A few years ago, we were lucky enough to travel to Greece, and my all-time favorite stop was the island of Corfu. We hired a local man, Spiros, who drove us around, showed us some of the gorgeous off-the-beaten-path beauty, and explained what daily life was like in the small town.
Corfu Canapés – Lunchtime in Corfu, Greece Watercolor
At lunchtime, Spiro stopped at a tiny store and bought a loaf of fresh, crusty bread and local soft cheese. We drove down the road to a building that had outdoor seating, as well as gardens of basil and tomatoes. Spiro sliced the bread, cheese, and tomatoes, drizzled them with olive oil, and sprinkled fresh basil and herbs on top. This was served to us with local olives and tastings of red wine followed by shots of powerful, black-licorice-tasting ouzo. I can still remember the crispy bread, the creamy, delicate cheese, the pungent herbs, and the fresh-pressed olive oil. Opa!
We took photos of this round little bird, a European Robin, in Ireland recently. Although they have similar colors with red chest feathers, I wondered why its body shape was so unlike an American Robin’s. In actuality, it is because they are from different bird families, but this old European legend might explain why each is referred to as a robin.
The legend states that on the night Jesus was born, a robin heard Mary’s plea to keep their dying fire from burning out. This robin fanned the fire with its wings until the fire was warm and red. While continuing to fan the fire, the robin picked up twigs with its beak and threw them onto the fire to keep the flames glowing. However, the flames singed the robin’s white breast, turning it red.
Isn’t that a charming story? It is thought that when Europeans began to emigrate to the United States, this legend was applied to our American Robin simply because of its coloring.
We recently returned from a spectacular trip to the Emerald Isle, and even in the autumn there was plenty of green to behold! This painting might not be the best in technique, but it holds many special meanings and is a reminder of the lovely things we saw.
Our knowledgeable tour guide explained Irish traditions, history (look up the word Boycott!), and folklore. Sturdy stone walls enclose patchworks of land, stretch for miles along roads, and really are anywhere barriers are needed; most have been around for centuries. I also included a St. Patrick’s cross, some sheep, ruins, a patch of land with visible potato ridges from potato fields of long ago, and a “farm” or forest of non-native conifer trees used for industry. The trip was blessed with sunny days, and the Irish landscapes were stunning! PS: Contrary to the sentiments of my fellow travelers, I kind of enjoyed the scent of burning turf 🙂
This sweet little dog is named Chewie, and even though he is a bit older, he still has lot of spunk. He loves long walks on a sunny day and any food that is dropped on the floor.
When I presented this painting to his owners, I found out that recently Chewie had been to the dentist and had many of his teeth pulled, so I’m happy I was able to capture his toothy grin before that dentist appointment! Have a great weekend!
This little bird frequents our yard feeders, although I’m not sure if it is a house finch or a purple finch. One recent morning I found him sitting in the grass, obviously distressed. I placed some seed near him hoping that he would recover from whatever happened. Some of his feathers seemed out of place, and I suspected he flew into the screened porch or perhaps had a run in with the neighbor cat or some other creature.
I watched out for him all day, but later that afternoon he was no longer in the grass. However, to my surprise, he was sitting in the clear-view feeder attached to the window. Still looking rather ruffled, I was glad to know that at least he could fly and get to the food himself.
Draw a Bird, October 2018, Finch
That was weeks ago, and I see him each day at the feeders, bird bath, or simply chirping in the tree. His flight is impaired and clumsy, so I hope he will be okay through the autumn and winter.
I decided to paint him without the bent feathers as surely he’d want his portrait to reveal his best self!
This bee is happily buzzing on a daisy, and I am thankful to my friend Libby for
sharing her reference photo with me. Thanks, Libby! 🐝 💖
This month’s bird painting was inspired by my friend Libby, who is an awesome photographer. She took a terrific photo of this seagull in flight, and, being a bird lover, I knew I had to paint it.
Hope she likes my watercolor rendition. Thanks for sharing, Libby!