This past weekend, I attended beekeeping classes, given by master beekeeper Brian Campbell (Blessed Bee Apiaries). The course was interesting, informative and engaging. Brian is an excellent instructor. He’s exceedingly knowledgeable, has a gentle and respectful manner for his students and his charges (the bees), and he has a great sense of humour! A weekend well spent with theory and practice. We still have the practicum to look forward to, more first hand experience on handling honeybees!
We even got to witness a new drone bee emerge out of its cell. Very cool indeed.
March 9. A beautiful day finally after some grey days of rain. And wow! I came upon a little patch of crocus in my neighborhood, no more than 2 metres square, and there buzzing away, hard at work, were a dozen or so honeybees. I only had my cell phone with me, but couldn’t resist taking some photos of this year’s first sighting (for me, that is). Some of the bees were covered in pollen, and on others, I could see that they already had the beginnings of a pollen load forming in the pollen baskets of their back legs. What a treat.
I found a beautiful book of poetry by the poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, called The Bees. Here’s one poem from that wonderful book. (I stole a phrase from this poem for my previous blog post, “shadowed busy heart.”)
In these past days, I’ve been working on expanding the bee drawing that has the ancient bee goddess as queen bee. In this tiny swarm of black flower-like shapes, there are just over 1,000 bees, drawn on 7 overhapping sheets of translucent silk tissue. (The image is approximately 6′ tall). 1,000 bees done, another 34,000 to go to make a real swarm.
When I first started working with the red rose petals in January of 2010, (cf. Withdrawn: scribing Nancy for that project) I looked for other ways of using and documenting the roses beyond the scribing and tattooing of the petal surface. I explored the petals as a possible drawing medium, to see what kinds of marks the rose dye could make. I filled several long rolls of drawing vellum with ‘rose skids’ (each petal crushed and smashed and dragged against the surface of the paper). Using every single petal of each rose – including the yellowish stamens and pistels – the work also served to document/present each rose in an alternate manner.
I posted 2 blogs on these rose skids early on here (see entries for January 4 and 6th, 2011, “Side Things” and More Rose Skids”). I’ve taken that initial work a step further and used it as the space to explore new drawings. Flowers have been used by some pretty heavy-weight artists (just to name a few I admire – Georgia O’Keefe, Henri Matisse, Andy Warhol, Cy Twomby). So, I’ve acknowledged the precedence set by the above artists directly in my drawings. This I have done as text scribbles. Of course, I’ve also added Jean-Luc Nancy’s name since I’ve been appropriating his work for almost two years now.
I spent some time in Montreal recently, with my son. His interests lay in craniofacial reconstruction, so anything with a face or a skull captures his attention. I messed around with skull images, in drawing and some painting. The drawings use text to create the form of a skull. The metal parts in the images are titanium bits used in reconstructive surgery and the text itself is from a surgical treatise which I pulled from my son’s pile of books.