Tame Your Bees

2020

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

This body of work began as visual prayers for our daughter with a rare genetic disorder. In my seeking to understand her physical condition and come to terms with the reality presented, I was drawn into the study of neurons and neuro-genesis. I grew intrigued by the beautiful complexity of the human mind and its ability to re-circuit itself around inflicted damage by creating new pathways. So much potential, transformative power and hope resides in these miniscule neurons working in the deepest recesses of our being.

Through creating on my daughter’s behalf, I came to realize that not only I, but all of us, have parts of our minds untapped and/or in desperate need of restoration. Vital to the transformation process is adopting new ways of thinking and living, much like a songbird which has been proven to possess the unique ability of regenerating neural pathways when learning new seasonal songs.

Renewing our minds can begin by heeding the encouragement to take every thought captive. We have the power to reclaim our thought life by practicing the simple, yet profound, discipline of being aware of even the smallest of notions and its influence to either lead us down a pathway of chaos and despair or life-giving peace and hope.

Interested in hearing more about my journey with the neuron series? Then check out this written interview featured in the online magazine, Voyage ATL.