So Why Put a Bird on it?

4efEveryone likes birds. What wild creature is more accessible to our eyes and ears, as close to us and everyone in the world, as universal as a bird?

David Attenborough

One of the most famous sketches in the hit show “Portlandia” is the “Put a Bird on It” sketch” where Frank and Carrie, the actors mock the epidemic use of birds on crafty, artsy items that abound on Etsy, other internet commerce sites and of course, Portland hipster stores. (I live an hour from Portland).  Not too soon after, T-shirts, cups, and posters started appearing with the meme, “Put a bird on it.”

Beyond being a birder at an early age and loving the uniqueness of birds.  I have several feeders about my house and so love watching the chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers, and juncos as they feed.  They are my neighbors.  They fascinate me as they have with humanity for centuries.

crow-flightBird images contain symbolism that has run through the ages. Here are some examples….Freedom, Spirit, Holy Spirit, mortality, peace, and inspiration

You cannot help be filled with awe gazing at geese migrating, pelicans riding air currents over the waves.

Looking at my artwork, a large percent of my pieces contain some B-is-for-Bicycle-closekind of bird imagery.  They just show up there- a lot.  I can’t help myself. If you say birds are cliché though, you might as well say flowers and human forms are too.  Birds are a part of our daily lives, even if you live in a city.  In Portland, besides crows and pigeons, there are Peregrine Falcons that live on the tops of high buildings and under bridges. Around my country home, hawks soar in the air and owls hoot into the dark hours.

fall-migration-mattedI address the concept of migration frequently in my artwork.  It fascinates me what inner mechanism inspires wild creatures to pick up and move often thousands of miles to another home. They can intuitively find their way even when they have never been to their final destination.  Turtles, frogs, butterflies, caribou, salmon and many others undertake arduous journeys sometimes twice a year.  Birds are the ultimate migraters. The arctic tern flies to the North Pole for the Arctic summer and then the South Pole for the Sub Arctic summer.  Each leg is 10,000 miles.

In spite of the laughter, if a little bird requests space in one of my pieces, I will oblige. As I continue to paint, print & sculpt I will be most willing to “put a bird on it” and celebrate these marvelous winged creatures of the sky that share this earth with me.

Growth drawing


3 thoughts on “So Why Put a Bird on it?

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