Spending time in the natural environment is soothing to the spirit and studies show that simply gazing at an image of nature can be healing.

During a morning visit to O’Neill Park last spring, I came upon a scene of honeybees collecting pollen from a stand of Matilija poppies. I photographed the bees as I looked up toward the blossoms. The bees competed with each other for space on the yellow-orange poppy stamens. When the bees lifted off, their legs looked overloaded with pollen and almost too heavy to fly.

This summer I began painting pastel compositions from these images. Painting these works was joyful, quick and spontaneous. I layered bold colors to create the shadowy grays, yellows and violets that appeared when morning sunlight reflected on the flower petals of the poppies.

I have recently completed about a dozen pastel paintings in the Bumblebee series. This series is now ready for exhibition. To celebrate the release of this new series, I will donate 15 percent of the sales proceeds to the Xerces Society, a nonprofit group based in the United States that works to protect bee and butterfly populations.

Click below to see a time lapse video of my pastel painting, Honey Bee Mine, from start to finish.

–Elizabeth Wallace

PS–If you love it, don’t wait. There’s only one original!  You can get this one before someone else does by clicking here.