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Painting a Hummingbird with Driftwood

For Older Americans Month, some of PrimeLife Arts Learning’s Teaching Artists are sharing ideas for art you can make at home. Here’s the first activity – using a piece of driftwood to paint a humming bird from Pamella Allen.

Dacta II, 13”x13” Acrylic on paper ©️Pamella Allen 2018

From Pamella

In studio one summer I was on a “memory sketch” marathon, my “memory sketches” are an exercise, they clear my mind and enable me to harvest images that I have seen on my day to day because I am always recording. So, on a summer day near an open window with morning doves & finches chatting & hanging out on my fire scape.

As I listened to their songs, I created a series of hummingbird memory sketches with a small piece of driftwood and acrylic paint on paper. Two in this series will be in an exhibition this Summer at Blackbird Gallery in Detroit (August 2022).

The Hummingbird holds a special resonance for me and recurs in my works, the Swallowtail Hummingbird is the national bird of my Jamaican homeland and a perfect example of beautiful resilience in a tiny frame. Its wings beat in a figure 8, the shape of infinity, can fly upside down & every night it does not sleep but goes into torpor (a hibernation type of state) to slow its heartbeat and conserve energy. Pure Magic!

Finished Dacta II - golden painting of a hummingbird on black paper in a black frame
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