Ongoing angels

The angel I began embroidering is still underway. The text “Gloria” got done and redone several times as I experimented with stitches for the lettering. The wings are currently on their third revision, as there needs to be the right sort of layout of feathers to please my eye, and I had only sketched it loosely. I took out the second try, drew a design more clearly, and am now re-addressing that. Not sure how I might vary the colors. I like the multicolored wings found in many depictions of angels:

Red and white wings for Saint Michael
Red, green and peacock-eyed wings on a Gothic painting of Saint Michael
Blue, gold and Peacock wings on this Saint Michael
Rose and slate gray/blue wings on an Eastern icon of Saint Michael.

There’s an enormous variation in the styles and colors of wings. Mine’s going for green and gold at the moment:

Experimenting with shading, metallic thread, pencil drawing, lettering and hands and faces.

On another note: I’d like to thank Sarah Homfray for her excellent, encouraging and calming series of embroidery videos which I watch repeatedly. And also Steve Young, a horse trainer whose long, real-time videos with chatty commentary are also great company while I stitch.

I really miss being around horses. Today my former trainer sent me a video of my elderly mare. She looks great for her age!!

Beautiful pigeons

Common pigeons have their own charm and beauty, but there are some really shockingly beautiful pigeons (eta: and doves) out there. So diverse are they that here I just feature some that are charmingly pink:

Ltshears Trisha M Shears, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Bjørn Christian Tørrissen, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Ltshears, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Kao-Tai, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Beautiful blue and gold birds

Some Euphonias for you:

Dario Sanches from SÃO PAULO, BRASIL, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Francesco Veronesi from Italy, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Dario Sanches, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Hector Bottai, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Dario Sanches from São Paulo, Brazil, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

That yellow! A pair of violaceous euphonia once started building a nest in one of my orchid pots. The color is just mind-bogglingly sunflower yellow, especially in contrast to the deep purplish-blue of the back. An incredible bird.

Smells

I love the smell of country air. In the mountains in Brazil, in the drier zones, the smell is a wonderful ever-changing palette of pine, juniper, herbs and flowers. In the damper zones, such as around the city of Rio, the moist earth and heavy foliage have their own distinct smell, accompanied by seasonal wafts of flowers, fruit and rotting fruit, rain, and salt spray. One of the most startling is the smell of the flowers of the Cannonball tree. The prolific flowers grow directly from the trunk, enveloping the tree in garlands of pink. The flowers smell like roses, though without the delicate timidity of many (hybrid?) roses.

Fotokannan, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Superabundance

The delicacy, detail, and sheer inspired joyfulness of God’s creative work is amazing. Take the toucan. You could just make a toucan, right? You could even give it a colorful bill and a wily personality. But do there need to be dozens of elaborate variations? It reminds me of the exuberant self-expression of a girl making Valentine cards for her friends – more lace, more glitter, curlique lettering on the front, hearts to dot the i’s, and a special assortment of candies arranged in a little box to accompany it.