Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Feather for Vivian

Wood Grouse Feather - watercolour pencils

Vivien's Flying Pictures Sketchbook contains some beautiful feather sketches by Vivien. She tucked a real one into the book with an invitation for each of us taking part in the Flying Pictures sketchbook exchange to have a go. When Vivien's book arrived here in Tuscany it had already picked up additional feathers by Ronell and Lindsay.

The same week Vivien revealed her feather theme I found myself caught up in a flurry of feathers, one of which (above) landed at my feet. I decided then and there it was a feather for Vivien.

This feather did not come directly from a Wood Grouse (Capercaillie) but from one of the flamboyant hats worn by members of the famous Italian Bersaglieri army corp.

A couple of hundred current members and veterans of the corps were in our little Tuscan town for a reunion.

Our first sight of them was when an officer ran into the piazza where we were enjoying a local concert. He called the concert to an abrupt halt and then gestured to his troops waiting in a side street. A whole militatry brass band, sporting spectacular hats, festooned with Capercaillie feathers, dashed past playing their instruments on the run. I learned later that the Bersaglieri (sharpshooters) are famous for doing everything on the run. An unforgettable and totally delightful sight. Of course I didn't have my camera!

I caught up with them later when they paraded through the town.

After the First World War the Bersaglieri rode bicycles. Today they move in modern army vehicles, but when they're on foot they're still on the run.

Vivien's beautiful sketchbook is now with Casey in France and I'm sure she is already on the track of a feather or two.

It was wonderful to have your book for a while, Vivien and I loved the opportunity to see your beautiful original art.


mARTa said...

What a delightful story and stunning depiction of the feather! I love the photos too! I see the heat hasn't kept you inactive!

Lin said...

This feather is absolutely EXQUISITE!!! I feel as though I can brush my fingers thru the fine feathers!!! BRAVA, Robyn!

E-J said...

Ahhh, Vivien's feathers!

Yours is lovely too, Robyn. Such a graceful shape!

vivien said...

this is absolutely beautiful! lucky me, it's in MY book!

and I love the story that goes with it - so much more interesting than an ordinary feather!!!!!

I'm longing to see the finished book :>)

Robyn said...

Marta -it's so hot my watercolour washes are drying before I can cover a piece of paper. I've given up for the time being.

Lin - Thank you :)

EJ - I agree, Vivien's feathers are beautiful, I particularly love the fluffy bits.

Vivien - I'm really chuffed to have contributed to be in your book. :)

Robyn said...

Oh dear, I don't seem to be able to write English anymore. What I actually meant was:
Vivien - I'm really chuffed to be in your book. :)

Robin Maria Pedrero said...

uhh yes what a lovely feather. I adore being in Italy. I just came across an artist residency application and I am thinking of applying. I suppose you don't need to do that since you are already there!

janie said...

Your feather is gorgeous.
And the story behind it is fascinating, I can just picture them all lying flat pretending to be wood grouse, it's nearly funny except for the circumstances.
I wonder if it is the origins of the saying 'another feather in his hat'
Anyway great post:)

Joan Sandford-Cook said...

Great interesting post with wonderful photographs and as for the feather sketch makes me think I'll take my collection along to my next workshop - bet the members wont like me for that but its your fault!!?? The girls and I collect them down by the river where we have Egyptian geese, swans, ducks and terns visiting every days. I also have a few peacock feathers from a trip to a local bird sanctuary. They'll be a challenge with the 'eyes' and colours.

caseytoussaint said...

Aah - I've got that feather picture in my studio right now! Eat your hearts out everyone else.

It's got me so intimidated that I'm at a dead standstill on Vivien's sketchbook, but I feel awfully lucky to be able to admire it in person.

juj said...

This feather makes me want to go out and try to find that bird!
Absolutely stunning Robyn.
Hope your drawing to the end of the dog days of summer and some cooler temps are moving your way.
Think about you often
~ juj

Lindsay said...

Hi Robyn,
This is my third try to leave a comment on this great post. I love the feather and thanks for sharing such great photos of this event!! The paintins above are simply wonderful and I'm headed right over to FPP to see what's up! Glad the book arrived safely!

Anonymous said...

Here's your lovely feather. I just love it. I really have a sensation that it is twirling away in the air...

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