Thursday, September 3, 2009

I stepped on a wasp

Nightfall Cherrywood
acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009
(I often take my photos at night when the work
is completed. I've noticed that if I retake
the shot outside in daylight it's a
whole different image. I hope you still like it. I do.)

Hi everyone,

I was all excited by my yellow jacket experiment. I was
thinking about my mother who trained as a bacteriologist
and maintains a healthy curiosity and respect for
how nature works to this day. Her conversations so
frequently begin with how interesting it is that
a certain animal behaves in a certain way, or how
people don't realize x or y. So today between
getting paint at the paint store, blowing up
reference shots at the copy shop, and painting,
I put out two new bowls of sugar water for the
wasps to see which they preferred. The clear or the
blue? Guess what? They loved the blue. But that
was my second blue glass bowl of sugar water
because the first spilled all over the kitchen and
that made me clean the kitchen floor.

I was still high spirited taking the sugar water
soaked doormat down to the laundry room, and
cleaning it off, and still cheerful when I took it out to lie
on the hot interlock paving behind our house to dry,
but as I stepped over the wasps on the downstairs
outdoor landing in my bare feet, I stepped on a wasp,
and may I say that still hurts.

My curiosity was entirely satisfied then. I
sat on the front porch painting the scene you
see here during the creeping dusk praying no one
in my neighbourhood would see me because I
was trying not to cry! That wasp sting hurt!
And many people walked by at the uncharacteristic
hour. The street was like a party of people
all noticing me painting, and asking questions.
Meanwhile my foot hurt like the dickens, and
as soon as Steven came home, I went inside with
him and I did cry a bit. He cleaned my foot,
dug around with tweezers trying to find the
stinger, put some anti-sting ointment on it,
and we drank a little champagne
we found in the fridge. I do feel much better now.

And I like the painting I did as the late summer
sun was setting.

Have a-happy-to-experiment day.


Maike Josupeit said...

Oh, I feel with you.Hope you are better now, nice work, the strong color make me happy.

Elizabeth Seaver said...

Aren't you lucky to have painting to distract you while you awaited medical care?!

I love the painting, Barbara. The colors are stunning and lush.

Tammy Hext said...

You are one tough cookie, painting while nursing a wasp sting. You got a great painting with despite the sting. Good for you!

painterchum said...

Nice painting Barbara,it's a lovely mosaic of gayity despite your painful wasp encounter. Hope you are feeling better today.

Catherine Jeffrey said...

I can totally sympathize with you. Unless you have stepped on a wasp, you have NO IDEA how much it hurts!!! I did the same thing a couple of years ago and it hurt so much. Its shocking, because your mind is not expecting that much pain. (Of course, I didn't find champagne hiding in the big IS your fridge? ha!)
I am loving these house scenes. I am partial to architecture and street scenes, and these wonderfully bright colourful pictures speak to me in a delightful way.

Chris said...

oh man, wasp stings are intense. Especially if you step on one cause the lower limbs swell up. But, out of your pain came a fabulous creation. good for you.

Mitzi Easley said...

Great color Barbara... yours are the paintings that reveal something new every day. Sorry about your foot - there's almost nothing that pushing some paint, sipping some champers, and a good husband won't help!

julie davis said...

Ouch! I'm afraid I wouldn't have lasted as long as you before finding my husband and the bubbly. This is a striking painting, so full of color and nicely composed.

Barbara M. said...

Hi Maike,

Thanks for your kind words. It is much better today. I'm glad you like the painting.

Take care,


Barbara M. said...

Hi Elizabeth,

It was good to keep painting. I'm so glad you like the painting. I do too. I'm trying to figure out how to
set up on the opposite side of the street without disturbing anyone.

Take care,


floramary said...

O Barbara! I know how much that hurts because I too stepped on a wasp when I was pregnant and although that was MANY years ago, I can still remember being shocked by the amount of pain!!
Ice will help too!
Gorgeous painting

Barbara M. said...

Hi Tammy,
Painting unless I can't hold a brush, is pretty much the given these days. I've never felt this way before, so I'm really enjoying the feeling.

Take care, and thank you so much,


Barbara M. said...

Hi Sally,

It still does hurt, but not to the crybaby extent. I'm so glad you like the painting. That means a lot to me.

Take care,


Barbara M. said...

Hi Catherine,

I hadn't been to your blog for it seems like a minute, and there are so many fantastic paintings. I love your street scenes too, and the drinks with the masters need to be turned into ads for the L.C.B.O. right away and they need to pay you millions of dollars!!!!!

You are right about the wasp sting. Yow! It still hurts like something tragic happened to my foot.

We have so many parties, art shows, and celebrations here, and we're not big drinkers, that there's often a little champagne kicking around in our completely normal size fridge. It's my favorite drink -- especially Veuve Cliquot. We bought ours the night before the threatened L.C.B.O. strike, then they didn't go on strike. It was so funny at the store, because all of Toronto was madly buying alcohol and they were almost out of everything.

Take care,

Love your work.


Barbara M. said...

Hi Chris,

I'm happy that you like it. I hope the painting came from the part of me that wasn't in pain.

Take care,


Barbara M. said...

Hi Mitzi,

Thanks so much. I wish I'd got to the husband and the champers a bit faster! I'm glad you like this painting.

Take care,


Barbara M. said...

Hi Flora,

I did put ice on it last night, and it did help a bit, but it is still really hurting. Yikes. It's much better than yesterday though.

Ya see, even after labour, the thing you remember is the wasp sting. I feel vindicated for being a crybaby.


Barbara M. said...

Hi Julie,

Sorry I missed you there. Thanks so much. You are right about getting to the husband and bubbly faster. Tip for next time, although I hope there never is a next wasp sting. As for more husband and champers -- I'm all for that.


LeSan said...

You poor dear! I had been swarmed and attacked by the blasted things once. I was walking the dog in a field which faced a main roadway. The wasps had gotten up my pants and inside my shirt. I stripped down right there without a second thought to the display I was putting on. ouch...for everyone involved.
It's a great painting!
Now you can truly say you suffer for your art.

Barbara M. said...

Hi LeSan,

I wasn't swarmed, I just stepped on one. Poor you. I didn't suffer for my art, I suffered because of my silly experiment. But as we speak the wasps are drinking from the little glass bowls of sugar water on my back porch railing. Apparently they eat a lot of insects, and eat maggots and devour carion. They serve a purpose, as I suspected.

I suffered because I stupidly went outside in my bare feet in high wasp season. (At the end of the summer they are looking for a high sugar content, which is why perfume attracts them, it makes them think we are fruit!!!).

The art was my saving grace. So are you.


Take care,


eldon warren said...

You are totally funny. And I'm happy you found something in the fridge to make it all better. :)

Barbara M. said...

Hi Eldon,

I guess a house should always have champagne like the women on the British TV show Abdolutely Fabulous with a whole fridge full. I would have a fridge full of Veuve Cliquot, which is funny because I can never drink more than one glass without getting tipsy. I am the cheapest date in the country!

Take care,


Portrait Artist

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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I paint and draw on commission and for shows. To commission a portrait, or purchase one of my paintings please contact me at:
A major highlight in my career? Drawing Oprah Winfrey live via Skype for her show "Where in the Skype are you? Galleries: Studio Vogue Gallery, Toronto, Canada. The Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, New York City. Gallery at the Porch Door, Kingston, Canada. Your positive comments on this blog mean the world to me. I'd love to hear from you!