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"Birds of a feather Flock together." Shop our Valentine's selection!

February 01, 2022 1 Comment

The Colourist - Skylark Galleries blogging logo of Helen Trevisiol Duff

Jay art gift original artwork by Amanda Gosse

Jay by Amanda Gosse £300

Helen Trevisiol Duff aka Skylark Galleries The Colourist blogger writes:

According to folklore and medieval tradition, 14 February marks the beginning of courtship and mating season for birds. Keen birdwatchers in the middle ages noticed that our feathered friends would choose their mates in mid February, making them a favourite symbol for Valentine's Day.

As was normal in that period, they used a date relating to a Catholic feast-day of a saint. It happens that this day is dedicated to two early martyrs, both named Valentinus, believed to have died on 14 February. This does not mean there is anything to link these Roman saints to birds, or to human love.  It is by chance that their names appear and, if the avid bird watchers had selected 15 February (St Faustinus’s Day) instead, we would now be celebrating and sending each other Faustine's cards and gifts.

Budapest by Sarita Keeler original artwork and art gift

Budapest by Sarita Keeler £210

Courtship

At this time of year the garden birds that have survived winter foraging are continuously in search of food. The fittest of these survivors may also start to flaunt courtship displays.

 

Flying birds by Smita Sonthalia original artwork 

Flying birds painting by Smita Sonthalia £120

In a month where Valentine's Day is prominent in many people's lives, I wondered about the importance of courtship and romance in wildlife.

Courtship behaviours, in all species, are fascinating to watch. In bird life, behaviour such as loud singing, dancing, displays and rituals are a way for birds to show off their strength, agility, health, and ability to produce offspring. There's a lot of drama and showing off.

Pecking order art gift by Vivien Phelan ceramicist

Pecking order ceramic by Vivien Phelan £310

Female birds invest a lot of energy in forming and laying eggs and then incubating them, so it's really important that they choose a suitable mate.The males are strutting their stuff and trying to impress!

Doves are a symbol of peace but also a romantic Valentine's Day staple of love, as are lovebirds. Why are these birds considered so, well, lovey-dovey? The association dates back again to the middle ages when not only the bird watchers but also society believed that all birds choose their mate on Valentine's Day.

Double happiness by Nicolette Carter original artwork

Double Happiness by Nicolette Carter

Inspiration

Many of our artists at Skylark Galleries creating original art are besotted with birds. The English proverb “birds of a feather flock together“ is very true! As Skylarks, inspiration from the natural world is important. We are artists who flock together from British figurative painters to printmakers, ceramicists and water colourists. We are a flock who celebrate the diversity of the bird world in our affordable art.

 

Robin original pencil on paper artwork an art gift by Stella Tooth

Robin by Stella Tooth £65

Many of my bird paintings show the unique communication and rituals displayed in birdlife. A few years ago I painted a mural of the endangered red crowned cranes in their ritual dance. Studying their behaviour from direct observation at Hanwell Zoo I saw their courtship ritual which involved flapping feathers in an elaborate dance. This intrigued me and, more recently, I've been focusing my original art - from drawings to paintings - on British birds and their behaviour, including swans, ducks and magpies. These birds are on my doorstep and I can draw directly from life.

Swans original artwork by Helen Trevisiol Duff

Swans by Helen Trevisiol Duff

The courtship 'dance' of swans is accompanied by a lot of flapping of wings, a range of noisy hissing sounds and a lot of showing off. Once courtship is complete, the swans are bonded for life, with very few exceptions. How romantic! This is unusual as a lot of other birds will raise their young as a pair for one season but move on to new mates the next.

 

 

 

Valentine's gifts

St. Valentine’s Day was mentioned by Shakespeare. The poet, Drayton, wrote verses entitled “To His Valentine,” in which he expressed the idea of the birds’ mating on St. Valentine’s Day.

“Each little bird this tide
Doth choose her beloved peer,

Which constantly abide
In wedlock all the year.”

Make Valentine's Day 2022 the most romantic yet with gifts to share the love and celebrate being together. If you're looking for a special gift, your affordable art journey can start here.  What better than to choose an artwork inspired by birds or nature?

Raven by Sarita Keeler

Raven by Sarita Keeler £150

We have an online shop to make it easy for you to choose from the comfort of your home or, if you feel like visiting us at our gallery at Gabriel's Wharf on London's south bank, one of our Skylarks will be happy to show you around!

Blogging bio of Helen Trevisiol Duff aka The Colourist blogger for Skylark Galleries




1 Response

Amanda
Amanda

February 23, 2022

I really enjoyed reading this article, full of interesting facts and history. The collection of affordable art you’ve featured is so beautifully curated too. Thank you!

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