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 1: The first bee is a lovely lady wearing garb typical of the Žemaitija (Lowlands) region: featuring dark reds, greens, and golds as well as flowing skirts and the pillbox-shaped hats. These hats were often decorated with ribbons that can reach all the way down the back. While poorer women wore wooden clogs, richer women could wear fancier shoes made from leather. Like all regions in Lithuania, elaborate embroidery, flower elements, and bright colors are a must!