Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Three Muses. Bye Bye Blackbird.

This is my entry for the Three Muses Challenge this week: Bye, bye blackbird.  So, no matter how hard I tried to get these blackbirds to come out black, they came out white. Think of it as a photographic negative... albino blackbirds.  Just can't argue with the muse.  Did you know there really are albino blackbirds?  There are lots of interesting pictures and discussions on UK birding sites, for example, here.  Anyway, the major inspiration for the piece was the gorgeous Beatles song, which is now running like a tape in my head, over and over... here's a link to Paul McCartney performing it.

For this ATC, I've used vintage sheet music, gesso'd, stamped, birds perched on the music as if it is a branch, vintage mother of pearl sequins, stamped with letter stamps.

To get ideas for this theme, my family did some brainstorming and my daughter Emma did some research at She found this beautiful piece by Wallace Stevens.  I thought I would share it with you - there is so much contained within it to appreciate and work with.  Parts of this poem also made their way into my ATC. In the US, April is National Poetry Month!

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird
Wallace Stevens

Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.

I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.

The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.

A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a blackbird
Are one.

I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.

Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.

O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?

I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.

When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.

At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.

He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
For blackbirds.

The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.

It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.


  1. Beautiful art and words in this elegant piece!

  2. Fantastic! Why is it not possible to have white blackbirds?!

  3. White birds, well yes of course why not, your Muse was definitely thinking outside the box. Beautiful artwork and wonderful story about your research.

  4. love your piece and the beautiful poem by wallace stevens

  5. Awesome ATC, love the white birds! That's an awesome poem, too, thanks for sharing it.


  6. I love Stevens' poem, and your reverse-color blackbirds! The mother-of-pearl sequins are a beautiful finishing touch on this piece. It's lovely! Thanks for sharing both the poem and the art!

  7. nice work darling!

    fly away black bird! fly away!

    ciao bella
    creative carmelina

  8. Truly beautiful piece, love the music as the b/g for your birds!

  9. wonderful atc! love how the three birds correspond with the "f-l-y" tags...
    two or three years ago i could watch a partly albino (white head) blackbird on my way to school... i always looked closely, but one day she was gone...

  10. Fantastic ATC.
    Amazing design. Love them.

  11. Beautifull piece, i love the swirling!

  12. i am so glad I didn't miss this post!!! Lovely design!
    I have enjoyed looking around, love the pearl earrings!
    thanks for coming by !

  13. lost my comment to you ... here is a second try
    Love what you've created and the stamping on mother of pearl is brilliant too!

    I could listen to Sir Paul sing every day and especially Blackbird TFS

    your blog is really lovely in so many ways!