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.

Pollinators live in the ground

We all see bees, hornets, and wasps in nests, but most bees and many pollinators live in the ground. That is another reason that it just makes good sense to be very selective with what additives you put on your lawn, garden or crops. I had no idea bees lived in the ground until I started my Impact body of work. Yesterday on my walk I saw this wasp fluttering around in the grass. I hope the homeowner uses inputs that will not hurt the wasp intestinal flora. Wasps are also pollinators but they are not as effective as fuzzy bumble bees.