Baltimore Oriole & Willow
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lithograph, 10” x 8”, 1994

Cheerful is the right word to describe this friend of garden and orchard. Although a member of the same family as the blackbird and grackle, the striking colour pattern and joyful song seem to exclude it from the category of its near cousins.

The oriole is an integral part of my growing up memories, along with the American elm. The older parts of our towns and cities, as well as farm lanes and yards, were often graced with these noble trees. Their spreading trunks and branches radiating upward and outward like a black-barked fountain, would curve downward in a delicate filigree of twigs. Swinging precariously near the tips I would discover the woven cradle of the oriole's nest.

In this print I decided to use the weeping willow, its dangling twigs another candidate for the oriole's architectural artistry. Although weeping willows are not native species, the big old trees are very much a part of parks and gardens which are civilized in the best sense of the word.