Bombus Affinis - looking back and comparing

I ran into the print making room to drop off some new paper. I took the opportunity to see how the last 6 compared to each other and how multiple bees might look together. I will do one more experiment and the plan the grouping.

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I am really liking these 6 today. I don’t think they are your typical rendering of a bee. Any thoughts? I am glad I took the time to look at these as a group. They are inspiring me to make several different bees from different views in this same technique and showing them together. I am getting some interesting ideas of how to do it.

i will do one more experiment first.  

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.

Sewing 🐝 #4 experiment for possible community project.

Sewing 🐝 #4

This piece is a conversation starter. The bee on this cap is the Bombus Affinis or commonly known as the Rusty Patch bumble bee. This bee was listed on the endangered species list in 2017. It is the first U.S. bee to be listed.

Finished piece.

Finished piece.

No planing just winging it. It explains why that antenna is so BIG

No planing just winging it. It explains why that antenna is so BIG

This fuzzy little body needs some wings.

This fuzzy little body needs some wings.

Detail of wing and legs

Detail of wing and legs

I need to delete the giant antennae.

I need to delete the giant antennae.

Copy added

Copy added

Every bee needs some pollen in the air.

Every bee needs some pollen in the air.

After I finished and stood back I was not pleased. It was too busy, too much. Today I took out Impact. It feels better, I will live with it and maybe take out Endangered and the pollen and plant pieces.

After I finished and stood back I was not pleased. It was too busy, too much. Today I took out Impact. It feels better, I will live with it and maybe take out Endangered and the pollen and plant pieces.

Is destitching a word?

Is destitching a word?

Nine things that can help #savethebees

1. Plant a pollinator garden 

2. Pull weeds or better yet go native, as many weeds and wild flowers are food for bees. 

3. Do not use herbicides to kill weeds. Bees live in the ground and neonicotinoids kill microflora in bee guts, making them less tolerant to bee disease. 

4. Find natural ways to combat mosquitos. Many urban beekeepers tell me their hives suffer when city mosquito trucks spray and when their neighbors install mosquito misting systems. 

5. Become an urban beekeeper.  

6. Buy local honey that is not mixed with corn syrup. 

7. Provide a water source. 

8. Buy local organic food. 

9. Spread the word.

Sewing 🐝 #4 experiment for possible community project.

Sewing 🐝 #4

This piece is a conversation starter. The bee on this cap is the Bombus Affinis or commonly known as the Rusty Patch bumble bee. This bee was listed on the endangered species list in 2017. It is the first U.S. bee to be listed.

Finished piece.

Finished piece.

No planing just winging it. It explains why that antenna is so BIG

No planing just winging it. It explains why that antenna is so BIG

This fuzzy little body needs some wings.

This fuzzy little body needs some wings.

Detail of wing and legs

Detail of wing and legs

I need to delete the giant antennae.

I need to delete the giant antennae.

Copy added

Copy added

Every bee needs some pollen in the air.

Every bee needs some pollen in the air.

After I finished and stood back I was not pleased. It was too busy, too much. Today I took out Impact. It feels better, I will live with it and maybe take out Endangered and the pollen and plant pieces.

After I finished and stood back I was not pleased. It was too busy, too much. Today I took out Impact. It feels better, I will live with it and maybe take out Endangered and the pollen and plant pieces.

Is destitching a word?

Is destitching a word?

Nine things that can help #savethebees

1. Plant a pollinator garden 

2. Pull weeds or better yet go native, as many weeds and wild flowers are food for bees. 

3. Do not use herbicides to kill weeds. Bees live in the ground and neonicotinoids kill microflora in bee guts, making them less tolerant to bee disease. 

4. Find natural ways to combat mosquitos. Many urban beekeepers tell me their hives suffer when city mosquito trucks spray and when their neighbors install mosquito misting systems. 

5. Become an urban beekeeper.  

6. Buy local honey that is not mixed with corn syrup. 

7. Provide a water source. 

8. Buy local organic food. 

9. Spread the word.

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.

Roots- Thank you Soul Cycle


These two dead plants were in pots outside of Soul Cycle. The roots were exposed and beautiful. This summer every week I would ask the staff if I could have them for my art. Every week I received the same response, that they would have to get approval from the locations manager to remove the dead plants. They are mine now. 😊 thank you, everyone at Soul Cycle for not getting irritated with my constant persuit of these roots. 

My interest in roots has to do with my interest in regenerative agricultural. I will explain in the next roots blog post

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“score”- Seeing sound #36

Thinking about my sculpture I googled seeing sound. I found the below link that explains how scientist now have cameras that record what sound looks like. 

https://www.npr.org/2014/04/09/300563606/what-does-sound-look-like 

 

I also found the below fasinating article regarding the Nuerology of sight, sound. 

 

https://www.livescience.com/5045-scientists-sound.html 

 I love it when scienc and art cross paths. 


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sketch I did in preparation for the sculpture. 

 

 

Score- #29 a meditation

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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” #20 lath - what to cover and what not to cover


I will not cover the entire armature in lath as some of the armature will be used to support additional materials to express the energy of the music.  I will add these materials after the lath and some after the concrete. Deciding what does and what does not get covered, is crucial in creating the right movement and energy of the piece.

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Detail of the chest covered in lath

 

“score” #19 tieing down the lath

The lath is what holds the concrete or plaster to the figure. Concrete liquefies with movement so the lath has to be tied securely, it can not have any play.

The tools    I use a hammer to manipulate the lath and to smash the sharp edges of the cut lath. The pliers are used to tie or twist the ties to secure the lath to the armature. The clippers are used to cut the lath. 

The tools  

I use a hammer to manipulate the lath and to smash the sharp edges of the cut lath. The pliers are used to tie or twist the ties to secure the lath to the armature. The clippers are used to cut the lath. 

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Materials 

Small piece of cut lath and stainless steel wire.  

The Stainless steel is cut into small pieces that is used to tie the lath to the rebar. 

The Stainless steel is cut into small pieces that is used to tie the lath to the rebar. 

Lath tied down with small piece of stainless steel.  

Lath tied down with small piece of stainless steel.  

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The tie is clipped and the sharp end is folded under. 

 

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Lath ties to the rebar

Friends of Fondren gala silent auction- donation

A few months ago I was at a dinner for mother’s of my daughter Sage’s high school graduation class.  One of the Mother’s is a lady named Barbara Gibbs she asked me to make a donation to help raise money for the Fondren Library. I don’t really know Barbara but it turns out I knew her husband David Gibbs in the 80’s when I sold commercial real estate in Houston. I had a meeting with David Gibbs that I will always remember. I was in my mid twenty’s and I had just moved to Houston from El Paso Texas. I had basically just fallen off the cantaloupe truck but I was a hard worker and was doing everything to learn the city fast, and I was doing ok considering the price of oil had fallen and most people were were really struggling. I had made one deal with David I think it was a Pea In The Pod store. I was discussing with him a new concept I had discovered in Galveston and I thought it was deserving of a really great location.  He told me that after working with me on the first deal that he knew that I knew what I was talking about and that if I thought a concept was good then he trusted me. I was so excited he was a very important developer in the Rice University area and it ment a lot to me to get his vote of confidence. I could not of been more excited. I went back to my office when I received a call from my husband telling me his firm was transferring us to El Paso. I was pretty devestated as I was just getting some respect in the Houston Real estate market. 

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“score” #17 un doing

1/14/2018 

 

The rebar bar I attached to provide stability to the piece (so it will not fall on me) is visually distracting me. I anticipate the sound will engulf him from head to toe but it needs to start from the instrument and hands and then expand out. I just st can’t start from the outsideand work back to the instrument.  I am going to cut off the pieces I attached for stability and re attach them more discretely. 

 

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before Cutting off the distracting pieces. 

 

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The reattached pieces are flat on the ground and only in the direction I think it might fall. 

 

“score” #15 artist statement

11/15/2017

As I work on a piece I start tinkering with what the artist statement should be. Many times both the piece and the artist statement take on unexpected directions and meanings. Below is my latest rendition. 

“score”  

artist statement  

From the beginning of time music has been used as a powerful way to influence human emotion. Modern scientists report that music has the ability to change brainwaves that control our emotional energy.  It is presently used not only as an artistic expression, but also in physical and emotional therapy.

“score” was inspired by a slow shutter release photograph of my cousin, Concert Master Andrew Irvin, that captures multiple images as he plays his violin.  Applying this concept of multiple images with the raw materials recycled wire, steel, and white concrete  “score”  embraces both the primal impact, music has on our emotions  and the contemporary elements of music. ”score” not only expresses the energy of playing the violin but also the raw energy expressed through music. The application is raw, emotional and visceral

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“Score” post #10 right arm

I have attached the right upper and forearm, hopefully in the right place. I am welding the armature for the concrete part of the sculpture. Attached to this armature will be the metal lath that the concrete rest on and the additional wire that will extend outside of the Concrete showing the energy of the music created by the violinist. I see the violinist as a pedestal for the sculpture. A very specific pedestal. 

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Right arm and torso

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front view 

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View or right side

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View from back  

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Left side  

 

the bayling wire head head is a stand in. It was laying in my studio. 

“Score” post #9 repositioning the left forearm....

....to hold the muIcal instrument. 

I need to repositioning the left forearm to hold the violin. I have a bailing wire face attached to you he neck of the armature to help me visualize where the head would be. 

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front view

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left side of front

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left side 

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backside

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figures backright side 

Front right side of figure

Front right side of figure

I am excited that the piece still balances on it’s own, however it is starting to want to lean forward. In order to keep it balanced I will add the right arm next. 

Why are some people ready, why do some people know the moment?

People ask me all the time where  do I get my ideas. And I too am fascinated by where creativity comes from. I do not believe it can be taught and for most part it is not easy to describe as creativity, it is one of the great mysteries of the brain. However the Eudora Welty quote in Glasstire this morning beautifully states how I often find inspiration, or how inspiration often finds me.

 “The title That Day underscores the viewer’s sense of being there beside the photographer and the way in which the captured moment remains ever fresh in the image, some of which were made as early as 1979. That was the year when Dallas-based Wilson began assisting Richard Avedon with his own six-year photography project, In The American West. Describing Avedon’s portraiture process in her 2004 book, Avedon At Work In The American West, Wilson noted that he would wait for what Eudora Welty called “a story teller’s truth… the moment in which people reveal themselves. You have to be ready, in yourself; you have to know the moment when you see it.” “

                                                         - gene Fowler 

-http://glasstire.com/author/gene-fowler/



 

I guess the question should be why are some people

ready, why do some people know the moment?

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a moment caught by a "gust"

“score” post #8 winging it.

11/09/2017

I decided to weld the arm pieces onto the torso. I started with the left arm and the palm of the hand. I am totally winging this. Since the piece is in motion I want the arm position to reflect movement. The left shoulder dips and the elbow digs into his side. The left forearm has to be free so the fingers can to move up and down the violin. The violin will be held in place between his chin and his shoulder/chest. 

 

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Next I decide to trace my hand to determine how long the finger pieces of steel should be. Then I draw in the bones and measure how long each finger bone is between the joints. My hand is smaller than the figures would be but by the time I add the lath and cement it should be the right size. 

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My hand pattern with bone measurements.  

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The hand pattern  with two pieces of the palm of the hand bones cut.  

 

 

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Detail of the left arm and the palm of his hand.  

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The bones in the palm of the hand.  

Now I need to see if I am anywhere close on the angle of the forearm and back of hand. I will do this by holding up a violin to the figure.  

 

 

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No, I missed it. Tomorrow I will cut the forearm off and reattach it with the wrist right under the violin. Then I will look at the angle of the hand. That might also need to be altered. Totally winging it.   

“Gust” artist statement tweaking

 

I continue to tweak new versions of possible artist statements for “gust”, looking for the perfect words.  

 

How does this sound?  

“Gust”

Woven in felt, every hat tells a story, shaped with memories, recording beliefs, and veiling sorrow, some eloquent and some twisted. Cradled in our imagination, they blow in strange, wonderful ways, spinning from past generations that are inhabited by our respect to balancing our present responsibilities and fears. In generations past, in fable and in legend, hats sheltered spirits, represented people and occupations, and defended against the elements.

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“gust” In my kitchen after applying the patina.  Living with this hat for a few days making sure I am finished with the patina in it.