Wednesday, March 9, 2011


winter to spring, finch

Goldfinches have returned en masse.  The finches' indeterminate color has a delicate sheen, almost a glow.  Soon enough the males will molt into bright gold plumage.    M has suggested "mandorla" when I asked him about the word "penumbrous" for the kind of glow that they show.  Mandorla is Italian for "almond," and it means an almond-shaped area of light in paintings (as in, especially, depictions of the resurrected Christ or Mary in the Assumption).  What a wonderful word.

You can see most of the pencil sketch in the finch above, and most of the first gouache layer of evergreens in the surround.  The finch here is on a branch; the one I saw was on a tube feeder.  This painting is a little roughly translated and unfinished-looking I suppose.   Still, I see the finch again in the painting.  And that is enough.