'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Hanging my Art. - your opinion requested!

Some of the work I have recently completed:

Close-up of above.

Who a bee interacts with in a swarm (discovered only to be about 5 neighbours):

Varroa bee mite

Scouting and collecting behaviour of bees:

Rules when swarming:

Google search results for 'honey bee':

Umwelts (Other Worlds):

Dance patterns:

Well, you all did a brilliant job of confiding in me your insect likes and dislikes a few months ago.
As you can see from the above art, I settled on honey bees to be the focus of my research and have been busy as the proverbial, and am nearly there, despite migrainus interruptus.

But, here is another request from me folks.
It's time to hang my art work for the end of year examination. But how should it look?
So you know what it's about, it is, briefly, more about the ways we know bees (science, childhood memories, instinct eg. love of honey, etc, etc.) than what we know about them. Although the 'what' is linked of course to how we found it out... Got that? Never mind.*

I have devised a way of mocking up a little gallery (you can go to the last image to see what it really looks like) so I can try out arrangements of placement.

Would you tell me which one(s) you prefer? They are numbered. It would be great if you could say why too. Thank you!

Notes: a. You can assume all pieces are to be hung perfectly straight.
b. the 'head with bee' is probably the pivotal piece of the group.
c. This is not a 'series' so much as a single 'work'. The only way I can think of to make it so, is to hang them very close together. But if you have another suggestion, please offer it!
d. Please make all comments in safety! I welcome all, no matter how 'way out'. A wacky or unusual suggestion may spark another idea for me or someone else.
e. If you would rather not go public, please don't let that stop you. Just email me.
f. If you don't like any of these hanging formations, but can describe another idea, please do.
g. Many of the pieces have writing on them. That's the main reason I can't go too high. (Most of the work invites close inspection).
h. The 'floorboards' are drawn to scale and are a metre (3 feet) wide.
i. All the images should be clickable if required.

11. (This next one has removed the black works completely.)


*If you are really interested, my project abstract is:

The Umwelt of the bee.
This project asks what is the 'Umwelt' (Other World) of the bee and explores Jakob von Uexküll's theory that each species on Earth effectively inhabits a different subjective universe based upon its needs and senses - its biosemiotic interpretation of the world.

It seeks to invite the viewer to reflect on their relationship with bees.

Using drawing-based art media, and by means of contrasts between figurative images, quasi-scientific visual conventions, and abstraction,
this project attempts to meld this theory with objective methodologies of science, and uses the combination to peek into the hive.

PS. This way of making a decision is the same way that bees make their decisions: By lots of individuals 'voting'. This method is therefore also part of the research project!


  1. Don't forget, if you click on an image, it is much easier to see...

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Elizabeth - Thank you for your compliments. This is the first information about this work I have shared with internet friends so please do not consider you are at a disadvantage.

  4. I prefer either #4 or #9, but don't ask me why because I don't know. Also, I understood very little of what you wrote in this post. But I'm sure that's just me.

    I did have one wacky idea. If you made a whole wall (or large portion thereof) look like the painting "Google search results for 'honey bee'", you could put the paintings in the places where the bees are (more or less, because there are about 17 bees in the painting and about 21 of your paintings in all), and connect them by the same lines or branches or whatever they are. Then people in the gallery might understand how bee-like we humans are.

    I know, I am brilliant.

    Either that or astoundingly stupid.

  5. My spontaneous reaction is this: If I walked into an art gallery and saw the exhibition from a distance, No 3 or 5 are the kinds of hangings that would attract me most, without having a clue what the paitings would turn out to be about. This because of a balance in the total shape of the hanging, and the distribution within it of dark vs light paintings. (The dark ones evenly spread out rather than forming a cluster of their own.) Of the hangings with the top paintings in a straight line I like No 8 best. No 11 is interesting as well though because it is slightly disturbing with the two pieces on the floor (makes one wonder why).

    I had to laugh a little when I came to this post and question, because I've spent the last week rearranging things on my own walls, after bringing home a few inherited items after my parents and grandparents, and trying to mix those in with what I already had. Hanging pictures can really be a headache. (I'm not sure I'm quite done yet!)

    I've come to a conclusion that I like paintings to be in eye-level to get a good view of them. A general sense of balance of shapes and colours and motifs is important to me and on the whole I think I like clusters better than things just lined up.

    But with a temporary exhibition of course one can want to achieve other impressions than in one's own home.

    As for the bees the project reminds me of a book I read as a child, I think it was one my dad had kept from his childhood... About a boy who became small as a bee and went to live in a beehive.

    Good luck!

  6. I prefer Number 5. Why? because together the pieces are more suggestive of a moving swarm of bees than I think any of the other arrangements. Number 5 has less straight edges and the outer edges appear more "rounded" as the pieces cluster near the centre of the wall - like bees seeking the security of the swarm.

  7. A bit out of my league I'm afraid, but that doesn't stop me! I've never been much of an art fan, probably as I have always understood very little,but I certainly like your work here and love the overall concept. Maybe it's the scientist, or bee-fan, in me coming out but the idea of a subjective universe hits home with me.
    I prefer 2 or 5, basically for the same reason as YP - great minds and all that .... - the way the works are shaped seem to represent order from chaos, in much the same way bees do - for me! Some of the others are too disciplined for my mind - OK for ants maybe, but not for bees!

  8. Thank you all, thus far!

  9. Anonymous28.10.11

    For me, definitely no.5. My eye is led from painting to painting in a seamless fashion:no pre-ordained start or finish. I would probably prefer a little more space between works to capture more of their individuality.

  10. It's #3 or #5 for me too and I don't know why either. I guess I just like clumps of stuff.

  11. Thank you to everyone who posted their opinion on this. The exhibition is now done and dusted and I received some significant and welcome comments from my examiners as to my competency.
    I have passed this part of the course. Yay!


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