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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Research for Better Paintings

'Plight of the Bumblebees'          18x24         pastel        ©Karen Margulis
available $500
I had a concept in mind. I wanted to paint a meadow and fill it with bees. But I was leaning towards an early morning sky instead of a bright blue-sky day.  I picture bees buzzing around flowers on a warm summer day so I wasn't sure if my concept would be a believable scenario. Do bees pollinate at dusk or sunrise or early morning or cloudy days? I obviously didn't know enough about bees and I didn't want to put bees into the wrong environment or conditions.

For paintings to be authentic and feel right they need to be true to real life.

Sure, we can get away with a lot when painting. After all we are the artists and can do whatever we want. But sometimes understanding the science and natural history behind a scene can  help make the painting better.

So I did a little research and asked Google if bees pollinated during overcast conditions or early morning. You learn something everyday and I learned that BUMBLEBEES do pollinate under many more conditions than honeybees. They are active at 40 degrees F and will pollinate early in the morning and later into the day as well as on cloudy, overcast , windy and even rainy days!  They are larger and carry more pollen and are more efficient than honeybees.

It was interesting information that helped me decide that it would be just fine to put some bumblebees into my early morning meadow. 

Oil stain underpainting on Uart 500 grade paper

close-up of the bumblebees

 It was a valuable lesson. Not just in learning about the difference between bumblebees and honeybees but it reinforced the importance of really knowing the landscape. To paint the truth we must know what is true.


Carol Schiff said...

This is one of my favorites of your paintings. Such a charming way to view the world and a great reminder to really stop and observe our surroundings.

Serviced Apartments London Lady said...

I love these paintings and it's so interesting to hear more about the process, it makes sense that learning more about the landscape would positively influence your artistry.