Tame Your Bees


14″ W x 11″ H

Acrylic on wood

This painting is part of a creative collaboration series involving the gathering of testimonies from  individuals who have, or still are, enduring some sort of neurological challenge. Each piece of art represents a person’s description of how their cognitive impairment feels and affects their ability to thrive and connect to the world around them.  Creating art in response to these stories is my way of advocating and coming alongside each, giving a voice and platform for sharing such personal experiences, knowing they can validate and encourage so many who have experienced the same, or provide a valuable resource for further study and treatment.

This painting was in response to an interview with a friend courageously sharing his experience living with Huntington’s Disease which has caused mood changes, social aggression, scattered thoughts and progressive memory loss among other things. The imagery of a bee hive came to me as a symbol of his experience. Perhaps, because I had read an article on bees and their brain patterns. I developed the bee hive with neuron like qualities, the center representing the cell body of a neuron as much as the core of a hive and the branches looking like axoms and dendrites reaching out. I had also just learned about memory coding… a new scientific discovery, and how it is possible to create visual patterns of memory neurons firing. The blue and yellow rectangles represent this memory coding, though painted scattered and overlapping instead of straightforward to reference the confusion and difficulty recalling information.

When mentioned how thoughts and emotions are often unpredictable and hard to control, I connected that with the sting of a bee and how bees can seem to come out of nowhere, aggressive and stinging. I further tied that to the challenge of controlling our thoughts and the encouragement to make honey not war with them. Especially when under stress, all of us can relate to the mood swings and social aggression. Its a challenge to daily control our bees and the knowledge that we can’t do it on our own.

About the Neuron Series

Whenever finding myself in foreign surroundings, I am provoked to create. This doesn’t only have to do with geographical location but also life situations.  This series of paintings has been inspired by the journey my family has walked alongside our daughter who has special needs. In coming to better understand and embrace this reality, I never expected to become so intrigued by the complexity and beauty of the human mind.

I have been amazed to learn that everything we think and feel and do is nearly impossible without the work of neurons and their communication with each other. These neural connections are what make each of us unique. There is an unfathomable complexity in the human mind down to the detail of one miniscule neuron; this I find so very ironic with the reality that we as humans are also only dust.

Further study into the life and death of neurons and the concept of neuro-genesis leaves me amazed and hopeful with the mind’s ability to re-circuit itself in order to overcome inflicted damage.  It has been discovered that even songbirds have the unique ability to lay down neuron pathways in their brains when learning new songs. By changing these songs seasonally, the regeneration of neurons is encouraged.

Through creating this series, I have been reminded that we all have parts of our minds that are untapped and/or in desperate need of healing and redemption. These areas of dysfunction, some more visible than others, require deep restoration. Part of the transformation process is the intentional learning of new ways of thinking and living. What began as a way to understand, cope and hope for the healing of my daughter’s mind, has  developed into a plea for the slumbering areas of my own mind to awake as well, imparting to both of us a new song.