the bird contradiction

posted in: musings | 0

Digital drawing of owlI had a pretty random thought just now, and decided it’s worth exploring.

I hate birds, but I love birds in art.

I should explain. I do NOT like birds up close and personal.  They are the a-holes of the animal kingdom. I used to live in a neighborhood that had miles of bike trails, which was great. What was NOT great was that I was terrified to ride on half of them because they were next to ponds INFESTED with geese. Geese are horrible. They’re not even nice to each other. Of course, half of the geese hanging out at the pond were mama birds who would hiss and flap their wings and practically chase you down if you happen to ride within fifty feet of their nests. Plus, everything in the entire area was covered in a nasty slime of goose poop. I hate geese with a fiery intense passionate hatred.

peacock tattooThen there are parrots. I can’t speak of ALL parrots, but I had a pretty bad experience with one of those too. Just after high school I was pet sitting for a family that had  a dog, a couple of cats, various gerbils and hamsters and other caged animals, and a parrot. Never had a problem with any of the other animals, but that parrot was MEAN. The mom had told me that the parrot normally hung out on its perch outside of the cage for a couple of hours a day, so if I wanted I could let him out for a while when I came over. She also told me that if I couldn’t get him back into the cage, they had a golf club with a big alligator head cover that the bird hated, so if I waved that at him he would go back into the cage. No problem. I felt sort of bad for him, being stuck in the cage more than he was accustomed to, so I decided to let him out while I was watering the plants and taking care of the other animals. So what does he do to show his gratitude? This big evil parrot with his GIANT TALONS starts swooping all over the place like he thinks he’s some kind of fighter jet, and I’m the target. This resulted in about twenty minutes of me sporadically ducking and covering behind various household objects, all while frantically waving around an alligator head gold club trying to drive him back into his cage. Needless to say, that parrot didn’t get let out for the rest of the time they were gone. I HATED that bird.

I like LOOKING at birds. I love finches, and hummingbirds, and sparrows. I have a peacock tattooed on one shoulder and am soon getting an owl on the other. I love the silhouette of a line of birds hanging out on the power lines. I think ducks and penguins are adorable. I love watching hawks drifting on the air currents high above the forest preserve.  I love drawing them with their vibrant colors, swooping lines and graceful curves. I think birds are beautiful…but only from a distance.

So…is there anything you despise in real life but you love in your art? What is it?