So as the summer draws to a close and autumn slaps us in the face, I've been thinking about the bees and insects and their continuing plight, which is made even harder as conditions harshen.
In the lead up to this exhibition I had done some swatting up on bees and the problems they (and all insects) face, and how we can help. I'm even taking steps to make my garden more bee and butterfly friendly. If you want any tips, just ask me!
So I've learnt a fascinating fact or two about the bees, and I can even identify (at very close range) the odd species. However, I can't claim to have studied the bees and butterflies in half as much detail as award-winning artist Jenny Matthews.
This is a great photo of Jenny visiting the hives at Edinburgh University's King Buildings. Jenny explains that a beekeepers suit does not actually prevent you from being stung - only from being stung to death. Reasuring I know, but surely there's a bit of a design flaw there. Still, I suppose we must all suffer for our art!
Indeed, such was the committment of Jenny Matthews to this exhibition that her husband, Pierre, tells me that she adopted unusual behavoiral patterns such as dashing off in mid conversation having spotted a particular butterfly or bee. The following photos show Jenny researching and hard at work:
In the Pentlands, and:
In the Botanic Gardens.
So basically, Jenny Matthews spent her summer throwing herself into this project and I am very grateful to her, as I am to all the artists who have contributed to the exhibition. The results of her work are outstanding, and this shows:
'Insect Observations: Summer 2011', watercolour, by Jenny Matthews.
What a stunning painting this is!
The feedback on this exhibition has been extraordinary and very encouraging, and so far we have raised £700 for The Bumblebee Conservation Trust. This is great news and proves that, even in these difficult times, it is still important to give something back where you can, especially as all charities are struggling just now.
I will end by wishing you all a happy weekend and, if you're very, very lucky, next time I will share with you some of the secrets behind my favourite Jenny Matthews painting to date:
'Skep Needle Book', acrylic on canvas, by Jenny Matthews.