Wayy back 10 years ago in January, I inked 20 4×4″ illustrations of honeybees in traditional Lithuanian clothing, and then painted them in watercolors in March. I called this series “Avilys”, meaning “beehive” in Lithuanian: a meditation on my feelings about being of Lithuanian descent in America. Bees have a special significance in Lithuanian history, and feature prominently in their language and stories. Each bee is unique and depicts an aspect of culture, food, or history!
Avilys 7: This lovely lady is representing a little older Lithuanian fashion, throwing back to the medieval powerhouse that the Baltic state once represented. While the borders of modern Lithuania are about the size of West Virginia, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania at its peak in 1421 encompassed all of modern-day Lithuania plus large swaths of Latvia, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia. Medieval Lithuanian society was feudal, consisting of rural peasantry and free farmers who paid tribute to local dukes for protection, who in turn paid tribute to the Grand Duke (hence the Grand Duchy of Lithuania).