Royalty, dominant and vital, she's unique in her hive, her perfume bewitching admirers who swarm around her, she's the Queen. (Bee)
Continuing my folklore series of prints, here's Queen Bee. The spirit of the hive she reigns with her pheromones which control the drones and worker bees to feed, care and mate. Until, that is her purpose is fulfilled and she is replaced by a younger more reproductive female.
This one has a bit of a message behind it – I am very interested in conservation issues and so like a few of my illustrations has another point of inspiration. Bees are essential to the survival of our planet and faced with so many challenges it is more important than ever that they are encouraged and protected. The Varroa destructor parasitic mite is destroying colonies across the globe. That along with the threats faced by bees from the increasingly unpredictable weather systems and habitat loss causing an alarming rate of Colony Collapse Disorder. Many native and wild bee species are more specialist when it comes to which plants they can feed from and so are really feeling the effect of habitat loss, with many species in decline or even disappearing all together.
Here are some close ups
Here's my illustrated portrait for the cover of POLITICO. It depicts Pierre Sellal, France's veteran ambassador to the European Union. The piece is a dedicated appraisal of Sellal – a top diplomat that France has relied on to keep everything operating smoothly within the EU. He is the man in the know and has for many years been the go to guy for french politicians who needed help with a European issue. He is however approaching retirement and the question is when he does stand down, what kind of ambassador will France put in his place? It would be hard to replace a like for like diplomat, or would a more modern representative than Sellal be better for a European Union that finds itself trying it's best to hold together, whilst so many would tear it apart.
I suggested that we depict Sellal in a very strong light wrapped in the Tricolor and what better way to show reverence to the great protector of France than in a statuesque pose set within a stained glass window? Inspired by many visits to Carcassonne in the past I felt that would be a great way to pay homage to the career of a man dedicated to his protection of France.
The use of stained glass also gave me the opportunity to seamlessly put in the french references that tie it all together.
Leaves turn and start to fall, the light gets warm and low, as cold winds start to blow, nature prepares for the finalé of another year, Autumn is here.
This is the first in my folklore series of prints, inspired by spirits, superstitions and myths – stories of wisps in the forest and the queen of the bees. This one tells the tale of Autumn's Song, changing the season and moving the year to it's end, with a chill in the air the wild world prepares to face the harsh winter that approaches.
It was really nice to hear BBC 6Music's Mary Anne Hobbs mention it on her show one weekend – she called it a gorgeous, absolutely exquisite illustration! Thanks Mary Anne.
This will be available as a limited run giclée print when I finish setting up my web store. Check back soon or follow me on twitter/instagram to be updated as to when it's available. In the mean time here are some detail shots...