An original 10" x 10" mixed media painting on a cradled wood panel, The Invisible Wings of Bees is part of a collection of work inspired by the poems of Miho Nonaka in her book The Museum of Small Bones.


The painting is from the poem Contained Things which is about relationships. The title of my painting originates from a line in the poem, "I could hear the wings of invisible bees between people." I have heard that myself, the electric tension especially between men and women. I depicted it visually utilizing an obscured image of a woman turning away, a crown of bees on her head, a man from an acupuncture chart also obscured, large illustrations of bees, a 19th century drawing of a man proposing. I employed the image because of it's ambiguity. Is the woman delighted or sad, saying yes or no? Like the poem, we observe and feel deeply but ultimately find the circumstances around us mysterious.


I used circles to emphasize the feeling of containment. In order to underscore the raw feelings in the poem, I utilized rough texture in contrast to the more finished illustrations. I attempted to convey visually what Dr. Nonaka did so well with words, the power of acutely observed invisible connections in an everyday moment.

The Invisible Wings of Bees