Flash of Sapphire – Blue Jay
Dale Shields, alias the Pelican Man of the Bird Sanctuary he founded in Sarasota, Florida, once told me about an idea he had for a saying: “When one comes out and hears the birds singing, one is in tune with the universe. But if one comes out and doesn’t hear them, one is in big trouble.” This reminds me of the English poet Robert Browning’s Song from Pippa Passes: “The year’s at the spring…The lark’s on the wing…All’s right with the world!”In spring, when nature wakes up after a long winter, it transforms the landscape into a real wonderland. Shrubs and trees start to bloom, anxious to keep their species going. Birds get into their breeding plumage, a delight for any birder. These are the treasures of spring.
North American birds are as familiar to me as the European birds. Few European birds have colors as bright as those of the cardinal, goldfinch and blue jay. For a long time, I struggled with the idea for a cardinal painting, but when I saw the beauty of the blooming redbud trees, I chose to do a triptych: Three of my favorite North American birds would be the stars, instead of only one. Blue, red and yellow — the three main colors — all of them in the same scenery! It was an enormous task, but the satisfaction was in proportion. I am very happy that I can bring the spring into people’s houses. These redbud trees bloom just as winter fades and spring arrives. The blossoms appear long before the leaves, and the display is spectacular.