Birds of Joy


‘Do not despair at the stars’ distance. Listening to blackbird music is to bridge in a moment chasms of space-time’

R.S. Thomas, The Blackbird

Only recently I realised how I keep returning to the theme of birds; from palomas in Seville to the sea gulls over Clovelly; the pheasants trying to blend into my Mother’s flock of chickens to the quintessential English crow. Birds embody the spirit of a place, decorative, familiar yet otherworldly. They are flash of movement, the sign of irrepressible life in a sometimes still, timeless landscape. Magpies have been a joy to paint with their perfect tuxedos and dazzling jade black feathers, squabbling and spying amongst branches. They seemed to be everywhere in autumn and I always catch myself counting ‘One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy………………’once I counted 15 -but the rhyme doesn’t go that far! Blackbirds have been my most recent muse, their modest appearance contrasting with the extraordinary beauty of their song.