Sandra Woods
Art despite pain

In the news

(posted on 24 Mar 2024)

Yesterday I had an up-close encounter with a wild animal, in front of my home.
It was an extraordinary moment, for several reasons.
First off, it's a type of creature that I've often seen while on bike rides in my area - but always along the edges of forests. Not strolling down the street, and up driveways, in a residential area.
Second, because when viewed in close proximity the colours of this animal are spectacular - not something we'd generally expect for this creature.
Third, this sighting was unbelievable because I was actually painting one of those same animals in my home studio when it ambled up our drive!
What was this mystery critter? A wild turkey.

I was adding another glaze or layer to a watercolour painting of a wild turkey yesterday afternoon, from a photo taken while cycling, when my sweetheart yelled to me:
"Quick, quick, come look, there's a turkey on our driveway!"
My husband had seen the painting I was working on, so for a second I thought he was pulling my leg - but there was too much excitement in his voice for him to be joking.

I ran up the stairs, phone in hand, and sure enough saw one of these huge birds shuffling across the drive.
We've never seen a wild turkey in our neighborhood, and definitely never by our home.
So what are the chances of one randomly wandering by, while I just happened to be painting a turkey for the first time?
Absolutely incredible...
After a moment I thought to myself: "No one's going to believe this", so I ran outside - into the snow, wearing only socks on my feet - to snap a few photos.
Often seen lurking in the shadows along forested roads nearby, wild turkeys are not among the world's most beautiful birds.
But when seen in direct sunlight, the different colours of their iridescent feathers are quite surprising.
I'd never have guessed, for example, that they have beautiful shades of pinks and purples on their faces. Or that there's such a range of colours in the rest of their feathers.
While checking their sizes online (ranging from 4.5 to 13.5 kg, or 10 to 30 pounds), I happened upon a news item about local wild turkeys from last week.
It turns out that: "Wild turkeys are moving into Montreal ...  Milder winters have helped spur a wild turkey population boom across southern Quebec".
Apparently we might be seeing more of these big birds in residential areas.
What do you think; is this a beauty or a beast?

Hopefully my painting will be a "beauty", once it's finished, but I'm still several glazes away from completing this one.