Sorting through piles and piles of old work, more precisely the cast off sheets of imagery on gampi from the large bee-themed work from 2015, I started to play with the materials; exploring, in a sketchbook, the idea of collections, of possessing nature. Specimens, both botanical and entomological, are instrinsic parts of my new work, and I am reflecting upon my own need to see nature as a collectible entity.
As the season of bee observation, floral collection and study draws to a close, I am starting to look through my image archive, considering the printed ones, what to keep, what to set aside–what thematics to consider in preparation for next year’s exhibitions? Soon, I will be starting the intensive task of printing new images, most probably with the help of a new Epson printer, as I have devastated my present one with the abundantly free-floating fibers in the gampi paper I use.
But despite the hate-hate relationship of gampi+printer, the paper is lovely to work with, and because it is not coated, there is not the same sharpness in the image that real photography paper has. It has a natural warm hue. These aspects I really like.
Then the long, slow task of dipping each image in melted beeswax. The paper is already translucent, but the beeswax renders it more so, and adds a further warmth to the tone.
Part of the thrilling process of learning about native pollinators and their relationship to flowers is moving beyond my immediate surroundings and exploring environments that are further afield. One of my most favorite parts of this province is the Okanagan-Similkamen region with its fragrant desert hillsides, the Ponderosa Pine forests, the orchards and of course, the wineries. But even getting there is a rich experience as roadsides are often full of wildflowers that color the dusty banks with splotches of red, blue, purple and yellow and white. Some of those colors come from native plants, like the lupins, yarrow and Indian Paint brush, but sadly, some also come from invasive species like some thistles and knapweeds, Dalmation toadflax, sulphur cinquefoil and oxeye daisies.
Indian Paint Brish and Lupins
Thimble Berry and Lupins
Bumblebee alighting onto a native rose.
A feast of lupins!
Lupins of different tonalities and Indian Paint Brush
It’s interesting to observe the communities of plants. Where they grow and how they grow. Indian Paint Brush is semiparasitic. It needs to rely on neighbors for survival. Is it the lupins that provide the help, the tree or some other plant?
Bird’s Foot Trefoil, yarrow and wild roses. This was such a fragrant place to be! The roses were amazing.
Sometimes a blossom that I am studying has so many astounding structures that taking it apart and understanding its beautiful components becomes a total obsession for days. And so it is with this little native wildflower, Menzies larkspur, Delphinium menziesii, from the family Ranunculaceae. It produces nectar in its amazing little nectar spurs, and sheds pale creamy pollen from its numerous anthers.