A few weeks ago the arbutus trees behind our house were full of flitting varied thrushes just pausing long enough to snatch a berry. Such beautiful birds! I wanted to capture the feeling of the scene in this small painting.
Painting birds is so joyful for me so I wanted to revisit the varied thrush but this time in oils. This piece was not painted alla prima. I let the first layer dry and then was able to scratch through to some of the bright under-painting where I wanted. Check out near the bird’s claws for example. I was quite pleased with the balance between representing something real and having an abstracted feeling. There is a very free feeling in that colourful background.
Here is Tom’s poem that goes with this painting. He actually wrote this one separately from the painting but it turned out to be perfect for it!
Branches glow like ladder-rungs up, up the trunk in springtime sun: a thrush alights upon the bark, it’s orange breast a joyful spark of colour after winter’s grey that ushers in the brighter days.
I started doing a fun series of birds in December and posted one per day for the “Twelve Days of Christmas” with a short poem from Tom for each. Apparently, I couldn’t quite stop so here is one more.
One day in late December, our yard was visited by dozens of Varied Thrushes. I didn’t grow up with these birds so they are surprising and especially delightful to me. Of course, I needed to paint one to add to my seasonal birds. This piece of paper was a bit bigger than the others so I had even more scope for abstract play in the background.
And here is Tom’s poem!
A variation on a theme of joy that darts through lambent colours of the wood beneath the winter sun. A spirit buoyed by all in life that’s gentle, kind, and good.