During a beautiful autumn day, I spotted a Sweat Bee, agapostemon virescens, laying in the corner of a greenhouse. The little bee was easy to spot, with her bright green iridescent thorax catching the sunlight. She was at the end of her natural lifecycle and I gently placed her in the small container I keep in my pocket for such occasions.
A couple months later as winter set in, I removed her from my collection drawer and began the task of drawing her portrait.
Accurately drawing small specimens is challenging. For myself, it usually requires an inexpensive iphone macro camera lens, generously donated reference photos from Wiki Commons, and my trusty jewelers loop. Although photos are helpful in understanding larger proportions, they are often useless in describing small details of anatomy. I spent hours looking through the loop in order to understand the intricate details of her exoskeleton.
After three preliminary sketches and hours of careful rendering, female agapostemon virescens is complete. I am fairly pleased with the results.
Visit the Missouri Department of Conservation for more information about Sweat Bees.