For a while now, I’ve been working on a series of paintings focusing on insects and their host plants. Since I’ve got a pumpkin growing in my vegetable patch out back, I figured now would be the time to work on a painting of squash bees hanging out in a pumpkin flower.
Squash bees are darling little creatures in the genera Peponapis and Xenoglossa. Native to the Americas, they specialize in pollinating pumpkins, gourds, cucumbers and other members of the Cucurbita family, making them valuable agricultural assets. They are mostly solitary but it’s not uncommon to see multiple bees in one blossom—often snoozing away in the midday heat.
I began with a drawing of this lovely flower, from a volunteer pumpkin in my backyard:
A pencil sketch on tracing paper followed.
Since these bees are so cute, though, I decided to zoom in on the flower so the bees could be seen more easily.
Now, to add some bees!
The next step for this will be to transfer the drawing to watercolor paper and add some background color… hopefully very soon!
If you are interested in learning more about squash bees, please visit