Butterflies and family

One of the joys of parenthood is enjoying nature through your kids at any age. Last night, Griffin sent us this image of a monarch caterpillar that he found in Minnesota this weekend. A few years back on Thanksgiving, we went to see the monarchs. It is a site to behold and a lovely outing. They really liked Sage. Respectfully enjoying the beauty of nature has long been a great joy for our family.

Sage provides fb a resting Place for a monarch

Sage provides fb a resting Place for a monarch

Griffin sharing a caterpillar with us from Minneapolis.

Griffin sharing a caterpillar with us from Minneapolis.

Bee school birthday gift.

For my 62nd birthday, my son Griffin and daughter-in-law Alex gave me bee school for two at Beeweavers outside of College Station. Below are some photos from the day.

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When we got out of the car, immediately we noticed a lovely white noise–the hum of busy bees filled the warm, summer air. I love that sound.

This is Roosevelt (or as Roosevelt would say, it is what is left of Roosevelt). He has been at BeeWeavers since he was 22 years old. Roosevelt is our teacher, guide and bee guru for the day.

This is Roosevelt (or as Roosevelt would say, it is what is left of Roosevelt). He has been at BeeWeavers since he was 22 years old. Roosevelt is our teacher, guide and bee guru for the day.

You need to wear long sleeves, loose jeans, and closed-toe shoes. They provide the bee nets/hats and jackets. We are posing in front of some bee boxes and trying to let you see the smoke can behind us. Roosevelt really wanted the smoke to show in the picture. You can’t see the smoke.

You need to wear long sleeves, loose jeans, and closed-toe shoes. They provide the bee nets/hats and jackets. We are posing in front of some bee boxes and trying to let you see the smoke can behind us. Roosevelt really wanted the smoke to show in the picture. You can’t see the smoke.

When you arrive one of the first things you see is this sweet bee bath. I have never noticed bees bathing and drinking water before.

When you arrive one of the first things you see is this sweet bee bath. I have never noticed bees bathing and drinking water before.

A close up of the bees in the bee bath floating on corks.

A close up of the bees in the bee bath floating on corks.

Selfie time

Selfie time

These are the boxes they use to show the public. I think they have thousands out and about nearby fields.

These are the boxes they use to show the public. I think they have thousands out and about nearby fields.

Roosevelt is smoking the honey bee boxes before we take a look Inside.. The smoke calms them down.

Roosevelt is smoking the honey bee boxes before we take a look Inside.. The smoke calms them down.

The bees were not aggressive.

The bees were not aggressive.

Bees on the outside of the box.

Bees on the outside of the box.

The bees carry on with their work as we inspect the first frame.

The bees carry on with their work as we inspect the first frame.

The bees secrete a brown wax from their abdomens to close the cells. The yellow in some sells is pollen and the tiny white spec is a larvae. It is all very fascinating. Some cells are empty.

The bees secrete a brown wax from their abdomens to close the cells. The yellow in some sells is pollen and the tiny white spec is a larvae. It is all very fascinating. Some cells are empty.

The yellow bag on this bees leg is pollen he has brought back to the hive.the pollen sticks to the long hairs on their legs.

The yellow bag on this bees leg is pollen he has brought back to the hive.the pollen sticks to the long hairs on their legs.

Here is a guy with 2 packs of pollen.

Here is a guy with 2 packs of pollen.

This frame is used to raise queens. They sell 500 queens a day.

This frame is used to raise queens. They sell 500 queens a day.

A close up of the wax cells the queens are incubated in.

A close up of the wax cells the queens are incubated in.

When the queen is ready to mate she is put in a boxe like these. She flies out to mate and returns to the box she came from. Beeweavers queens are not artificially inseminated. I was really glad to hear that.

When the queen is ready to mate she is put in a boxe like these. She flies out to mate and returns to the box she came from. Beeweavers queens are not artificially inseminated. I was really glad to hear that.

If you are starting your own honeybee farm you can purchase bees instead or robbing a hive. They will arrive in a box like this. I personally prefer to support local bees.

If you are starting your own honeybee farm you can purchase bees instead or robbing a hive. They will arrive in a box like this. I personally prefer to support local bees.

They put in the bee boxes a piece of cotton like this. The bees do not like it and they try to get it out. Their efforts fluff up the cotton and beetles get trapped in it. It is a great way to get rid of pest without pesticides.

They put in the bee boxes a piece of cotton like this. The bees do not like it and they try to get it out. Their efforts fluff up the cotton and beetles get trapped in it. It is a great way to get rid of pest without pesticides.

Here is a piece of the cotton and a few trapped beetles.

Here is a piece of the cotton and a few trapped beetles.

Here is Roosevelt when he first joined Beeweavers. He Was a great guide and teacher.

Here is Roosevelt when he first joined Beeweavers. He Was a great guide and teacher.

This calf was found alone on their farm, they took him in, bottle fed him and named him buzz. I am not sure if he thinks he is a bee or people. He loves to be scratched, who doesn’t?

This calf was found alone on their farm, they took him in, bottle fed him and named him buzz. I am not sure if he thinks he is a bee or people. He loves to be scratched, who doesn’t?

It was a great day despite the temperature. We learned a lot about honey bees. It was good to see a commercial bee establishment that cares about chemicals, pesticides and natural selection. A birthday gift I will remember for a long time.

Technique experiment for endangered bees.

Bee technique experiment

Bombus Affinis - listed on the Endangered list 2017

Bombus Affinis - listed on the Endangered list 2017

Detail of head with a big white eye, thorax antenna and leg

Detail of head with a big white eye, thorax antenna and leg

Th ghost of Bombus Affinis

Th ghost of Bombus Affinis

One is to heavy and ones too light. That is how they look to me wet. It is too soon to judge.

Hurricane Harvey - Heroes LIVEstock

In my original body of work “Harvey Heroes” the installation. I paid specific attention to selecting images for inspiration from all ethnic backgrounds. During the Hurricane Harvey flood rescue, racial, political gender and religious tensions were washed away. They were not part of the conversation, we were one people. That was the silver lining of Hurricane Harvey, that was what raised our Texas spirit above the flood line. Seeing people of all backgrounds helping each other made me proud to be from Houston. In the installation piece the process I use to get the abstract fluidity marks, dilutes the diversity of skin tones. I feel this process addresses skin tones as Harvey did. The work is very abstract and does not show the details that might define a particular ethnic background, again the spirit of Harvey.

 The exhibition opening was pushed back 30 days, with the extra time I decided to add a few LIVEstock pieces. There were not a lot of images from Harvey of livestock rescues on social media so I created a few of my own.

I regretted I had not made  a buffalo calf rescue piece. Saving the buffalo is my thing. Not long after making the decision to make a buffalo rescue piece I saw an image posted on Instagram of a black cowboy wearing a white hat. Immediately I thought how cool it would be to have a black cowboy rescue a buffalo calf. A white hat would separate a darker skin tone from my murky floodwater background, plus my new 44” X 30” paper and plate would help show more skin tone characteristics than the 22” X 30” pieces that compose the installation.. When I told Curtis what I was planning he, immediately, reminded me of the Buffalo Soldiers. He suggested I visit the Buffalo Museum to make sure it would be acceptable during today’s sensitive times to reference Buffalo Soldiers. The people at the museum were very busy so I did not bother them. I did consulted with one of my friends, artist Romeo Robinson; he liked the idea.

This piece has multiple layers of meaning. It brings attention to the importance of tending to animals in rural environments when floods occur. It brings attention to saving the buffalo from extinction and it addresses regenerative agriculture. Most importantly, it is an opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the brave men who served our country in the military; the Buffalo Soldiers. They were given the name Buffalo Soldiers by the Native Americans, because the Buffalo Soldiers were as tough, fierce and brown as the American buffalo. They were admirable Americans. They deserve accommodations. While at the buffalo Soldier Museum I learned that the US government has never given the Buffalo Soldiers any accommodations for their service. They fought in the Civil War and WWI, This piece celebrates heroes on a multiple of levels. 

The piece below, the African-American cowboy is rescuing a buffalo calf. The white cowboy hat and white shirt separate the black skin on his face from the chaotic weather in the background.

I made one monotype and two ghost monotypes. See below.

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I hope you like them.  

Hurricane Harvey and 10s of thousands still trying to recover. How you can Help?

 

 This past Wednesday, executives from HP were having a conference in Houston. They finished off their event with a visit to our exhibit, 51.88” Art of Resilience. Geraldina, and I were available to talk about the work.

I know corporations love to find projects to partner up with, so I reached out to Jeff Schultz with HoustonResponds to get an update on what type of help is still needed. I was able to pass the information on to HP. HoustonResponds is the organization that I donated the use of my Harvey drawings to for a publication used to get volunteers to help with the recovery.

I have pasted below the information that Jeff shared with me.

If you know any corporations looking for a good project, please have them contact HoustonResponds.

Here’s a link that may be as effective as anything to answer your question:https://www.houstonresponds.org/farfromfinished. We launched the “Far from Finished” campaign to raise awareness about the unmet need. The 90 second videos have been especially effective in communicating that as they put a face to the numbers.

There are still tens of thousands of Houstonians who are displaced or living in damage or gutted homes, many of whom do not have the resources to recover.

I would say that what most of these people need is a community around them that cares and is willing to walk through the recovery process with them, as well provide resources to rebuild their homes.

That’s part of what we do, and our strategy is to accomplish it through building coalitions of local churches that partner with any and all local organizations (faith-based and non-faith-based) involved in Harvey recovery.

How people can help, including corporations:

  1. Funds/resources: We depend largely on grants to fund repair, but those funds are beginning to run out. We are beginning to cultivate relationships with corporations to continue to fund the work, and HP might be an example of that.
  2. Volunteer: Our economic proposition is that substituting volunteer for professional labor and eliminating the profit margin can get homes repaired more quickly and economically, and sometimes with higher quality. We would love for corporations like HP to consider send volunteers to help with rebuild projects.
HP visiting our exhibit 

HP visiting our exhibit 

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HP  

Hurricane Harvey Heroes- LIVEstock- “bringing home the bacon” The inspiration?

He is one big pig, the beloved family pet that had to be hoisted upstairs to save him from drowning in the flood waters of Harvey. The idea of saving a pig was inspired by a YouTube video posted by a young family in Conroe, Texas. I hope you see in the figure not only the strength it takes to lift up a frightened squirming pig but also the determination that the figure has not to let the family’s favorite pet parish. The pig twist and turns  while straining his back legs straight out trying to reach the ground. 

photo by Nash Baker 

Bringing home the bacon

Bringing home the bacon

66” X 42” 60”

Steel, stainless steel lath, plaster, hydro stone, wire mesh, screen and cloth, and baling wire. 

the next pig post -  why a pig?

Hurricane Harvey Heroes- LIVEstock- “bringing home the bacon” why a pig?

Why a pig?  We humans have a lot in common with pigs. We're both omnivorous mammals that gain weight easily and are susceptible to the flu. We share 98% of the same DNA.

Photo graph by Nash Baker    66” X 42” 60”

Photo graph by Nash Baker 

66” X 42” 60”

Pigs are somewhat domestic (if you don’t believe me, check out @esterthewonderpig on Instagram).  In addition they are on rural, commercial, and regenerative hog farms. They are incredibly smart and very clean animals.

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2019 is the year of the pig. Pigs symbolize prosperity, wealth and abundance. Having a fattened up pig brings good luck. The Pig is thought to bring luck to farmers as it brings in a good crop.

The pig is very powerful and brings all good things.  They are a very laid back animal they do not readily attack or anger.

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They have been known to overindulge and can weigh  an average of around 700 lbs. They are also often adored characters in nursery rhymes, children’s stories and tv shows as well as a variety of sitcoms. Miss Piggy, Porky Pig, Piglet, Timon and Pumbaa, Petunia Pig, The three little pigs, This little piggy went to the Market, Old Major, and Babe. I could go on and on. 

A pig checks a lot of boxes that I feel a lot of people can relate to.

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From a personal stand point, my brothers had a couple of pigs on our farm in Dell City. I was very young and can barely remember them. I do remember something about my oldest brother’s, Bob Travis Jr.’s, pig drowning. I am not sure how. It was not a flood because Dell City is in the middle of the desert. When we were teenagers and living in the city, my brother, Dean Travis, was riding his motorcycle in the desert checking his beehives and found a piglet lost in the desert. The piglet had gotten his head stuck in a paint can. I can still remember Dean pulling into the driveway on his motorcycle with the poor squealing piglet tucked under his arm with its head still stuck in the can. He lived in our backyard that summer.

 

In the early 2000s, we lived in New Orleans, Louisiana. There is a nice size Vietnamese population in New Orleans and a fair amount of Vietnamese pot bellied pigs. A family that went to my children’s school had a miniature Vietnamese pot bellied pig. The mom used to walk him to school on a leash when she picked her kids up at 2:45. My daughter, Sage, did everything in her power to convince  me to buy her one. We already had two dogs, 2 birds, several frogs, turtles, fish and snakes. She finally quit asking when we learned they could not bend their knees to climb steps. Our home was on a small uptown lot with lots and lots of stairs. The pig would have to stay outside and we would want it to be part of our family. 

If anyone has a great pig family pet, urban or rural, please share stories and pictures. I would love to hear and see them.

Most importantly I hope this piece can bring a little good luck and good fortune to the people who are still suffering the wrath of Harvey. 

 


Hurricane Harvey - sculpture day 37 “bringing home the bacon”

Photographer Nash Baker getting the lighting just right before we take the piece of the pedestal. 

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