Jordan Pearson began working with bees at the age of 14, when she would help her grandfather as he tended to his hives. It wasn’t long before these small, yet exceptional, creatures had found a home in her heart. Their complex biology, industrious nature, and knack for artistic detail are just some of the characteristics that stand out to her.
On top of this love for bees, Jordan has a passion — and a talent — for the arts. She’s been painting since a young age, and she studied fine art at Red Deer College and the Florence Academy of Art in Italy. And when she discovered encaustic paint, she knew she had finally found her niche. Encaustic paint is an ancient medium that fuses wax — and in Jordan’s case beeswax — along with dammer resin. Oil paint or dry pigment is then added for color, and when heated, these materials behave almost like watercolor. Finished pieces, which are usually constructed on wooden surfaces, have multiple layers and a deep, dynamic texture that brings the subject to life.
Jordan’s work imitates the remarkable wildness of Alberta’s landscapes. Whether her subject is a waterfall, bison, or flowery meadow, her paintings naturally encapsulate the diversity, resiliency, and even the vulnerability of her surrounding ecosystems.
And by living in central Alberta, she doesn’t have to look far for inspiration. An avid hiker, Jordan is familiar with nearby Elk Island and Jasper National Park, and these excursions give her a chance to relish in the outdoors and gather photographs to base her paintings on. For Jordan, this process is therapeutic.
“While I’m hiking, I try to slow down and look closer at the details within a landscape,” she says. “Art is thoughtful and slow, or at least I think it should be. It’s important for me to practice a slower pace of looking so that I can investigate further and not miss anything.”
Once a photograph is chosen, Jordan often uses beeswax from one of her four hives to recreate the image. Doing so is a way for her to contribute to the dialogue around conservation, something that goes hand and hand with her affinity for bees. Her work, which was recently on display at the Three Sisters Gallery in Canmore, Alberta, has an important story behind it — where it came from and how it was made. One third of most people’s food is pollinated by bees, but throughout the last decade, they have been disappearing at an alarming rate. While living in Alberta, Jordan herself has watched once-wild places get traded in for oil sands and mass agricultural productions.
Jordan hopes that her work promotes conversation around these issues and encourages people to take a second glance at nature’s hidden details — because even the smallest actions make a difference. And like a bee buzzing from flower to flower, Jordan is trying her best to do her part.
To learn more about Jordan and her art, visit her website. And if you’re interested in how to save the bees, click here!