"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion" Francis Bacon 1561-1626

Monday, 29 March 2010

A Bee for Buglife.. go to their show in April!

I promised Buglife something for their annual raffle, so today I have sent them a print of a little watercolour which I painted yesterday. This time I was quite happy with the quality and colour (yes I am very fussy) so I will also be having some for sale at “BUZZ”. I do like people to have a quality product so I now have some good quality watercolour paper and also some professional  finishing spray which protects the print.

single bee sm

This was my first sketch which I am rather fond of and then the watercolour with the cornflower added. 

bee2 sm

I have been reading more and more about the plight of bees, the awful effects of pesticides and the loss of habitats, so I really want to do a bit more to help. I am not sure if the originals will sell at the exhibition, whose point is really just to spread the word about the “other” bees”, but I think prints might.  So I will be reviving my dormant Etsy account soon, and if I sell anything I will be able make a donation or two to bee/insect/wildlife charities. Thinking about what Buglife are doing I may well raffle these two original paintings at my exhibition. 

The lucky winner of my signed print at the Buglife open day will also get a card of  Bombus pascuorum and an extra gift of a bookmarky thing which will encourage them not only to come to the exhibition but to support bees as well.
 print and bkmk

Bookmarks, badges, cards, prints .. well why not !

BUGLIFE. org

If you don’t know about Buglife they really are a great organisation, dedicated to 

“Conserving the small things that run the world”

Buglife is the only organisation in Europe devoted to the conservation of all invertebrates, and we are passionately committed to saving Britain's rarest little animals, everything from bees to beetles, and spiders to snails.”

I wrote about them a couple of days ago when I heard their wonderful proposal for “rivers of flowers” across the UK, to provide wildlife corridors for bugs.

Amongst bee related things on their site you can find:

They are involved in many many projects and they have an open day in April which non members can attend for just £5 for adults and £2.50 for children which includes a light buffet lunch.

Buglife Members Day and Open Day 2010
Saturday 17 April, from 10:45am to 3pm at The Engine Group, 60 Great Portland Street, London, W1W 7RT.

There will be talks and workshops, including these,  all of which I would like to hear.

  • Life without chocolate, strawberries and coffee – a world without bugs'

  • 'Little nippers – Meet the freshwater crabs of Sri Lanka'

  • 'Dead wood is good wood for the Golden hoverfly'

  • 'Up on the Downs - chalk grassland butterflies and their conservation'

We will have live bugs, interesting displays, and activities for children. The Buglife team will be there to talk to you about our conservation work, wildlife gardening and how you can get involved.”

It sounds like a fascinating day, I am sorry I can’t be there and of course, if you enter the raffle you might win my little print… but, a life without chocolate?  Unthinkable!

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Feedburner! support or sabotage?

Well… how very kind it was of Feedburner to send out an old post for me yesterday. It did it all on its own, clever thing.

Was I being chastised for lack of production or is some artificial intelligence tuning in to my impending show and slipping in a quick post to fill a gap and do a bit of techie promotion?

I am trying to take it in the sprit it could have been offered (if computers had a heart) and console myself with the immortal words that “if something is worth saying it’s worth saying twice”..so if you got the lovely Bombus hortorum yesterday, no you haven’t lost you mind and neither have I, it was February’s post.

So apologies to bee weary email readers.. you are probably so dazed by the succession of bees that one is looking very much like another anyway,  not long …not long.. flowers soon,  flowers soon!

Friday, 26 March 2010

Lasioglossum calceatum, the Slender Mining Bee.. and Rivers of Flowers from Buglife.

This lovely Lasioglossum bee is in the tribe Halictiniae which is a huge family of bees. These are the old bees, the ancient bees whose descendants were flying around 220 million years ago. I have painted a couple of them, including my first live model, the accommodating Agapostemon splendens which I wrote about here “The Stripy Halicitd Sweat Bee.” Looking at the UK Lasioglossum bees you can see the family resemblance, but it seems that in the UK we don’t have quite such colourful varieties.

In looking for information about these bees I came across Jeremy Earley’s really excellent site Nature Conservation Imaging.  The site is particularly fascinating because he breaks it down into different UK habitats and what you might find there. I spent hours reading through the excellent notes, which are illustrated with his wonderful photographs. It is a really informative site on solitary bees so I contacted him for a little help re the species and their favourite flowers. He kindly sent me back a list of foraging plants taken from David Baldock’s “Bees of Surrey” which was published two years ago.

'most often found at ragwort. Other flowers used include thistles, buttercups, common fleabane, lesser burdock, sheep’s-bit, red campion, chickweed and rough hawkbit.'

I think in trying to identify bees it really helps to know where you might find them!  I had earmarked Rough Hawkbit for this bee some time ago but felt the humble Dandelion really needed a place in the exhibition especially as it is a star amongst bee flowers. It is in the same huge Asteraceae family of composites, Hawkweeds, Cat’s Ears, and the Sow Thistles etc, which incidentally seems to be the only thing thriving here at the moment.

Rivers of Flowers in every County.  B LINES from Buglife…

I had a blissful morning with the radio and some pencils. Tweet deck was off. Photoshop, Illustrator and their accomplices were dormant. I was listening to the news and heard Buglife.org, one of the charities who will be supporting the exhibition, calling for the UK to be crossed with flower filled corridors for bees. What a lovely idea and beautiful image. 

B-lines would be rivers of flowers in every county, one going east west and the other north south. They would be carefully planned to avoid woods, lakes and other unsuitable habitats, but would connect people to wildlife sites to enable better appreciation of British wildlife.”

6 spot burnet (c) Andrew Whitehouse 

This photo accompanies the article, the beautiful Six-spot burnet moths (Zygaena filipendulae)© Andrew Whitehouse, on Vipers Bugloss I think.

They want the government to step in but I was thinking, if everyone sowed just one packet of wildflower seeds it would make a real difference and I am all for guerilla planting.. think of all those arterial roads, their verges and roundabouts. It’s an interesting article. Do read more, Call For More Wildflowers.   I will be donating a small watercolour to them for their annual charity auction next month which I will (hope to) be painting in the next few days and will put on the blog.

The Painting. .

I think a lot about how to make an image, where I place things and what I want to say. I am struck by the delicacy of these little bees and was wondering how the world looks from their persepctive. A low leaf to us is high to them. So I deliberately kept the space below him clear and uncluttered just to give a sense of the airiness and lightness. It is, after all, irrelevant how far the drop is to the ground if you can fly! 

These little things make me feel like some lumpen, clumsy Gulliver. Jainism is looking more attractive by the day!  I suppose the rot set in when Ant came to stay. Dear Ant! I do miss him. Paper Wasps are just not the same, far too serious. No cavorting around the drawing board for them, just baleful glaring.

sketches sm 

Grubby sketches but useful to me, they just help me sort out ideas quickly. Then the final picture. Yes, I did include the dandelion flower, but not quite all :).

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Lasioglossum calcaetum with Dandelion

 

Lasioglossum cal

 Watercolour and Graphite on  Arches HP approx 8”x8”

****And a big thank you to all, for your kind comments and emails, re my battles with the hard grey stuff. Lord knows, I have troubles enough with the soft grey stuff. Some degree of calm returned today and it does help to know I am not the only one, but serene gliding is still some way off..

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Tantrums and Tears on the Exhibition Trail.

Serene Gliding or Frantic Paddling

Chris has, on more than one occasion referred to my artistic endeavours as “swanlike”.

“Most people” he says “just see the nice ordered results (serene gliding), I on the other hand see all the angst, the swearing, the paper tearing and the tears, the ranting and general turmoil (frantic paddling) that you seem to need to create in order to produce something.”

How true..How true… and the last few days have been full of all of the above.

 My Trash Can Runneth Over

I have met one or two artists who live in a sort of dreamy la la land but not many. Most of us get up in the morning to face the creative day with some trepidation. My personal war with bits of paper will never be won and if my battles with pencils and brushes have slackened off a bit over the years, computers, printers, scanners and their attendant software have jumped in eagerly to fill the gap.

All I wanted to do is get some leaflets, handouts and cards designed for the show. It has to be done.. and now. The cause of all the bad temper is that I am having to learn Illustrator on the hoof and quickly, and thinking it might resemble Photoshop in some way was my big mistake! (exactly why can’t I crop an image in Illustrator?). My progress is glacial and an ice age will probably come and go before I really understand it. Then, when after 72 hours of mind numbing key stroking and Wacom tapping I have one image, I find that my printer will not print it correctly and that anyway the colours are so wildly different (and yes I do know all about colour calibration and those expensive machines you can buy..) from those on the screen that it almost renders the whole thing pointless. I know this is inevitable and it doesn’t help that I only have a laptop and a cheap printer.

So last week I decided to go the professional route and have a printer print me some cards. They are a very good company who ask you to supply 5 images which they test print for you. But the results were grim… Day-Glo greens and pinks and heavy saturated blacks.. sigh.

So I tried to get something printed at home which I could then send to the printer to indicate the colour I wanted. Then of course everything conspires against me. The printer runs out of ink, it chews up the paper and spits it out it at me, it point blank refuses to print without a white line at the bottom of everything despite having a million “borderless” settings, all of which I tried.. I even tried to catch it unawares by printing a larger image on smaller paper, in reverse upside down and back to front.  Illustrator crashes, Acdsee crashes, Photoshop hangs… they all refuse to play ball with Adobe Bridge and I see my life shortening rapidly before my tired and bleary eyes.

But I am nothing if not dogged and today was my deadline so the three pathetic images I did manage to coax out of the wretched machines have been sent.  I will be blissfully unaware of the colours my files have printed until I arrive in the UK a week before the show.. what a lovely surprise that will be?

Meanwhile that is not the end to the frantic paddling, the swearing and the tears. I still have the framing, the mounting, the words, the prints, the cards.. and myself… to whip into shape.

Hard Won 

buzz posters and handoutbuzz a4 poster

and a small bee badge for my sidebar!

 bdge 3 

I know you young, computer savvy, things will be snickering but I was brought up with only a scalpel, cow gum and a typescale….. and we had nowt to eat but bread and scrape and kept coal in’t bath wi’ whippet… luxury.

I am now going to have a go at  being that bit of swanlike I am least good at. I am going to try and coax a salad onto the table with NO SHOUTING.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Learn to Love Dandelions: Dandelions and Bees

shutterstock_44456344 
Photo by Ernita at Shutterstock.com

The Enemy of my Father

I used to earn my pocket money by gardening. It left me with a delight in growing things, a love of digging, a hatred of mowing and a passion for weeding. This was instilled in me by my father who, although a passionate gardener was adamant that things had their place and in our garden, then surrounded on every side by fields, ancient grazing, hedges, dykes, and flower filled verges ( yes this is some time ago) the place of the “weeds” was very firmly on the other side of the straggly wire fence.

My father battled with everything in the garden, with mice, birds, squirrels, this pest, that pest , this canker, that whitefly, the insidious “Yorkshire Fog” and creeping “twitch”, but his greatest foe was, and still is, the Dandelion.

At 92 he is now incapable of much weeding, but if the CIA really could have floored a goat with one stare, my father would have been lining up for training, so that he could march around the garden glaring at dandelions, in his endless and hopeless campaign to eradicate these cheery yellow interlopers. He wasn’t a great user of chemicals mostly because he was thrifty and, in his eyes, hard work can accomplish most things, so I have fond memories of crowbar-ing flagstones and lifting patches of lawn and excavating huge holes, deep enough to find bedrock, in our relentless search for the dread taproot.

On my last trip home I was ordered to weed the flagged patio. Dandelions love these little narrow gaps between stones don’t they? No hoe or fork or knife can do much more than behead them, which is as nothing to a dandelion. I am sure that one day soon my father will glance out of the French windows, see a new, dancing, mocking dandelion thumbing its nose at him from between stones and die of apoplectic rage. At first I just did a bit of beheading but, if my father’s hearing is non existent his eyesight is excellent, and I was told I had been sloppy, and sent back out to do a proper job. I was reluctant but they had to go, I just can’t be held responsible for my father’s early demise (if at 92 that is possible) can I?

 

shutterstock_13441678

“Bee” in Dandelions by Duncan de Young at Shutterstock

 

The Friend of Bees

Despite my tentative pleading of the benefits of weeds, my fathers position remains firm. I have learnt to love them, especially dandelions and I have said before on the blog that one very good way to help bees is to stop weeding, or at least have a weedy wild patch. (As I write this I feel waves of stunned and pitying disapproval winging their way from the UK.. “my daughter has completely lost her mind”.. he will be thinking).

I am currently drawing some of the tiny little solitary bees, and they love the dandelion family.. as do all bees. The importance to bees of this pretty, if tenacious, weed cannot be over emphasised. Their long flowering season and rich nectar and pollen source, gives an early boost to emerging bees and keeps them going in the autumn too. 

Some different bees enjoying dandelions;

shutterstock_29155132shutterstock_47459008 Photos Kirschner and  Anna Dorobek  

  shutterstock_1387075shutterstock_13133992
Photos  Yaroslav and dpaint

 shutterstock_30597922shutterstock_18147862
Photos  Dmitri Melnik and Alexander Maksimov

shutterstock_1506786-1shutterstock_1322372
Photos Hway Kiong Lim and Laurie Barr

…and of course they are not just for the bees;

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Photo, Titus Manea

All the above photographs are reproduced with the very kind permission of Shutterstock.com…

A Childhood Sweetheart and Artist’s Inspiration

I am sure you all know the other benefits of dandelions.. it would be a dull and sad child who has never blown a dandelion clock or made a little salad for an apprehensive parent, and the internet is full of excellent info and enthusiasts! 

But my blog friend Curtiss Clark who aside from running the Newtown BEE  newspaper (Hmm, I wonder how we met :) )  keeps a lovely blog and back in 2006 wrote this; “In Defense of Dandelions” . It’s as thoughtful and delightful a piece as any dandelion lover could wish for. He extols their virtues, reminds us of carefree days and wants to restore the place they had in our hearts when we were children:

“We are beaten year after year by the botanical equivalent of a smiley face. For certain scowley-faced green-lawn-obsessive guys I know, it’s infuriating.

Sometimes our own ideas ruin the world for us. While we are feverishly poisoning dandelions and pulling them out by the roots, we are often simultaneously enriching the soil of garden beds so that we may plant asters, or daisies, or marigolds, or sunflowers, or zinnias, all of which are first cousins of the dandelion in the family Asteraceae.

If we can ever reconcile the green lawn guys with the dandelion, the world would be a brighter place. But getting them to lie down with their rival weed is a little like getting the lamb to lie down with the lion.

It’s a lovely piece Curtiss! (Which I may read to my father when I am home in June, if he has survived the spring emergence.)

 

The humble Dandelion has inspired many artists and designers.. hundreds of us appreciate its beauty, intricacy and mystery, in every part of its life cycle, especially those gorgeous seed heads.  Here are two 2 favourite images of mine which go a little beyond the cheery yellow.

objimage

A beautiful intricate Stewart Maclennan, woodengraving made in 1940  

from the Museum of New Zealand here. I am very fond of his work, as I am of Charles Burchfield who I have written about before. Here is a late work Dandelion Seed Heads and the Moon (1961-65)

burchfield  dandelions

This painting is mentioned in a conversation about Burchfield between Hunter Drohojowksa-Philp and Robert Gober, which you can read online at Artnet here

HDP: And in this room is one of my favorite watercolors of the dandelions, where it looks like he’s lying down in a field of dandelions.

RG: Exactly. In the middle of the night, at 70 years old, with his head on the ground, looking at the moon through dandelions. That’s the way to go.

Yes indeed Charles, you and my father, but yours would have been more restful! 

The next painting .. a start

Meanwhile back at the bee house here, I am drawing a Lassioglossum and, happily, Jane at the excellent Urban Extention Blog has a super photo which vindicates my choice of a dandelion of some sort to accompany this smart little bee.

image Photo Jane Adams here

I have painted the bee and will probably perch him on the leaf of a dandelion or at least one of the related family, but am procrastinating about the flower … all those petals..sigh. Of course I should say flowers because the dandelion is a composite flower, so made up of many separate tiny flowerlets, each with their own petals and nectar source.. a true bee banqueting table.

Lasioglossum…a start…

lasiog 1

Friday, 19 March 2010

Buzz.. The Bee Exhibition is all set for June, Lumen Centre, London

An Little Oasis of Bee Tranquility.. right in the middle of London!

There are lots of wonderful “Bee” events going on in London this year and of course mine will be one of them ( shameless trumpet blowing and self promotion!) I am proud to announce “BUZZ …. a Celebration of British Bees and their Flowers” will be held in June from the 1st to the 26th at LUMEN. 

bee banner 3

And the venue is just BEAUTIFUL! .. I really couldn’t be more delighted. It‘s the about-to-be-opened gallery of LUMEN the newly opened multi-faith centre in Bloomsbury. It’s a tucked away, very beautiful space, in my very favourite part of London not far from the British Museum. Leafy squares, book shops, hospitals, Universities, the British Library. Home once to Dickens, Darwin, Vanessa Bell, Virginia Wolfe, and Yeats.  Memories of the old publishing houses, Faber and Faber, and of course Beatrix Potter’s publisher,  Frederick Warne. I remember seeing their office by chance, years ago. Bloomsbury is wonderful, such history, such learning, such literature.

LUMEN CENTRE

from an article in e.architect

..An exquisitely designed new multi-faith centre for worship and contemplation by Theis and Khan Architects
Lumen Centre Lumen Centre London Lumen Centre multi-faith centre
Lumen URC and Community Centre Photos : Nick Kane

Created within the shell of an existing 1960s United Reformed church, lumen will be used regularly for Christian services as well as offering an open invitation to people of all faiths to use the spaces. The site has a rich history. The 1960s church replaced an older church, which was bombed during the Second World War, and backs on to an ancient burial ground for the people of Bloomsbury, now called St. George's Gardens.
The new sacred space, known as the Shaft of Light is central to the design. A large-scale intervention, rendered in white, is a spectacular conical, shell-like space, which reaches through the full 11-metre height of the building to a single roof-light. The Shaft of Light offers people from any faith or belief a secluded area for worship or for private gatherings. The quality of the light inside the space subtly changes, depending on the weather and time of year, adding to the sense of peace and separation from the bustle of the outside world.
In addition, a tranquil garden at the rear of the building  offers a contemporary interpretation of a cloister, with slender brushed stainless steel columns supporting an arcade around a central courtyard planted with herbs and silver birch trees. The cloister will be open for people to enjoy a quiet moment of reflection or simply stop for a lunchtime sandwich.

Commissioned by the United Reformed Church, lumen has continued the ancient tradition of commissioning artists and craftspeople. Working with Modus Operandi art consultants, the church has commissioned two artists to create new three dimensional art works, which are carefully integrated within the building.
Internationally acclaimed artist Alison Wilding has created a trio of artworks: a new font, a drinking fountain and a garden fountain,a shallow bronze dish with the inscription "A spring of water, welling up to eternal life" (John 4:14). The strong architectural form of the Shaft of Light, designed by Theis and Khan Architects is the key point of reference for both the drinking fountain and font.
Lumen Centre London multi-faith centre London multi-faith centre Lumen Centre interior
Lumen URC and Community Centre Photos : Nick Kane

The north window on the street front, features a spiralling, geometric sculptural screen, entitled North Elevation, by rising artist Rona Smith. Made of bronze, the sculpture is suspended within the alcove of the window, and arcs gently
into the main space. The design evokes the traditional imagery of many religions, including Christian, Islamic, Hindu and Buddhist. The artwork explores how geometry unites diverse systems of symbolism and representation and reflects lumen's ethos of inclusive worship for people of all faiths.
The art works which have been commissioned aim to signify universal values, yet each are open to the interpretation of the individual viewer. We hope that they will encourage a sense of contemplation, and a further means of engagement with the centre, bringing together people of diverse beliefs and backgrounds.
Maggie Hindley, (former) minister Minister, lumen comments: “What impressed me about our architects and artists was that they listened, and asked questions, and brainstormed with us and really got to understand our vision before coming up with any proposals; and then they listened some more as the plans evolved. So we got a physical expression of our own goals, but more beautifully and imaginatively than we could have dreamed of."

Read the whole article here.. although I have not left much out!

Also read all about LUMEN, their history and wonderful facilities on their website here. I will be telling you more as the weeks go by.

Browse, Read and Relax

The gallery will be sharing a space in part with the newly opened cafe, which we are hoping will be serving honey cake to have with a cup of tea… and maybe other honey themed foods! ..more on that to come…

Gallerypart of lumen cafe and gallery.

And while you are having a refreshing snack you can do some reading as well!
I am delighted to say we are getting support so far from: 
 Buglife.org.uk “the only organisation in Europe devoted to the conservation of all invertebrates,  …passionately committed to saving Britain's rarest little animals”.  
The Herb Society who are having a “BEE AWARE” year and whose conference this year is all about bees.
The Bumblebee Conservation Trust two of whose bees, the Shrill Carder and the Great Yellow I will be painting  for the exhibition.
They will all  be providing  literature on bees, herbs, flowers and gardening  for bees…. 
And  Brigit from the wonderful “The Big Green Idea” the charity dedicated to showing people how sustainable living can be easy, healthy, inexpensive and fun, will hopefully be having an input too.

….all this and I have only just started asking, so lots more info to come and it will be on the blog and even, maybe, on Twitter.. 

Thursday, 18 March 2010

More Megachile..The Lovely Leafcutter Bee again.

I have written before about these delightful bees in my post  “The Leafcutter Bee: Can  Opener of the Bee World” so no need to repeat myself, and I don’t have much time either. I have made a rather slow start to this next lot of bees.

But you can, and should, go and watch two wonderful short films by the BBC Natural History Unit of these amazing bees chewing round holes in rose leaves and transporting the huge pieces back to their nests where they form them into leafy cocoons for their little ones.The speed is quite astonishing. The films, complete with cooing wood pigeon soundtrack, are on the excellent site Arkive  http://www.arkive.org/megachile-leaf-cutter-bee/megachile-centuncularis/video-09.html.  

Leafcutter bees don’t rely only on rose leaves but use also birch, ash, beech and many other leaves. (I have read that the serrated edge is significant but am not sure about it, but I can see how it might give them a good starting point).  Megachile concinna in Jamaica uses bougainvillea bracts and in the USA Megachile umatillensis uses evening primrose petals, how pretty!  There are several species in the UK but the most commonly seen are, Megachile centuncularis (the one I am painting), and Megachile willughbiella.

 

The Slow Megachile Painting

Slow decisions… Day one… Tuesday

This particular painting has taken me an agonisingly long time.. mainly because I kept changing my mind. Sometimes I know exactly what I want to do, but now I have to consider the paintings as a set and make sure I get a variety of poses and compositions etc. My very first thumbnails done back in Feb were a good guide but I have already altered one or two.

image First British Bee Thumbnails

I knew I wanted to include the rose leaves with the cut out circles because Megachile centuncularis is also known as the “rose leaf cutter bee” due to her partiality to roses. So I made more thumbnails and initially chose to work on one with the bee flying away from the rose, mainly because I really wanted a more front face view.  But, if she were flying away from the leaves, she should really be carrying a piece of leaf.

 thumbnails

I pondered all this, spent half a day going down this route and then I decided against it. The bees carry the leaves clasped between their jaws and held with their legs which does to be honest, look rather strange, especially if this is your first encounter with a leafcutter bee.

So I changed the view to her flying towards the rose in eager anticipation of a bit of leaf chewing…I had tried the wings in different positions too but liked the anticipation of the forward position, they are almost like welcoming open arms.



I am a bit sad to lose the engaging front view eye contact .. but it makes more sense.  Also,  as I did with the Leu Gardens exhibition I will be having explanatory notes to accompany the work, so I think I will include a drawing of her carrying the leaf there. But it has taken me a day to get this far.

Slow painting… Day two… Wednesday …

At the side of the board is one of my boxes of bees with a little leafcutter under the magnifying glass. It’s a really pretty bee with such personality. Like all of them they take a full day to draw out and paint. So much work for something so small!

desk and megachile

  

Slow drawing…. Day three…  Thursday

I really thought today was going to be easy because all I have to do is draw the rose.. I went and found some rose leaves nearby, looked at my Leu photos for a nice single rose and then just couldn’t decide how to  arrange them together.  

I tried what seemed like a million different variations of flower angles and leaf arrangements.. these are just two which I was quite happy with,

Up a bit…. down a bit …

But  I eventually realised that I was uneasy with the scale.. so enlarged the rose a bit and then felt a lot happier but its now 1.30pm. sigh ..

 

My biggest problem at this stage is trying to keep everything clean. With graphite pencils you do have to keep washing your hands and I try to remember  to work with paper under my hand.  Hazards are everywhere and cups of tea are usually balanced precariously next to me!

However it’s almost finished, perhaps I’ll add a couple more leaves at the bottom but it’s 5.30..enough for today or rather for the last 3 days!  I am glad I turned the flower head up, its more optimistic and less watchful on the part of the flower. While she is turning her head to the sky the little bee can come and help herself to some more leaf curls. Hmm… that smacks a bit of whimsy doesn’t it,  a word I dislike intensely… blame it on hours of solitary confinement:

Little Miss Leafcutter off for some Leafcurls  :)

 leafcutter bee bg

Watercolour and graphite on Arches HP  approx 8 x 8 inches

Monday, 15 March 2010

Squirrel Sketches

Last week apart from one day the weather was pretty bad.. 2 whole days of continuous rain put paid to my sketching plans at Leu.  The best I could do was to sit and watch the squirrels through the sliding glass door, eating the peanuts we put out for them on the balcony.

Yes, here in the land of a trillion oak trees we feed the squirrels. In the hard frosts and driving rain that has been this Florida winter we have taken pity on them and now they are as bold as brass and will come into the apartment if we leave the door open.

ss1

It is a fair trade off. We get hours of entertainment watching them and they get delicious roasted peanuts. I read that raw peanuts are not good for them, apparently they get addicted to them in the same way we become alcoholics, but plain roasted ones are OK.


ss7  ss4

They certainly love them. If there are no peanuts they will come to the glass door and peer in holding their paws up anxiously.

 

ss2

Instead of scampering over the roof our fat squirrels are now thundering overhead and the sound of  the door opening in the morning has all the nearby bushes twitching with anticipation. As a bonus, the beautiful red cardinals come too.

I sat on the sofa with a sketchbook looking out through the window and tried to capture something squirrely about them. 

ss6      ss5

They are delightful and always make me smile.This week I am back to the bees..

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Squirrel Sketches:


ss squirrel sketch blog