These bees are very quick to paint but require focus and good timing, though that may just be the definition of this kind of wet and loose watercolour painting. To keep the darker areas from swamping the yellow areas of the body I start by painting it paler, with a mix of burnt sienna and ultramarine blue, and, at this point, not too sopping wet; once dry I use a deeper tone to find the negative shapes of the legs and describe some of the hairiness of the bees body. If I start losing the yellow areas I’ll dump in more wet cadmium yellow; it’s a wonderful opaque bully of a pigment which pushes other paint out of its way. The wings are painted very pale and very thinly to keep their transparency and the fine veins are painted with a small sword brush

The ever loved and lovely bumblebee makes an earlier start to the day than it’s cousin the honey bee, puts up with worse weather, and goes to bed later, so there is much to thank it for. It is threatened by the use of neonicotinoids, an insecticide developed by Monsanto, the chemical giant, and despite valiant efforts on the part of pressure groups, and some success in getting governments to place moratoriums on its use, the lobby of agro-chemical business won’t take no for an answer, and all bees are consequently struggling and threatened. To support the ban add your name to the petition here


10 thoughts on “Bumblebees

  1. Pingback: Exercise Bee | Stuff and Nonsense

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