Artist Doherty donates bumblebee painting to museum

Story by John Donohoe

Monday, 8th July, 2019 5:37pm

Artist Doherty donates bumblebee painting to museum

The National Museum of Ireland has received a donation from artist Shevaun Doherty of an original artwork produced for the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, a collective effort by 68 governmental and non-governmental organisations to deliver on 81 targets to protect biodiversity, particularly insects that pollinate plants (including crops) across Ireland.
Shevaun Doherty is “inspired by the natural world, using watercolour paints to capture light, colour and texture on paper and vellum in intricate detail. She loves the quiet meditation that painting brings, immersing herself fully in nature. Teaching is her other great passion. It allows her to share her enthusiasm for art and nature with others. She travels regularly to give workshops and enjoys helping students master watercolour techniques.”
The gift is an original painting of the Garden Bumblebee (scientific name Bombus hortorum) on the plant Common Knapweed (‎Centaurea nigra) - a large bumblebee with a very long tongue, which is often held outstretched as the bee approaches a flower. It is one of three species found visiting very deep blooms such as foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) and honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum). The drawing shows this bee feeding on the plant Common Knapweed (‎Centaurea nigra), which is a favourite of the pollinating insects, being a source of good quality nectar. As well as supporting this particular bee species, Knapweed is visited by butterflies and beetles, and its seeds provide food for many birds.
Shevaun Doherty said: “That painting really wouldn't have come about if it hadn't been for the Natural History Museum suggesting that I get involved, and it marked the beginning of an important journey for me, and also for bees in Ireland.”
Nigel Monaghan, Keeper of Natural History notes: “We are delighted to be able to add this artwork to our museum collections. It is wonderful to see how the variety of visitors interact with the varied collections of the National Museum of Ireland. Our collection of more than one million insects has been used by scientists for centuries to map out Irish biodiversity. Now we are seeing Shevaun Doherty’s bees on postage stamps and as symbols of biodiversity protection, all arising from her enthusiasm to study the finest details of bee anatomy to get perfect depictions for her work.”

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