Ode to Audubon
Springtime on the Chesapeake is a painter’s wish. Sudden magic appears often.
Is it really an orange and red breasted bird alighting on a tree bedecked in mint green and yellow flowers,
each one with a fleck of orange?
Are there really flowers, perched on the top of each branch, the size and shape of a small teacup?
Is this Alice in Wonderland?
Are those brushstrokes on the tiny feathered breasts of the Baltimore Orioles, some reddish-orange, some yellow?
But wait. Look!
A very black bird has swooped down onto a slender stalk of sea grass and is taking a seesaw ride--up down up down--when, suddenly he flashes red and yellow epaulets on his wings.
It’s all wildly gorgeous with purpose just beneath. This red-winged blackbird is warning larger birds that this is his territory.
John James Audubon made an aquatint engraving with hand coloring of two Baltimore Orioles perched in a yellow tulip poplar tree with their amazing knitted hanging nest.
I encourage you to read about the mind-boggling life of this driven and energetic genius of a man.
My admiration is reflected in my Chesapeake Poster 2020 for you.
-Nancy Hammond, 2019