Dead Bird. QP

Dead Birds

Yellow dead bird

I have dead birds in my freezer. Doesn’t everyone?

As “canary in a coal mine” dead birds found their way into my lexicon through Black Lung a body of work begun in 2003. Ever since I’ve painted, drawn, and printed series of dead birds. They continue as a subject to return to. In Northern New Mexico encountering dead birds is common. Although a major unexplained bird death occurred last fall. I found a few to photograph like the little yellow bird. He was on my driveway one morning.

I liked how the painting turned out. It reminded me of a mono print series of ‘dead bird’ done a few years earlier. I was never able to replicate the success of those however this is close. I’m working on a few more to go with him.

The house I’m living in has a sunroom that was built in haste just before I moved in. Its simply enclosing the previous patio with a clear, plastic roof as a three season room - a mixture of new and repurposed materials. It’s accessed from the house by a patio sliding door in the dining room and wooden door through the kichen, both original to the 1960 house. The first ten feet are original portico with wooden, beamed, and skylighted ceiling the rest plastic roof. I loved it (at first) and envisioned an airy light filled studio. I have shifted it around with the seasons seeking in vain three seasons I could work with. The roof blew off in a wind storm a couple of years ago - the best thing that ever happened to it. With the owners permission, I rebuilt the roof properly, framing and joists, and new roofing material installed correctly for a plastic clear roof, Suntuf system. Much improved it still retains its memories of open patio days with protruding rafters where decades of birds have nested and return and return and...

Here’s a little poem from last spring - Birds in the Sunroom from my sketchbook. It is funny because this week I again had birds in the sunroom.

Birds in the sunroom

Oh room of too much sun

leaky spouts

letting in the mouse -

the rain -

Hot in the summer

Cold in the winter

Returning birds in the spring

Oh room of little use

Why do you invite the birds,

the sun, the rain, the mouse?

Bird flew into the puppy’s mouth -

The Trap!

Lupita ate a bird...

~ I move my oil painting easel to the garage sometimes as it stays cooler in the summer and is easier to warm up with space heaters in mild winters. In the past I had many visitors and guests staying as well as hosting airbnb and couldn‘t spare a bedroom. For now, my watercolor studio and office is in the third bedroom and I love it. Oil painting area is still in the sunroom. Printmaking, storage, and everything else is in the garage. Have easel will travel!

The Quarentini Painter challenge prompt non-domesticated animal lead to this recent watercolor Dead Bird painting. My first attempt was a frog from a visit to Oji Santa Fe Hot Springs. Not satisfied, in a second attempt I pushed the boundary of the challenge toward my lexicon. Dead Bird fits into my own body of work and QP.

Dead Bird (QP)

watercolor on paper

24” x 18”



Chaos 2020 #15

mm on newspaper


Oil painting studio still in sunroom with puppy barricades

More of the sunroom

4/1/2021 for 4/6. RBB

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