This November, acclaimed Cornwall-based artist Catherine Hyde will use her biannual solo exhibition at Lighthouse Gallery in Penzance to highlight the plight of the buff-tailed bumblebee.

Catherine Hyde
Catherine Hyde

With all the power and erudition of an accomplished visual storyteller, in ‘The Golden Hours’ Catherine will take gallery visitors on a journey through the seasons, celebrating the richness of the natural world as we stand on the cusp of the darkest months.

The captivating collection of paintings follows the life-cycle of a queen bumblebee as she hibernates through the winter, before emerging in the spring to find nectar and begin the search for a suitable nesting site.

Like the whole of the insect population in the UK, bumblebees are in drastic decline, a situation which could have dire consequences for both wildlife and people.

Raising awareness of this issue, and encouraging people to take action by considering bee-friendly planting in their gardens and outdoor spaces, is something Catherine is passionate about, saying: “I’ve done a lot of research on the decline of pollinators and it is quite a scary scenario we’re heading for. During spring 2020, when life stood still during that first lockdown, I found the natural world louder and more beautiful than ever in the space vacated by human activity. During that time I began this body of work – my own creative effort to encourage people to engage with the issue.”

The paintings feature in her new book – The Bee & The Sun – which accompanies the exhibition and is the companion book to The Hare & The Moon, both of which are published by Zephyr, an imprint of Head of Zeus Ltd.

The Bee and the Sun
Catherine’s new book, The Bee and The Sun

In the book, each month of the year is illustrated with a bee in various stages of the cycle as Catherine introduces a plethora of bee-friendly medicinal herbs and plants; it’s great inspiration for gardeners keen to use their green fingers to support the pollinating insect population.

Catherine recalls: “Some of my earliest memories are of my mother’s garden, a paradise of herbs and flowers and the buzzing of bees and insects. I find the glorious aromas of freshly picked mint, rosemary and oregano powerfully nostalgic and it fills me with pleasure to gather them now from my own wildflower garden.”

Catherine studied Fine Art Painting at Central School of Art in London where she began honing her style of atmospheric and symbolic landscape paintings, enlivened by flakes of mica and inlaid with gold and copper leaf.

She has been showing her work with the Lighthouse Gallery for over 15 years; first opened in the Spring of 2003, this spacious light-filled gallery on Causewayhead is one of the most respected treasure-troves of art in Cornwall.

The Hare and The Moon, Catherine Hyde

For gallery Co-Founder Tracey Spry, a Catherine Hyde show is an eagerly anticipated event: “Catherine’s work has an extremely loyal following and it’s not hard to see why. Her paintings have a special magic – an irresistible allure. We know collectors are eagerly awaiting the arrival of this new body of work.”

Catherine Hyde’s solo exhibition can be seen at Lighthouse Gallery between 6th – 20th November – prospective purchasers are recommended to join the gallery’s mailing list beforehand for updates.

Signed copies of The Bee and The Sun will also be available; to find out more, visit www.lighthouse-gallery.com.

Solo exhibition highlights the plight of the bumblebee

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