Focusing on the Difference

Eye of the Beeholder by Karen Wheeler

Eye of the Bee Holder

Sometimes I like to make up little projects to challenge myself. I became interested in Art Cards, which are the size of a baseball card and artists trade and sell these tiny originals. I thought painting smaller would be easier for me, but I was wrong. Working that small was pretty tough on my eyes, and it’s much harder to do my kind of detail. My original plan was to create one art card a month, but I ended up making only 4 cards total.

So, this is how I started my project. I thought about weird topics or sayings, like “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. Then I play with the words in my head and decide to change “beholder” to “bee holder”, which alters the entire direction of the image. I entertained the idea of what a bee holder would look like and what the size and nature of the bee would be. Would it be calm like a pet, or too wild to contain and wanting to sting people? I liked the idea of it being a pet.

I wanted someone special to be holding the bee – but who? I decided to use the likeness of Ozzy Osbourne. I love Ozzy, and his personality would make him the perfect “bee holder”. Since I wanted the whole title to be “Eye of the Bee Holder” I had to think of how I wanted to present Ozzy’s image and his eyes. I decided to close one of his eyes to make it look like he was winking and that would relate to using the singular version of “eye” as suggested in the title.

Just for an added challenge I used a very limited palette. I tried to keep Ozzy in cooler colors and the bee in warmer colors so they could play off each other.

Several years later I went to Ozzy’s book signing and decided to bring him the art card. It was great to meet him and he really liked it. He was showing it to all of his staff. He’s a great person!

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