stitched bee.
I hadn’t captured the thing that kept me thinking about the bee and made me want to draw it. Honestly, I’m not even sure what that was that kept me thinking about the bee, but I was hoping it would reveal itself when I created it.
All that stitching I did made it lose the puffiness which is part of what I liked about the drawing when it was just an outline.
Not only that, one eye was twice as big as the other. (not sure how I missed that). It just looked wrong. So I left it and fed the animals thinking when I came back I might see it differently.
I didn’t. But I wasn’t ready to give up on it.
So I cut the bee out of the linen, trimming the big eye when I did.
Now I had a big stitched bee with two eyes relatively the same size. But it was still the same bee that I was disappointed in before I cut it out of the linen.
It took me a while to accept that it just didn’t work.
I did a few more drawings of the bee after that, emphasizing the body and the design on it. But I don’t think it will go any further than that.
Sometimes things just don’t work out. I feel like I’m done with the bee for now. Maybe it was just something I had to do to move on to the next piece.