Martha Bull watercolour show inspired by bees

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Creemore artist Martha Bull has created a body of work inspired by bees, now on display at the Collingwood Public Library.

Bull, who works out of Mill Street Art Studio in Creemore and teaches watercolour at the Bay School of Art in Collingwood, has been painting with watercolour since 1983, after attending the Ontario College of Art. She describes her medium of choice as a delightful playground for the adventurous spirit.

Bull said she was offered an opportunity to show work at the library in Collingwood but there would be a tight turnaround. She had about six weeks to produce the body of work.

Having been inspired by bees, Bull said she already had four images completed but need to produce 20 more.

“I worked really hard and it was really fun,” she said, adding that it was the first time she had kept that kind of pace, working everyday on a single project. “It’s kind of an eclectic show, though it is about bees.”

In preparation for the show, Bull said she was doing a lot of research about bees and decided to include fact sheets about the lifecycle, the bees’ daily chores and bees that are trained to detect drugs.

“Bees are really, really cool and very interesting. I certainly didn’t know very much about them before I started the show. As a result, the show is really kid friendly and family friendly,” said Bull.

“Because it was part of my artistic experience to learn more about them because I was reading so much – I am not a beekeeper. I don’t have any intention of doing a bee life – I found it fascinating. I think it’s a nice interactive process for people to get involved in some of the knowledge about bees.”

“Bees and their plight move me,” writes Bull in her artist’s statement. “My interest in bees started with their stunningly beautiful bodies. The more I drew and painted them the more involved I got in their fascinating story. As we all now know, bee survival is threatened by habitat degradation and toxic chemicals used by agribusiness and other industries. Their study has been a joy as well a huge angry sorrow.”

“I have been living and breathing bees now for quite a while and I’m not done with them yet. I have incorporated some mixed media pieces and different substrates as well as some printmaking into the show. It has been a delightful way to work.”

“I hope that you see bees close up as I do when you see the Bee Inspired show.”

Bull said there is an element of personal experimentation in the show, which includes paintings using new watercolour mediums and Yupo paper, a synthetic paper, and some prints.

The show is on display in the library’s FreeSchools World Literacy Room until the end of February. The library is open daily, visit for hours. Many of the small pieces have sold but there are still some available.

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