The beginning of the theme…

Feathered Dreams

Feathered Dreams¬† –

Brrr…it was early in the winter of 2015.

A humongous box arrived at my studio door.
It held some things from my father’s house.
Way down at the bottom was a little zip lock bag.
Inside were six carved wooden figures.
Hmmm.
I’d never seen them before.
After my father’s death a few years ago, I uncovered many items and stories,
some of which were familiar history, and some of which were mysteries.
I found photos and writings about his grandparents
and knew that at least one of his grandfathers tinkered with wood.
So, I thought that maybe these were saved from his childhood.

Then the muses struck.
I called Pat, can you come over…now.
She threw on her coat and boots and slodged over to the studio from the log cabin.
I love writing log cabin.
Anyway, I bade her to lie down on the daybed…and take a nap.

I found the paper bag, filled with chicken feathers,
which Homer had collected for me last summer,
and I dumped them on her head.

Then I laboriously positioned the little chickens
and the little goose around her sleeping head.
Tucked in her red snuggy blanket,
Herself was content to model as long as I liked.
Until the feathers started…to tickle.
I managed to capture this image
just before…the sneeze.

When I was finished,
and the model was back in the log cabin,
and the feathers were corralled back into their paper nest,
I arranged the dear ones along the window sill next to my easel.

Finnegan came over to give me an eagle hug
and her tail swept the smallest bird onto the floor.
When I picked it up I noticed some writing on the underside…
Made in Indonesia.

With a sigh,
I put her back on a higher shelf…
and began to reinvent her past.


Feathered

It’s a wonderfully dreary start to the day before Thanksgiving in central Pennsylvania, the perfect weather for painting.

We, like so many in this land, have a large plucked bird in the fridge and are planning to roast it with most of the trimmings and be thankful. And I am, for many things. But today, I thought I’d concentrated on…the birds.

Watching them, feeding them, learning about them, painting them, and most of all the delight of coming upon the treasured gift of their feathers.

window

The studio is full of them. Collected over the years, their beauty astounds. With my new bionic knees I am back out on the trails, and the muses are back as well…

pheasant

After finding this beauty, I decided it was time to get serious about identification so I got this book…

book

Which I highly recommend. I’ve been pouring over it for days now. And the first one I spied was this one which recently made a supporting role appearance in this painting you might remember…

the master carvers tea

if you zoom in on the Jorgesen, that would be the clamp for you non-woodworkers, you will see the feather, which…every single one of the avian enthusiasts mis-identified. I have four of them which have been floating around here for years. But right there on page 91…

chukar

we see that it belonged to a Chukar !
Further research, at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, reveals that the Chukar is…
chukar web

A native of southern Eurasia, the Chukar was introduced into the United States from Pakistan to be a game bird. It lives in arid, rocky terrain across the western United States and southern Canada.
And then it hit me…I already knew that. Insert fading memory comments here as you will, but it all came back to me. Years ago, I’ll say 4, I found one perched on my studio garage roof. As you can see, it is a stunner of a bird so it caught my attention, but it is also not a local gal. I also seem to remember that, when first I googled this creature, there was mention of raising these smallish sized birds to release for hunters to take down with big guns, ( picture me here shaking my head in dismay).

The memory of finding the feathers is lost but, when I decided to take the leap to add that little bit of whimsy to Peter’s painting, it was after all a painting of Peter, the birdman of Plymouth, I didn’t have to look far to find the perfect candidate as these four feathers have been tucked into a little blue teacup behind my easel for lo those, I’ll say four, years now.

Above that easel is this display of painting and sketch and original model…

studio

vineyard-vanitas

And yes, the muses are right there over my shoulder of late…

peering

Cardinal Wolsey. The ever present window slammer of a bird, is still with me. I now believe she is more than just a disturbed bird. Pat and Finn met a woman at the park last week who, after hearing the story of the intrepid one, immediately suggested that she was someone who I had known who had “passed on” and did I know anyone in the clergy. Well I sat back in my chair at that one. Seriously, my father, the Presbyterian minister, returned as the slammer ?

woolsey

Possibly ?
I’m still pondering that one.
But this bird is definitely trying to tell me something. She now follows me from window to window and watches me all day long. Hurling Herself at the panes seems to diminish when I settle in at the easel. Then she just flies up and stares at me…the rubbernecker.

Well, ok, that part could be Ted. He is definitely nudging me to focus on painting…probably as I write this…which is taking time away from what I began this blog with…

that perfect painting day.

Well, the dreary rain has turned to our first snowfall of the season. The promise of a winter wonderland, a bird in the oven, one at the window, and two dozen at the feeders…that’s all I need of Thanksgiving.

And, this…to all my friends and patrons, whose support allows me to do the work that is so meaningful to my soul…

Thank you.