Friday, May 14, 2010

Drawing a cast( part 1)

Back to drawing a cast. This is a still life, sorta. Its a cast of a sculpture by (I think) Michaelangelo. Artists draw casts to practice and refine their drawing skills. Its not all that inspiring until you hit the point of obsession, but by then obsession is the least of your worries. By that time, you are so caught up in it that all conversational skills cease to exist, your social life falls away, and you are given to worrying about the quality of artist charcoal in the 21st century. Think I'm kidding? I once considered making my own charcoal because I couldn't get darks that were rich enough. I wound up importing charcoal from a charcoal maker in Dorset, UK called(of course) the Dorset Charcoal Co. His charcoal is very, very nice and it comes in study cardboard boxes that are actually practical and they last. The website is pretty interesting, too. And remember to check the links section,too. Wanna learn to make your own charcoal? Jim Bettle is your man. The fact it would cost me thousands to fly across the ocean to his class is only incidental.

Well if you did cast drawing you would understand. And I would have someone to talk to about the general lack of quality charcoal in the 21st century. And together we could import more charcoal from Dorset.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ukrainian hives

This is a wonderful example of the painters craft. It's an interesting subject turned into a very nice painting by a Polish Impressionist,( Jan Stanisławski "Beehives in the Ukraine", c. 1895, oil on canvas, 19 x 29 cm, National Museum, Cracow). The colors and texture in this painting really capture the mood of an early autumn day. They look like funny little gnome huts, but actually they are beehives that are made out of logs. They are from the Ukraine and I really want one, although I'll bet harvesting the honey from one of them can get pretty tricky. The painting is gorgeous, and the painter really captures that
warm light and the dry, crunchy-leafed feel of September.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Beekeeping in the 1500's

16th century beekeepers. Look at the guy on the right prying the bottom off the bee skep. I always wondered how they got into those things. And I like the bee suits they are wearing-- they look like they are all one piece. The cloth must have been very thin so they could see out, and they certainly didn't have any problem with bees crawling up their pants legs because they were wearing leggings(or are they?!?). The only thing that is scary is that they don't have gloves. ouch. Well, that and the fact they look like they don't have faces, that's a little disconcerting.
And way on the right is a little guy who wandered in and had to climb up a tree to get away from the cranky bees who didn't like their homes disrupted.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Oh no! I think it maybe bee fever.

Bee fever. Its real and it's incurable in it's early (and maybe in all) stages. It just has to run it's course, and may never be completely eradicated from its victim. I just spent four hours driving to buy an upper story for the hives. The girls are going to need more room as they are multiplying rapidly. The man at the bee store said, "you know, there is more to life than bees. There is a whole world out there with many many things that have nothing to do with bees." Can that really be true?
I also tasted a little bit of the honey the girls made. Oh yum.
This is a picture of one of the frames with capped brood cells that contain baby bees. This is a good thing.
Bee fever. I has it.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

And now for something completely different........

I've decided to keep bees. The reaction to this project has ranged from "I will pray for you" to the simple question "why?" coupled with a look of horror. Well, it's great for the environment, and I can, theoretically, get all the honey I want, so there is no downside, except when they sting you on your foot. Which they did, and plus they crawled up my pants leg, which wasn't really a good feeling, all things considered. But my bee-buddy Paul just said that that made me a real beekeeper, so it was alright. In truth, there was some yelling and bad words on my part, but that was just the fear and pain talking, and now I feel much better.
I visited the girls( honeybees are females, mostly) yesterday and after only three weeks in their hives( two hives) they have made me the proud grandma of two and one half frames of capped brood per hive. Paul says this is very, very good, and soon I can put an addition on the hive, because in two weeks the babies will hatch and the number of bees will double. That means I will have 32,000 bees and maybe more.
The top picture is me putting bees in a hive for the first time. They come in wooden cages, you open them up and shake them out into their new home, just like they were pennies in a penny jar. Then you put in the queen bee, give them something to eat and let nature take its course. The second picture is the girls doing the bee thing and being busy. So far, they seem to like their new home.

Saturday, May 01, 2010


These are scarves/shawls I designed and have named Angel Wraps. They are 72" x 22" and printed right now on polyester silk for easy cleaning. Originally I began with the concept of the wearer being wrapped in the wings of an angel and the scarves were meant for cancer patients, survivors, and their families. As I showed them to friends, they started suggesting more and more uses, including use by persons with disabilities, and just people celebrating happy occasions. One person thought that wearing one would encourage her piano students! Another thought that people in rehab would think they were cool. Psychics/lightworkers seem to like them too, so I guess I got the thumbs-up from the other side!
I am using a short-run printing company and that means that I can customize the scarves if people want to include names, or poems, or even prayers.
Anyway, I am getting my first shipment back from the printer today. I'm so excited!

Its Spring!

I found these in a garden center, nestled in the Astilbe.