7 days left

7 days left to rip and wrangle rusted wire cloth, then delicately stitch the wire fragments into biospheres of frail and vulnerable abstract wild bees and organic shapes. Then coat hydro stone and cast shadows, to kinetically unveil the unintended consequences of forcing natural processes into an industrial model. Then pack, transport, unpack, install for 21 days, and open........ find more locations to install......... rinse and repeat.

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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.

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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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.

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.

Bombus and the blueberry

This is a continuation of an earlier post that documented my intuitive process to embrace and abstract the bee that was listed on the endangered species list January 11, 2017.

The posting was titled Embracing Bombus Affinis. Here is one more experiment.

In the experimental piece below I focused on the transparency of the wings.Through the wings you can see the bees hairs on the back of his abdomen. You can also see the flora in the background and through his wings. FYI- a favorite of the Rusty Patch bumble bee is blueberries. Blueberries are one of my favorites too. There is always a box of blueberries in our refrigerator. I hate the thought of my blueberries being pollinated in a lab.

Bombus Affinis VI  30” X 44”

Bombus Affinis VI

30” X 44”

I am not sure if showing the transparency is necessary or if it bogs down the energy with too much information.

If you want to help insure our food remains pollinated as nature intended see below-

Limit the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers whenever possible or avoid them entirely. Pesticides cause lethal and sublethal effects to bees and other pollinators.

 

https://www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered/insects/rpbb/factsheetrpbb.html

The ghost print

The ghost print

Private viewing of Hiram Butler Gallery

On July 24th, Alexander Squier https://www.alexandersquier.com/, the head of the the MFAH Glassell Studio School printmaking department, arranged for our printmaking class to get a private viewing of the Hiram Butler Gallery http://hirambutler.com/ print collection. It was a treat! We even got a peak at the cottage at the back of the property. Below are a few pictures from the day. All the work we looked at was exceptional and the Jacob Hashimoto  wood Block prints are really something to see. Next time you go ask to see the work in the cottage. FYI- the garden is prime for a planting of pollinator plants and housing a bee condo for bumbles.

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I find this tiny piece inspiring, it is giving me bee wing ideas.

I find this tiny piece inspiring, it is giving me bee wing ideas.

Leaving I saw this huge pile of bamboo waiting for the city of Houston’s trash collectors to pick it up. I immediately text Doug Welch to ask for permission to rob it of enough sticks to make done native bumble bee houses.

Leaving I saw this huge pile of bamboo waiting for the city of Houston’s trash collectors to pick it up. I immediately text Doug Welch to ask for permission to rob it of enough sticks to make done native bumble bee houses.

if I am lucky I can convince Curtis to take this project on. 🤞 I am hyper focused on my installation and completely buzzed to bee.

if I am lucky I can convince Curtis to take this project on. 🤞 I am hyper focused on my installation and completely buzzed to bee.

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Josh Pazda was so knowledgeable about the work and so generous with his time. I am never really comfortable in a gallery but Josh is so approachable and interested in what we wanted to see, It was a great gallery experience.

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.

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.

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.

Heritage- a new piece

In the fall of 2018 I started this piece to add to my Heritage series of sculptures.  As a teen, I shaped hats in my father's western wear store and I began to understand that old hats are reflections of their owners, that they keep a bit of the spirit of the person who wore them. When I start a piece I am often thinking about a specific individual and a  challenge they're facing. While working on this piece I had a conversation with a friend about his career. This friend is very very passionate about his profession and has an admirable work ethic. His work situation has been frustrating for several years. There was not a way he could remedy the situation. In the end he turned  challenging circumstances into a new opportunity. He took the leap and carved a new path.

Initially, when I broke the piece out of the shell I was disappointed that there were so many spots that did not pour. The texture is exactly what I wanted, well worn and full of passion and character.

A little frustrated but keeping an open mind, I set it on my utility room counter. I like to set pieces I am working on there so I can glance at them quickly as I go about my household tasks. This allows me to think and rethink my next step with the piece.

I walked by it and glanced over quickly and it hit me, those patches that did not pour could resemble the new path that my friend carved. Is it possible this piece took on bit of the spirit of my friend and his circumstances?

The next step with this piece is to do the metal chasing. Once the metal work is done I need to make a decision regarding the cool spots. Do I want to patch the cool spots or leave it as is.

I will have to ponder that.

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It is still sitting in my utility room. I do love the shadows. ????????????