Thursday, October 16, 2008

Oct 16 - Bees and Starting a 24 x 36 inch Landscape

I'm sitting here "licking my wounds" so to speak, after disturbing a beehive while working on the trails behind our house this evening. It started out as an ordinary, good evening ride, taking the mare and going up over the mountains on the newest trail. I stopped to let the horse catch her breath at one of the high points, and looked up to see a coyote watching me with distant interest. He turned and disappeared, so I continued down the mountain.
As is my tendency, I decided to take a different route back, picking my way through some brush and grassy areas and finding a potentially new trail. When the brush got thicker, I dismounted and had the mare follow me while I broke away some of the larger branches. It was hot, sweaty work on a 90 degree afternoon, and I was enjoying the labor when the mare began stomping her back feet and shifting herself around, obviously bothered by something. I thought at first that she'd just mis-stepped on some of the brush, when I saw, and then heard the buzzing.... ACK! BEES!
The mare brushed by me and took off at a dead run, and I let her go, knowing she'd head home. Me, I lept up off the trail straight down the mountain, with buzzing and stinging letting me know I was in for a good fight. Flapping my hat, jumping brush, I catapulted down the hill like a ungainly springbok, until I hit the sagebrush at the bottom, about 300 feet below. There I rolled and spun away from them, because bees will follow the scent of the ones that have stung. So I knew I had to break the scent trail, and then deal with the ones that were on me. The more recent introduction of the nortorious "killer" bees kept me moving as fast as I could to get away, because I didn't know if these were the ones that follow for up to a quarter mile. I know I kept moving and ducking to destroy the scent trail on the air, adrenalin rushing through me and a high keening wail coming from my throat as the panic of my situation settled in.
I kept moving, heading toward home, picking and swatting the remaining attackers, and then stopped, bent over my knees, trying to catch my breath. You ever get so out of breath that your lungs hurt? That was how much exertion I'd expended, and I felt each one of my 60 years as I regrouped and headed for home. Thank goodness I wasn't carrying those extra pounds!
The mare was happy to see me and came up to greet me without bridle, as she had broken the headstall in her panicked flight. I found the bit and reins, and took her inside the gate for a much needed cool bath. She's got extra rations tonight, and I'm headed for the hot tub after I send this. What a ride!

Now, the ART for the day, is the beginning of one of the bigger canvases--this one is 24 x 36, and is started from one of the reference shots I took at Hawley Lake (below). Although there were cows in the image, I'm going to replace/morph them into horses--the Apache broomtails, most likely. I am undecided at this point and welcome any breed suggestions, though.

The underpainting is done with Austrailian Red Gold and Quinacradone Violet--just some warm colors that have dried. They will not lift into the future paint layers. What you see here is the abstract structure of the design. Yes, it is familiar--the misty morning horses in pasture painting of a couple weeks ago has a similar composition. Why change it if it ain't broke? I do need to experiment further with this composition, and my source lends itself well to the design.

More tomorrow... ewwww, just found another stinger!

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Randy Smith said...

Yikes! Glad you're OK. Take care!

Eric Ballard said...

Wow! I hate bees so much. I can't even to begin to imagine how you felt running down that hill. I am glad you are ok.