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

Monday, 28 June 2010

My Bees are Back Home! ..

The bees are back in my care and judging by the very many lovely emails, queries, orders, commissions and general enthusiasm they have been excellent ambassadors for our fantastic UK bees.

Bees in London..

I met some wonderful people at the exhibition, bee experts, bee enthusiasts and some who are very new to bees. I was also amazed and delighted to be able to show some of the visitors the astonishing variety of bees which could be found just around the corner in the lovely little St George’s Garden.

On just 4 brief visits to this little leafy haven these are the bees I found ;

The female Hairy footed flower bee Anthophora plumipes  whizzing around the last of the comfrey.

A faded little Red mason bee  Osmia rufa who sat happily on my hand to be admired by Jane and Jenny two visitors to the exhibition. The little horns on her black face clearly visible.

The stunningly beautiful male and female Anthidium manicatum, the Woolcarder bees. I was so delighted to have seen these handsome bees and it was the only one I managed to get a reasonable photo of.

Lots of tiny black White Faced bees Hylaeus bees who although very small are recognisable by their white faces,  either the two white crescents or the full white face.Once you know they are there, you will see hundreds of them!

There were several little Megachile Leafcutter bees.. both male and female upending themsleves in the bells of campanulas.

Very excitingly I saw lots of Bombus hypnorum, the newly arrived Tree Bumblebee which I have yet to draw. They are very easy to recognise by their ginger thorax and the very white tip to their tail.. someone said they look as though they have “been dipped in white paint”

There were many of the favourite bumblebees, B.lapidarius, B.lucorum, B.terrrestris and B.pratorum and of course the busy honeybee.

All these bang slap in the middle of London… amazing!

 anthid

The very handsome male Anthidium manicatum, one of the many bees I saw in St Georges Garden, London, June 2010

What next?… “BUZZ” exhibition on the move next year..

Before the show was even open I was contacted by several venues in the UK about the possibility of showing the exhibition next year.  For that reason I decided not to sell the originals just now. I am giving them a rest before sending them out again next year to be little painted ambassadors for our bees again. :  to the fantastic venue of The Lost Gardens of Heligan where we will be having a “bee event” and I will be giving a workshop and talk: to the very beautiful  Easton Walled Garden which will be celebrating its 10th year and where I will be having a show and workshop when their wildflower meadows are in bloom: to The National Wildflower Centre up in Liverpool sometime in June we hope.  Then there is  the possibility of some residences and painting workshops for those who would  like to learn how to draw and paint our intimate natural world both in detail and in lose watercolor.  If you know of anyone who might like an illustrated bee talk let me know!

 Let’s hear it for the Bumbles and  Solitary bees!!!

Brigit and I are going to be working on a very exciting Book of British Bees. We are both passionate about bees and the need to really understand the role of the still largely overlooked solitary bees as well as the honey and bumblebees. This year much of the bee focus has been on the honey bee so next year  I intend to get people enthused more and more about bumbles and solitary bees and maybe some of the other pollinators that need our help. .. bats come to mind! 
I have been travelling around quite a bit in the last few weeks too and if I have learnt one thing, it is that so many people are  fascinated by our bees..and even more so when they  become aware of their variety, charm and their wonderful stories. 

We are on the move too….

So 2011 is going to be busy. If you are wondering how I am going to do all this from the USA I am not. Sadly we are having to leave the USA, Chris’s job there is ending and we must return to the UK for a while at least.  In a week I will be back to Orlando to pack and move (yet again)….blogging might be a bit spasmodic for a while, but at least I will have internet access which is easer than driving to Macdonald’s car park every time I want a connection!

****PS A big thank you to all the people who made the exhibition such a success, I am not going to go into Oscar style gushing.. you know who you are, blog friends and helpers and new and old friends alike! THANK YOU!

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

24 Bees in my Luggage

Phew! A week without internet access and no mobile phone coverage is a long time but the bees and I arrived in the UK safely. The framing is done, the work at the Gallery is almost finished and soon I can go and enjoy some of London, meet some old friends and  leave the bees to speak for themselves. 

It was quite hard to leave them there, having taken such care of them for so many weeks. No one else will know them quite as well as I do, but I hope people who happen by the Gallery will find them both interesting and endearing and will see Bees in a new and more affectionate light.

Meanwhile, I am staying in student accommodation in London which is quite interesting!