The honey bee is (as American as apple pie) not a native bee in the US.

Like apples, honey bees were introduced to North America in the 17th Century by the European settlers. Prior to the arrival of the European settlers, honey bee native insects and bees handled the task of pollination in the new world. In the early 1600´s, the honey bee was brought to North America for honey production and beekeeping became a commercial and profitable occupation.

My next post will be honey bees vs native bees. #savethenativebees

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Tomato cage sculpture material

I ran to Southland hardware to purchase more wire cloth for my installation and spied some tomato cages. Wondering if they could add to my palette of materials I took home a few to play with.

Tomato cages

Tomato cages

Squish, squash, twist, turn, fold, pull, cut repeat

Squish, squash, twist, turn, fold, pull, cut repeat

Throw on a rip of charged screen for garnish

Throw on a rip of charged screen for garnish

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Play some more.

Play some more.

I ran out of time today but I feel like it might have some potential.

Five eyes

Bees have five eyes. They have three small ocelli eyes on the top of their head, they are simple lenses that discern light intensity. They also have two very large compound eyes that contains about 6,900 facets on the sides of their head. I thought the below monoprint of Bombus Affinis (Rusty Patch) bumblebee did a good job of showing the facets.

Bombus Affinis II compound eye detail.

Bombus Affinis II compound eye detail.

Embracing Bombus Affinis

I have decided to make a large monotype of the first bee in the US to be listed on the endangered species list. I was looking online for a photo that would accurately depict the Bombus Affinis. Searching, I came across the USGS site. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is a science bureau within the US Department of the Interior. The USGS provides science about the natural hazards that threaten lives and livelihoods; the water, energy, minerals, and other natural resources we rely on; the health of our ecosystems and environment; and the impacts of climate and land-use change. It is a great resource. They have developed a Native Bee Inventory and Monitoring Program. Part of the program is to develop identification tools for native bee species. Taking and collecting accurate and detailed photos of the native bees. The over 4,000 images are freely available for the public to use. Looking at these up close detailed photos I was amazed to see how beautiful these tiny beings are. Their beauty rivals that of any creature on the planet. I looked at bees for an hour, in awe at their stunning uniqueness. The opportunity to work from such close up photos is exciting. It will also be challenging, I normally work from bad photos. I like poor quality photos because I don’t want to get bogged down by the details. My work is about the physical or emotional energy. These photos are works of art already. I have in my head what I want my abstraction to look like. I am just not exactly sure I know how I am going to achieve it. Step one is to experiment with my process and technique and develop a mark making that captures the elegance, majesty and energy of these tiny busy beasts.

Below are the first four days of experimenting. It has been a struggle to loosen up and not get bogged down by the details. The last one I like the most, I was just making marks and not worrying about if it resembled Bombus Affinis. That works best for me.

Bombus Affinis I  30” X 44” watercolor monotype

Bombus Affinis I

30” X 44” watercolor monotype

Day 1-

When working in color, the ink looks much darker and muted on the plate than when printed on paper. My first impression of Bombus Affinis I was that the paint was too heavy, too bright just  too much all the way around. The ghost was too light. I want my Bombus to express the lightness, fragility and majesty  of the bee. 

Wing detail from Bombus Affinis I

Wing detail from Bombus Affinis I

Bombus Affinis I ghost  30” X 44” watercolor monotype

Bombus Affinis I ghost

30” X 44” watercolor monotype

Day 2-

I like the big black brush strokes, the antennae, but I do not like that both wings have the same weight. I want the back wing to be in more motion and fainter. When I look back at the work from day one, I am feeling better about parts of it. I like the wings and the last sections of his abdomen. Below are some close up shots of the parts I like of both days’ experiments.

Bombus Affinis II 30” X 44” watercolor monotype

Bombus Affinis II 30” X 44” watercolor monotype

Day 2 antenna

Day 2 antenna

Day 3 - layering the different processes. I am closer to what I want but I am not there yet.

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Bombus Affinis III

Bombus Affinis III

A favorite moment in Bomus Affinis III  a tail, leg and two wings

A favorite moment in Bomus Affinis III

a tail, leg and two wings

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Bombus Affinis III ghost

Bombus Affinis III ghost

Bombus Affinis IV

Bombus Affinis IV

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Bombus Affinis V

Bombus Affinis V

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Day 4

Below are some moments I especially like. Today anyway.

Finally I am loosening up. I want an image of the bee’s energy - I want the life, movement and energy of a fuzzy pollinator even if he is endangered. I do not want a drawing of a bee.

Top of Head and thorax

Top of Head and thorax

Mauvish/brown/black bee eye and thorax

Mauvish/brown/black bee eye and thorax

The fuzzy tail and two delicate wings

The fuzzy tail and two delicate wings

My work space

My work space

Leftover ink in the trey- Inspiration for a bee wing.

Leftover ink in the trey- Inspiration for a bee wing.

Hurricane Harvey - sculpture day 8 “bringing home the bacon”

I started the upper torso.  

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I always make the shoulders too broad and then have to adjust them. I will do that tomorrow.  

Hurricane Harvey - sculpture day 6 “bringing home the bacon”

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Hurricane Harvey - sculpture day 5 “bringing home the bacon”

Today I spent a lot of time cutting off and rewelding. The upper leg/booty was too big. After four hours  it now has a trimmer. 

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I am trying to decide if I need to reinforce the lower half of the body or move on. Once I reinforce the joints it is a lot more difficult to make changes. If I move on without reinforcing the welding joints, the piece could fall apart. That is my dilemma. 

Hurricane Harvey - sculpture day 3 bringing home the bacon

This sculpture is about the movement and the energy of rescuing livestock (a pig) during Hurricane Harvey. Today I have to decide on where the figure's weight needs to be to best balance the sculpture and express the energy of hoisting the swine to safety. The photos I took of Griffin while he was walking helped me committe to the foot placement. For the weight, I need new reference photos taken from each side. I am fortunate that my husband is always agreeable to posing for me. We wrapped a stool in a towel to stand in for the pig. Below are the new photos.

View from the front  

View from the front  

View of the left side  

View of the left side  

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back view 

 

“score” #29 a meditation

Photo of wires coming off the bow depicting the energy created by sound. 

Photo of wires coming off the bow depicting the energy created by sound. 

 I have no idea whether what I am making is “good art” or “bad art,” but I do know that my brain loves painstakingly placing each and every tiny piece of delicate wire exactly where and how my imagination envisions it, and the sounds that come from the strings of the violin, as the horse hair bow, drawn in a focused and precise manner, moves across them. The energy that this sculpture is depicting is both physical and emotional. The work on this part, for me, is a meditation. I don’t really think about it; I just listen and imagine as I twist and attach the wires.

“score” - #25 marching on

I was able to get another full day of work in. I was primarily focused on integrating the large piece of welded wire that makes up the movement created by his right arm with the steel and plaster figure’s arm and head. I am integrating the two by adding small broken pieces of wire cloth within the welded wire. 

Shoulder and neck attaching to the head  

Shoulder and neck attaching to the head  

Shoulder view from the front  

Shoulder view from the front  

 

I also added some tiny delicate wires to the movement of the bows. The delicate sounds coming off the strings.  

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the top back of the head 

 

 

One of my artist friends Vincent Blair stopped in and took a quick pic as I worked.  

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My wire stash is on the pedestal. 

"drifting"

drifting"   36" X 45" X 55"    found object wire cloth

drifting"

36" X 45" X 55"  

found object wire cloth

This piece is made from upcycled wire cloth I found at Txrx labs. They pour aluminum and use these wire strips to reinforce their molds. They break out the castings and leave the wire mesh in the yard. I always pick it up when we pour bronze because it is sharp. I started playing with it while we waited for the bronze to heat. I fell in love with it's malability, rusted patina and chunks of plaster embedded between the wires.  

I sculpted this when I was thinking about urban ecology and  how successful birds and especially pigeons have evolved in urban environments. In contrast many of the people we see in these environments with pigeons appear to be struggling to stay present.  

This figure leans in on his left side where he is clearly involved in the environment around him. His right side is patently struggling to stay present and his head/brain and right side upper body are not visible to the viewer. Evidence of their absence is depicted through the torn collar and shredded back right of shirt. 

I can't to come up with the perfect base for him. Right now he is temporarily sitting in a box wrapped in paper.  

 

If you are in NYC check out my piece @ Site:Brooklyn art gallery

 
The Figure: Interpreted Through Contemporary Mediums

    Juried by Barbara A. MacAdam

    Site:Brooklyn
    165 7th St
    Brooklyn, NY

     

    for details see the link below.  

     http://eepurl.com/cvMw0f

     

    Site:Brooklyn

    Artist Reception – Wednesday January 18th 6-9PMJan 19 – Feb 19, 2017

    Gail Nadeau - "The Red Kimono"Artists:

    Steven Palumbo, Kang Sean, Courtney Bae, Elise Thompson, John Gallagher, Petrea Noyes, Carol Coates, Phillip Connell, Tom Acevedo, Barbara Smith, Ronald Gonzalez, Cindee Klement, Andrew Hockenberry, Deborah Druick, Robin Dintiman, Kathy Collins, Claire Gilliam, Candice Flewharty,
    Farnosh Olamai Birch, John Power, Philippe Hyojung Kim, Ola Aldous,
    Greta Young, Gail Nadeau, Mary Lou Greene, Tomas Modzelewski,
    Claire Apana, John Patrick Snyder, Alain Rogier, Diana Burchfield,
    Alexa Hoyer, Sophie Brenneman, John Kayrouz, Brooke Alexander,
    Joshua Dean, Owen Brown, Sharon Bartel Clements, Rajab Sayed,
    John Edwards, Gill Alexander, Lee Ann Carr, Colleen Kelly,
    Michelle Muri-Sloane

     

    peace pigeon project # 15

    Peace pigeon project - Friend

    Peace pigeon project - Friend

    One thing I like about art is the people. The Houston art community is very supportive.  We all help each other and cheer each other on. A few weeks ago leaving TXRX I saw a big wooden wire spool by the road. I thought it might be a great pedestal for one of Barbara's found object pieces. I saved it for her. She ended up cutting up the spool for another piece. Peace pigeon #15 is a scrap from that spool. Barbara saved it for me. It is a beauty just like Barbara. I was very touched that she would go to the trouble to capture this pigeon for me. 

    Thank you Barbara.  

    peace pigeon project #5 - - found object

    Peace pigeon # 5 - found object

    Peace pigeon # 5 - found object

    I think they make a great pigeon. I will not weld these two pieces together because part of the beauty is the balance of the body on the legs and the light that breaks through between the two objects. Welding would ruin that. 

    It even has the leg muff that the German beak trumpeter pigeon has.  

    It even has the leg muff that the German beak trumpeter pigeon has.  

    This guy is resting not in motion as are the other pieces in the series.