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"Blue Jays in the Forest" ​by Linda Kinney

Birds Category

The blue jay is one of my favorite songbirds. They are native to Southern Canada and the Eastern United States, but are very plentiful east of the Rocky Mountains. With most bird species, the female is without much color. The male of the species was given all the beauty with brilliant color. However, the blue jay is one species in which the male and female are indistinguishable, except for the fact that the male is slightly larger. They also form long-lasting, monogamous pair bonds. These bonds usually last until one of the pair dies. As with most other blue-hued birds, the blue jay is not blue. The colors in the feathers of a bird are formed in two different ways, from either pigments or from light refraction caused by the structure of the feather. With the blue-hued birds, the coloration is not derived from pigments, but is produced as light is refracted by the proteins in the feather. This is called structural color. In some cases, feather colors are the result of a combination of pigment and structural colors. Some of these are iridescent as with the hummingbird. I recommend this study. academy.allaboutbirds.org


As I was visiting central Texas one day, sitting in the yard watching the birds and I decided to paint an imaginary scene featuring the the blue jays. I contemplated what surroundings to use. Living in many locations as a child gave me a great sense of appreciation for nature. I love trees and water, and this seemed perfect for both me and the blue jays. In the painting, it seems as if the smaller bird, a hatching in the background is being protected by the grown bird, on the lookout for harm. In the foreground, the adult bird is merely aware of the surroundings and the offspring, who will soon be going out on it's own at 2 months to find a mate and continue the cycle.


Years ago, when I first started painting, I had such a passion that it seemed I cooked, sewed, cleaned and did all the chores while holding a paint brush between my teeth saturated with oil painting, just waiting for a few spare minutes. Of course, this was an exaggeration. However, I had great anticipation to return to the painting. I set up anywhere, on the kitchen table, cabinet, sometimes sitting in a chair with a T.V. tray beside me with paints and other essentials. Everyone else would be watching television and I would be painting. It quickly became a love to share them, to give them away as gifts for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, any occasion. This tradition has continued through the years. “Blue Jays in the Forest” is a 16" x 20" (40.64 cm x 50.80 cm) oil painting, a wedding gift to my niece, Ashley in Lubbock, Texas.