I Found a Bee

I Found a (dead) Bee, watercolor & rubber stamps

I Found a (dead) Bee, watercolor & rubber stamps

I found this pretty bumblebee in a parking lot yesterday. It was quite dead so I picked it up and carefully brought it home in a napkin to draw.  I set it on a few hydrangea blossoms under my magnifying lamp, trying to see all the details but it was really hard to differentiate all the various black fuzzy things. I guess a larger magnifier is needed.

I was thinking about saving it to study it some more, but when I researched preserving insect specimens I got a little creeped out. First you’re supposed to put it in a “relaxing chamber” if they have rigor mortis (ick, just typing that gives me the heebie jeebies) to soften them up a bit so you can spread them out and pin them on a board and then you have to keep them warm and dry (so they don’t get moldy I suppose).

For now I’ll put him (or is it a her?) back in its little jar and think some more about whether I’m really cut out for entomology vs. etymology which I love and is much less messy and gruesome.

  • Entomology: study of insects (from Greek entomos cut up) + logia “study of’” from logos “speech, oration, discourse, word”
  • Etymology: study of the history and origins of words (from Greek etumo “true sense” + logia (see above)

Yep, I guess I’d rather “cut up” words than insects! But if you have experience or knowledge about preserving dead bugs for drawing purposes, I’d love to hear your advice.

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A Sketchbook Celebration & Definition of Inspiration

First, a quick note that I was interviewed for the fascinating Tools Artists Use website. Although it often ends up sending me shopping, I love to see the tools other people use to make their art. If  you’d like to read the interview about my favorite art supplies and tools, just click here.

OK, so to celebrate the return of the my sketchbook, here are a few sketches from the past couple weeks that are happily no longer lost forever.

Old Sailor Man on BART, ink & watercolor, 6x8"

Old Sailor Man on BART, ink & watercolor, 8x6"

He looked like an old sailor man to me, wishing he was on a boat, not the subway.

While I was waiting for the ear, nose, throat doctor I copied the information from his wall chart and sketched the assortment of stuff on his shelf. I became fascinated with the names of the parts of the mouth and throat (I’m easily amused).

Waiting at the Doctor's Office, 4x6"

Waiting at the Doctor's Office, 4x6"

Defining Inspiration:

I noted in particular the “Epiglottis” and wondered if the word had anything to do with the word ” Epicurean.” Even more interesting was a depiction of an open throat, described on the chart as “Inspiration” which I supposed means “breathe in.” It made me think about inspiration in art and how, when feeling uninspired we try to force something to come out when perhaps it’s more a matter of simply opening and allowing it to come in, instead.

I had my sketchbooks out to share with my painting group buddies at the end of a nice Friday night dinner together at Jimmy Beans in Berkeley…

Judith at Jimmy Beans, ink & watercolor, 8x6"

Judith at Jimmy Beans, ink & watercolor, 7x6"

so I added one more sketch (above).

Entranced by his cellphone

Entranced by his cellphone on BART, 3x2"

And one more subway drawing. He was mesmerized by his cellphone but I see now that the sketch looks like he’s playing with his beard or rolling or a joint. (Are they still called joints?) I heard American Idol judge Randy Jackson call a song a joint on the show tonight, so maybe not.

I’m so happy to have my sketchbook back!

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