Sleepy Bee. 8.5″x5.5″ on Canson 98 lb. mixed media paper.

Yeah, I skipped a day yesterday. And tonight, I just wasn’t feelin’ a chicken painting. But to keep my practice going, I decided a bee would be fine subject for a quick, 30-minute study. That’s about all the energy I have for tonight. This 30-day painting gig has me not getting enough sleep.

I captured this sleeping long-horned sunflower bee on a California native sneezeweed bloom last summer around 7:30 in the morning. You have to catch them early before they warm up and fly away. They will buzz around in the morning looking for pollen and nectar. As the day heats up, they stop working and take a siesta. These solitary bees will sleep in groups on the flowers; I’ve seen two of them share a flower, and also sleep along the stems. It’s like a slumber party. I love their green eyes and very long antenna (the “horns”). They also have very fuzzy legs to catch pollen. The European honeybee, by contrast, has hairless legs, short antenna, and small brown eyes.

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