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bee

from a million flowers

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from a million flowers

This time last year I was getting ready to hang a new collection of work, Honey Honey. Somehow, I didn't manage to learn my lesson about piling art projects on top of what is arguably the busiest part of my year and here I am again, covered in wax and making art. This new series is a close relative of Honey Honey, with many of the same photos and carefully selected words being transferred onto wood and wax. But this time the wax is pigmented with vibrant oil paint, so the collection is alive with color. Rather like a field of flowers, I suppose. This series, From a Million Flowers, will be hanging as part of a group show at the long-beloved Pynelogs Gallery in Invermere for the next two weeks. The opening is Wednesday, September 17 from 7-9pm and I'll be there to mix and mingle with the other artists (and you!).

The title comes care of Ray Bradbury, in the novel Dandelion Wine. “Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don't they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.”

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honey honey

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honey honey

The project is complete, the show is hanging. At least, the project as defined by the grant proposal is complete. But I've gotta keep going. This was too good, too fun, too fulfilling to close the book just yet. There's more to come on the bee front. Watch out.

For those that want to see (and smell!) the artwork, swing on by the Art Gallery of Golden sometime this month. Here's what you would read on the wall when you got there:

The plight of the honeybee has been the stuff of headlines and news stories in recent years. There is a growing concern that the collapsing colonies of pollinators will have a regrettable impact on food supply and indeed on the human experience. Such a little creature, so easily forgotten and ignored, is garnering some attention at last.

This show is meant as a gentle visual reminder of the importance of bees, of their value over the generations, and of their fascinating ways. For thousands of years the bee has been revered, her honey cherished as food and ointment. Our cultural disconnect from food sources in the last century has put a rift between many of us and the mighty bee, a rift that I hope to diminish by a wing’s width with each viewer of this work.

But in truth, my intentions with the show were not entirely altruistic. The selfish and curious part of me wanted to explore the work of the bees and the work of their keepers, their stewards. I wanted to know more, and I wanted to eat more honey. I wanted to surround myself with their buzz, and when the shooting was done I wanted to surround myself with the smell of their wax. Spending time at my kitchen table with photographs, wood, and wax was a welcome change from hours at the computer, the darkroom of the digital age. In that sense, this project has been an escape and a complete gift. I owe the bees (and CKCA, the funder for this project) no small part of my sanity this summer.

I’ve been taking basic prints of color images, adhering them to wood boards and then coating them with encaustic wax (filtered beeswax mixed with damar resin). For the black and white images, I’m doing image transfers onto layers of golden beeswax on wood. Several of the pieces also have small quotes, phrases, or poems about bees from a wide variety of writers and thinkers.

If you can't make it to see the exhibit in person, check out the full collection of completed work here: Honey Honey. And for the full effect, sniff a beeswax candle while viewing.

A huge thank you to Sigi for letting me tag along, stick a lens in the hives, and ask a lot of questions.

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bees, take one

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bees, take one

I went out for my first real look at the hives with Sigi a couple weeks ago. He was just checking up on the girls, I was taking in a new world. I loved it. Even got an inaugural sting on one of the very few bits of exposed skin I had going. Wouldn't have been a good first bee shoot without a little sting.

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a new project

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a new project

I'm working on something new. It involves wood and wax and an opportunity to learn new things. I love learning new things. Thanks to some funding through CKCA, I'll be learning something about the art of beekeeping this summer, and with any luck, turning that learning into art as well. The plan is to document the work of local beekeepers and then experiment with painting encaustic wax on top of the prints I produce. My first ever shipment of wax arrived this week from Waxworks (yeah Canadian supplier!) and it smelled unbelievably good. If my enthusiasm for opening this package stands as a marker for my enthusiasm for this project, it's gonna be a fun one. I'll be updating here as I make progress. As I fall in love with bees.

encaustic-wax-01.jpg

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