Tuesday, 6 December 2016

'Beautiful British Bees' - Microscopy Art Workshop with Cath Hodsman

We all know bees are amazing pollinators,  and part of the lifeblood of our planet, but, did you know  for instance that worker honey bees are really so cute and fluffy close up? And that they  have been trained to 'sniff' out drugs and explosives more quickly than dogs? They are simply, amazing!

Cath Hodsman is a nationally acclaimed wildlife artist, who's specialty is bugs! (Entomology for my posh readers :) )  I had an amazing time last week, first, learning many new and fascinating facts about the honey bee, and then studying, and drawing them under the microscope, using Cath's expertise and knowledge to guide me.

For someone like me, who's passionate about nature, art and detail, this was a truly wonderful experience!

Here's my Worker honey bee, outside hind leg x 15 magnification.


It's incredible when the teeny tiny little thing on your slide suddenly becomes this  huge, amazingly detailed furry limb!

Cath explained how to actually take a photo through the microscope itself. (This is not a great shot as it's really hard to do, you can hardly breathe;  but, it gives an idea of what we were looking at, and some of the incredible detail.)



 Cath suggested we also do a label, which was great fun to play around with after the intensity of using the microscope. I loved using it, but it is an entirely new way to draw, and can initially, cause eye strain.  You must take breaks. We worked in graphite and colour pencil on hot press watercolour paper,  building up layers after laying the initial foundation drawing.

Cath explaining something - opposite  my workstation with microscope and slides!

For anyone worrying, all Cath's 'subjects' are natural bee deaths and very reverently preserved and looked after. She's a passionate conservationist and a lady after my own heart! There was a lot of fun and laughter during the day.


                Fellow students at the University of Bristol Botanic Garden, enjoying our day.


Here are a couple of examples of Cath's work, please visit her website to see more of her beautiful art.

I thoroughly recommend her workshops. The knowledge I gained will help me in my nature art journaling, and, in helping to save our precious bees!