By Sweetness Alone

Sitting among the bluebells
in my sorrow, for lost time
and the never forgotten dead,
I saw a hummingbird stand
in air to drink from flowers.
It was a kiss he took and gave.
At his lightness and the ardor
of his throat, the song I live by
stirred my mind. I said:
"By sweetness alone it survives."

- Wendell Berry, "The Strait"

Mixed media on canvas, 60" x 45"

Who ain't a sucker for hummingbirds? Someone told me there were only a handful of varieties in all of California and much less than there used to be, but I've never seen more in any other place I've lived.

Not long ago an aloe plant I keep in a pot sent up a tall shoot with an alien-like flower and from our bedroom we could see the flower in the morning, a hummingbird often sucking away at it, helicoptering quietly in the air behind the pane. It was a double shot of pure magnificence.

And sometimes when I'm in the back tinkering, a little guy will come up from behind, beat it wings like a giant insect, and scare the bejeebers out of me. Once I could swear one was a drone.

It have no idea where in my noggin this highly improvised, highly collaged painting came from, but the thought of a bunch of hummingbirds jigging in a pattern in front of one of L.A.'s ubiquitous super freeway exchanges, all fluorescent and lit up, like blown bits of ads, kept me laughing for much of the time I worked on it.

I'll be showing the painting this weekend at the Beverly Hills Artshow and next weekend at the Redlands Festival of the Arts. For more info, check out my website.

Have a good one!