Sanhill Crane Quartet

Sanhill Crane Quartet
OIl on 18x24 inch canvas

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


When I was approaching my second birthday, I got into an altercation with a cat. I was traumatized. I feared all things furry. Since that time, I’ve worked on overcoming this fear--and now I am very obviously a dog lover. When I lived with my brother and sister-in-law, I even managed to survive the presence of six cats. Cats and dogs, however, are not the only animals with which I have issues. 

When I was a child, my family and I visited a farm in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, for a week every summer. The owners, the Berg family, were friends my parents made when they were newly arrived in America. The Berg's farm was a pig farm, but they had dogs and chickens, as well. (If they had cats, we never saw them.)
But back to the chickens. 
During the farm visit the summer I was six, I was sitting on the side porch of the farmhouse, on one of those metal, two-toned chairs, just enjoying the fresh air, the quiet, and the view. Suddenly, the Berg's collie puppy came bounding up to me--and I ran screaming into the house. 

Finally, I gathered my six-year-old self, and returned outside to stand with Sonja, the farmer’s wife, who was tossing seed for a few of the chickens. I stood and watched and felt content in the moment. Suddenly, a flash of red feathers rushed upon me and talon-ed feet scratched at my arms--and I ran screaming and crying into the house. 
After that I was afraid of all things feathered (even though that red hen was roasted for dinner that evening). Back at home, my older sister, Rose Marie, allowed her pet parakeet to fly around the house when she cleaned his cage. After the red-hen incident, every time she opened that cage door, I would pull the covers over my head. 

So, this series of chicken portraits is my way of making peace with my fear of feathered ones--especially chickens. I can’t imagine myself getting friendly with a chicken or plucking eggs from her nest, any time soon, but I have come to appreciate the beauty of these birds. Chickens are so varied in their breeds and coloring and feathering, that I am truly inspired when I draw them--and am losing all appetite for fowl.

Buff Brahmin

Buff Laced  Chicken

Chestnut Ridge Rooster

Polish Chicken


Silver Laced  Hen

Jersey Giant and Kauai Rooster