Encaustic, on art board, 17½ inches x 21½ inches framed, 2016 –
Bee and Flower’s back story
I never have a “next” concept I want to work on when I’m focused on a current work and Bee and Flower was no different. As I finished up the previous picture I probably went through a dozen ideas both in my head and through various sketches, but I eventually knew I wanted to paint a realistic flower. Something with lots of detail and bright color. Being both right and left brained I often look for complex beauty and that’s how I approached my search. After settling on the yellow gerbera flower, a type of daisy native to South America, Asia, and Africa, and starting the intricate sketching I had plenty of time to think about the intensity of the color and the direction of the perceived light. The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of bright light against a dark background. That eventually morphed into stark light against a deep night sky. As the sketching continued the idea of a bee started forming. Encaustic artists often include bees in their pieces because of the beeswax medium. Now the flower shifts from center stage to landing platform. So I started sketching with the idea of a very carefully executed bee with gossamer wings. The sketching was quick and minimal because I knew the beauty would come through the painting process and addition of mixed colors on the bee and the detail of the coat and especially the eye. I painted the bee first spending extra time on the legs. With the flower I tried to carefully mimic actual petals at first. After I got the feel and shape in my head and hand I just took off on my own. Once the flower and bee were done came the long and repetitive process of filling in the background. I wanted this painting to shimmer as light played across its surface so I came up with the idea of carefully painting in lines from the center of the flower out to the edges. Line after line I painted over a four-day period. Depending on the varying heat of my stylus tip and the humidity some areas came out more textural than others but the effect was worth it. This painting must be held and moved in the light to see that shimmering, radiating play of light. It is exciting and satisfying as an artist to conceive of an idea and then create it for others to see.