The Beekeeper series explores the different facets of the beekeeping industry, from the honey harvest to monoculture pollination to fighting the diseases that threaten our complex relationship with the honeybee and the very existence of the insect. Each painting deals with a unique aspect of the industry and maintains an accuracy to detail specific to the act that is taking place. Yet, the overall image resides far beyond a mere survey of an industry. Instead, a process as routine as the pollination of an almond orchard becomes a chimerical act that will question the viewer's understanding of what is normal and what is abnormal in our relationship to the natural world.
American foulbrood (AFB), caused by the spore- forming Paenibacillus larvae ssp. larvae (formerly classified as Bacillus larvae), is the most widespread and destructive of the bee brood diseases. Because of the persistence of the spores (which can survive up to 40 years), many State Apiary Inspectors require an AFB diseased hive to be burned completely. - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_foulbrood
Monoculture Pollination- (Almond Crop) "Without bees, an acre of the trees will produce 400 pounds of almonds. Bees increase the yield to 2,400 pounds or more per acre. The California orchards are a hotbed for spreading honeybee diseases. The Asian Varroa mite, which weakens bees and makes them susceptible to diseases, was unknown in Colorado before the mid-1990s. The annual mingling of billions of honeybees has aided and sped the spread of mites to every part of the U.S. Nosema ceranae is another exotic bee disease spreading quickly. … Pesticides are known bee killers. Recently researchers began taking a closer look at fungicides, which growers spray on the flowering almonds". - http://www.postindependent.com/news/obituaries/9545208-113/bees-california-hives-johnston
The paintings of this series were created from observation (models and props), personal photographic references, in-depth research and imagination. Several of the overall compositions and color schemes were inspired specifically from Velazquez's paintings "The Surrender of Breda" and "The Triumph of Bacchus."
oil on canvas, diptych, 84"x120", 2012-2014
oil on canvas, 64"x80", 2012
oil on canvas, 72"x84", 2012
American Foulbrood 2
oil on canvas, 50"x52", 2012
60"x84", oil on canvas, 2012
oil on canvas, 44"x64", 2012
oil on canvas, 28"x28", 2012
scale reference for Almond Bloom
detail of Almond Bloom