Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My hummingbirds are not always angelic...

...sometimes they perch with an undeniably honked-off and irritable look in their eyes defying any other humming-type bird to venture forth and try...just try...to get a sip of the sweet, sweet nectar...


Painting 172. Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird Guarding the Nectar
Watercolor



Rough Pencil sketch from my sketchbook of a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird

...I drew this sketch in the car while waiting for Matty. My ref was a poor-quality printout of a photo I took a couple of years ago. As a result, I couldn't see any feather detail, so I totally made up the feather configuration, choosing "poetic license" to give the feel of detail. Since this little female had such a fierce look in her eyes...and she was "poetic" in her own way, I thought D. H. Lawrence's poem "Humming-bird," where he depicts a hummingbird at the dawn of creation as a "jabbing, terrifying monster," was the perfect fit. When I watch our hummingbirds fight viciously over their food source in the summer, I totally get his image...
Humming-bird

I can imagine, in some otherworld
Primeval-dumb, far back
In that most awful stillness, that only gasped and hummed,
Humming-birds raced down the avenues.

Before anything had a soul,
While life was a heave of Matter, half inanimate,
This little bit chipped off in brilliance
And went whizzing through the slow, vast, succulent stems.

I believe there were no flowers, then,
In the world where the humming-bird flashed ahead of creation.
I believe he pierced the slow vegetable veins with his long beak.

Probably he was big
As mosses, and little lizards, they say, were once big.
Probably he was a jabbing, terrifying monster.
We look at him through the wrong end of the long telescope of Time,
Luckily for us.

by D. H. Lawrence
(excerpted from "The Little Big Book of Birds," by Tabori and Fried -- originally from "Birds, Beasts and Flowers," 1923)
...this is painting 72 in this year's 100 painting challenge...painting 172 in my 5 year, 500 painting challenge.

28 comments:

Kathiesbirds said...

Gorgeous painting and perfect poem to accompany it! Yes, lucky for us! wow. Can you imagine that lance coming at you in dinosaur size!

Kelly said...

:-) hehehe.....you're so right, Kathie...that would be a terrifying sight!!

Robin Maria Pedrero said...

beautiful art !

Out on the prairie said...

Boy you captured that look perfect. I am amazed how they seem so passive and then can let lose so bad.I still have a few coming around, but I think they are all migrants. I had a flock of immature red-wings stop yesterday, and they have been gone for a few weeks.

Birding is Fun! said...

Great detail...even the little rounded head ruffles. I wouldn't even know where to start to paint those.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Beautiful painting of the cute little hummer, Kelly. You are just so talented.
Hugs,
Betsy

TexWisGirl said...

love your painting! such fierceness! :)

Montanagirl said...

Wonderful painting! Love the poetry too.

Vickie said...

I love coming here to visit! Your hummingbird sketch and painting are beautiful, along with the thoughts and poem you shared. Also love that beautiful creature in the previous post.

Warren Baker said...

Kelly, that is real attitude on that birds face!! :-)

troutbirder said...

Wonderful painting and poem. They sure make up for their lack of size with an innate feistiness.

Hilke Breder said...

Beautiful watercolor, Kelly. I love that pugnacious hummingbird look. The wonderful inspiring DH Lawrence poem is a revelation! I gives me much to think about.

Bob Bushell said...

Absolutely stunning Kelly.

KAT said...

very interesting take on the past and hummingbirds as large and menacing, by Mr Lawrence...I adore your painting of the hummer and your drawing is great too. the dark "eyebrow" area is what makes him look a little fierce, he is a serious fellow indeed

freebird said...

Wow, excellent job of capturing her! She's beautiful just like the living ones.

Carole Meisenhelter said...

beautiful bird; colourings. Your sketch and painting are first class. Love coming to visit here.

Felicia said...

Wonderful painting! I like how you capture the iridescence of the bird's feathers. Very cool.

When I lived in California, there were Anna's Hummingbirds everywhere, and they were fierce--they'd dive-bomb you for no particular reason and they chased bigger birds around mercilessly. You and Lawrence, I think, got their personalities right!

Caroline said...

Lovely painting - well observed - he does indeed look decidedly cross!

Roy said...

Kelly, you have to frame this one, its just absolutely brilliant.

Dan Huber said...

very nice post, and your painting is exquisite - love it. thanks for sharing the process of it's creation.

dan

Guy said...

Hi Kelly

Great post I am always surprised at how aggressive thay are for such a tiny birds. And I really liked the poem.

Guy

Elaine said...

Lovely painting! Hummers are very protective of their territory and you captured that perfectly. I enjoyed the poem too. I close my eyes and can picture that world.

Chris said...

Wow both are gorgeous, the sketch and the painting! I love them both. Really beautiful work kelly! I envy ouy ;-)

Tammy@Simple Southern Happiness said...

If you can use another follower I will tag along. I am trying to push my eyes back in my head after viewing some of your art. You are a true artist in every aspect and what an eye you have.

I am still trying to get over that you sketched this hummer while waiting in the car.

Mind-blowing...

John said...

Kelly, what a fantastic painting, I never realised how good you were at painting. Congratulations. I was captivated by Hummingbirds during my visit to Tobago a few years ago. John

Kelly said...

...thanks, everyone for the super kind comments! I really love painting hummingbirds. Maybe because I've studied them so much. They come so close when I'm on our deck. I have two feeders close to where we eat, and they come by when we're eating and hover right in front of us. I sit out there a lot and just watch them...and sketch them. I can't believe they are gone for another fall and winter. Soon enough spring will return, but I'll really miss them. I have a feeling more hummer paintings are brewing, though!

Krista Meister said...

Beautiful bird, Kelly! Glad to see you're still on the painting challenge!

cindyzlogic said...

Outstanding work, Kelly!! We usually have a family that visit through-out the Summer. They have just left...I captured a few pics, too! Someday I need to try a watercolor...you inspired me :-))