11.000 x 15.000 inches
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Beverley Harper Tinsley
Painting - Watercolor And Graphite
A pigeon in rich light strolls confidently, like a crooner onto the stage. Painted with vivid hues, intentional watercolor blooms and a loose, wet background, this city bird is anything but dowdy or common. Learning about pigeons in order to paint them gave me a new respect for their speed, intelligence and unique qualities. I hope that respect is evident in this painting.Maybe you, too, will look at pigeons a little differently.
This painting is part of a series to be painted in preparation for a commission in which a pigeon plays a key role.
Did you ever notice that pigeons come in so many colors and feather patterns? Did you ever notice their shiny, rainbow-like neck feathers or their red feet? Did you ever notice the interesting way that pigeons coo and strut?
The fact is, pigeons are special. They are special because there is such variety in the way they look. Blue Jays all look very much alike, and so do robins and cardinals. But find a flock of pigeons and you will see white ones and gray ones. You will see pigeons with blue-gray feathers and pigeons with red feathers. You will see solid-colored pigeons and speckled pigeons. Look long enough and you will be able to tell them apart, give them names, and get to know their habits.
Pigeons are special because they can fly very fast. In fact, some can fly 50 miles per hour! Pigeons also have very strong "homing instincts" that help them find their way back from far away. Pigeons make great pets, too. Many people build little houses called "coops" for pigeons in their backyards or on rooftops. They let their pet pigeons fly free because, unlike canaries or parrots, pigeons will come back home.
There is one other thing that is special about pigeons. This is the fact that bird scientists know less about city pigeons than they do about many other wild birds. It is surprising that such a common bird is such a mystery. But because they are everywhere, scientists seem to have overlooked them.
Only recently did many scientists realize how interesting pigeons are. They have many questions about them. For example, they want to know why pigeons come in so many colors. They want to know how pigeons choose their mates. These questions are important because the answers will tell us not only about pigeons but about birds in general. The answers also will help us learn more about other wildlife, about our land and skies, and about ourselves as "human animals."
To answer these questions, bird scientists have designed a research project called Project PigeonWatch. People just like you from all over the world are involved in it. These participants are called PigeonWatchers. PigeonWatchers collect information on their pigeons in their cities. Then they send that information to the scientists, who enter it into computers. They print out maps that show the information by location. These maps show how pigeons are alike and different from place to place.
When the first Olympic games were held in Greece in 776 BC, how did people find out who the winners were? Pigeons carried the news! Julius Caesar, the emperor of Rome more than 2,000 years ago, used birds to send messages back home from battle. Pigeons were used as war messengers as recently as in World War II. In fact, until the invention of the telegraph in 1836 and the telephone in 1875, the fastest way to send any kind of news was by pigeon.
Pigeons are still sometimes used as messengers. For example, medical workers on an island in France put blood samples into the tiny pockets of a vest worn by a pigeon. The pigeon then flies the blood samples to the mainland. In many parts of the world, news photographers use pigeons. When they can't leave their spot or don't want to get caught in traffic, they attach their rolls of film to a pigeon. The pigeon carries the film to a developer in time for the next issue of a newspaper or magazine.
Nobody knows for sure how pigeons are able to find their way back home from hundreds of miles away. Scientists think that pigeons can detect the Earth's magnetic fields. This means that their brains work like a compass to figure out North, South, East, and West. Scientists also think that pigeons can tell direction by looking at the position of the sun in the sky.
Some words used to describe this painting are:
anytime anywhere, pigeon, pigeons, bird, birds, fly, flight, flying, wings, beak, columbidae, Columba livia, feral pigeon, colorful, blue, orange, purple, violet, gold, yellow, watercolor, watercolors, beverley harper tinsley, bht, animal, animals, feather, feathers, dove, doves, homing, project pigeon watch, homing instinct, city, wildlife, coop, pet, common, rocks, stones, rock pigeon, rock dove, rock pigeons, rock doves, cliffs, urban wildlife, loose, wet, bright, vivid, intentional blooms
September 24th, 2013
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