Bumble bees pollinate many of our food crops, making them among our most important pollinators. In this image, Common Eastern Bumble Bees are foraging for pollen and nectar from one of Ontario's last autumn flowering plants, the New England Aster.
"Late Autumn Forage", Bombus impatiens (Common Eastern Bumble Bee)
feeding on Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England Aster),
© Suzanne Matheson, 2018
As a new member of the Botanical Artists of Canada, I entered two sketchbook pieces in the BAC 2017 Online Exhibition. New to the world of botanical art, this is a very exciting first step into aesthetically pleasing, while scientifically accurate nature art!
I invite you to peruse the various lovely works at BAC Exhibition.
Would you like to vote for your favourite painting? Click on the entries to enlarge them. Once you have discovered your favourite, make note of the artist's name & the title of their piece. Click on the "Vote here your favorite painting" button to enter your selection.
Note: Voting is open until January 6, 2018.
A corm, composed of dense stem tissue and wrapped in papery leaf bases, is the underground storage structure of some plants. This is the corm of Arisaema atrorubens (Woodland Jack-in-the-pulpit) as it appeared to me after the fruit had ripened.
All parts of Jack-in-the-pulpit contain calcium oxalate crystals. If ingested raw, these crystals are capable of mechanically injuring your mouth, throat and kidneys. To safely eat the corm, as flour or like chips, it must be dried thoroughly or sufficiently cooked.
As a medicinal herb, the raw corm can be pounded into a poultice. This irritating, yet healing poultice can then be applied to rheumatic joints.
I have enjoyed the process of working with Faber-Castell polychromos colored pencils on Stillman & Birn Zeta paper. This strong paper is great for saturation and fine detail. It cleans up well, withstanding erasure with no visible compromise. Offering series of papers within sketchbooks, along with matching sheet papers, Stillman & Birn gives artists a consistency throughout the process of working toward a finished piece. Given my experience so far with this paper, it is a definite consideration for my "Art of the Plant" Exhibition entry!
Below is a scanned digital copy of the finished fruit, mature Jack-in-the-pulpit, species Arisaema atrorubens. Unfortunately, my scanner doesn't pick up the orange reds, nor the deeper colours I used in the shadow areas, so this image does lack the innate depth of the original. Note: variations of the floral parts can be found here.
The "Art of the Plant" Exhibition will be Canada's contribution to the larger exhibition, "Botanical Art Worldwide". "Art of the Plant" will open in Ottawa May 10, 2018, followed by the official "Worldwide Day of Botanical Art" on May 18, 2018. Exhibitions will remain open for several months. Follow the links to discover the details.
While the colours of these two Jack-in-the-pulpit flowers are quite different, they are of the same species, Arisaema atrorubens, otherwise known as Woodland Jack-in-the-pulpit. Under the umbrella of A. triphyllum, it is up for debate whether or not to consider Woodland Jack as simply a variety or a separate species. Two 3-part leaves as opposed to one is its main distinguishing characteristic.
Woodland Jack grows throughout Southwestern Ontario in woods and swamps. The flowers grow at the base of the boy part, called a spadix, which stands hidden beneath a leaf-like bract, called a spathe. The fruit of Jack grows in a club-like or egg-shaped bunch, deep green through the summer, then bright orange-red as the nights turn cool.
The only edible part of Jack-in-the-pulpit is the corm, an underground storage structure from which the roots sprout. Dangerous to eat raw, due to the presence of calcium oxalate crystals, once thoroughly dried it can be ground into flour or thinly sliced like potato chips.
This story tracks the life of a young Pileated Woodpecker family living in a Beech-Maple forest of Southwestern Ontario.
Recalling the brood, first observed in late May 2016, there were always only two nestlings peering out of the tree. Early on, I saw the mother fly away with something quite large and round in her bill. Was it perhaps a nestling who did not make it? In contrast to this, on June 12th, while the two were quite content to remain where they were, I heard a strong and clear, yet slightly weaker, version of the parents' call, coming from somewhere close to the nest. Following the sound, about 15 feet off the ground I discovered a little one clinging to an adjacent tree. Had this one fallen out prematurely, or was she stronger, with an accelerated development? The next day I observed her high up in a different tree not far from the first. Could she fly?
This painting portrays the fledgling that I observed clinging to a tree trunk near the nest on June 12, 2016. In between vigorous calls of "cuk-cuk-cuk-cuk-cuk", she would groom and stretch out her wings. The parents would answer her calls, then, arrive with sustenance.
The completion of "Fledgling" was interrupted.
As an enthusiastic student of the natural world, I share my explorations of all that is wild with all of you — teacher, parent, and child!