THE GUARDIAN ACRYLICS ON CEDAR W/RED OAK FRAME WINTER 2021-22
Anna’s hummingbirds are very feisty and aggressive, yet we enjoy watching them interact with each other. The males can be especially problematic for the others as they strive to monopolize their favorite feeding areas. We have one particular male who we have called “The Guardian” because he patrols the backyard, protecting his feeder. Luckily, we have multiple feeders set in various locations which makes it impossible for him to guard them all. This winter’s really cold spell after Christmas was a difficult time for all of the birds, and this was especially true for our resident hummingbirds. We were worried that the efforts of "The Guardian" would prevent others from feeding, possibly leading to their deaths. He would sit either on a lilac bush or on the bare canes of our hops and run off anyone else who wished to feed. We will never know how many of our local birds didn’t survive but we are glad for all who did. Watching this bird inspired me to paint him, sitting on the hops and guarding his domain. The design for the hummingbird was inspired by both Northwest Coast Native and Celtic art traditions while the looping hops were influenced by the Celtic Revival entrelac of Archibald Knox. I made the frame out of red oak using pegged, hand-joined, mortise-and-tenon construction methods. I used the Japanese technique (shou-sugi-ban) of charring and oiling the oak to finish the frame.
NOTE: Hummingbirds need to eat about half of their body weight in sugar daily. If they don't, they might not live through the day. No animal on earth has a faster metabolism. In order to gather enough nectar, hummingbirds must visit hundreds of flowers every day. Just one day of cold temperatures or bad luck finding flowers can mean death.