Life is Really Really Good

By Niya Christine. Copyright

#109/365 Paintings

Canaries mate once a year, but I have a feeling these two have been together awhile. For one thing, look at how pudgy they are. That’s a lot of worms. And only birds who know one another really well have the patterns of feeding each other down pat. Yes, I’m convinced they know one another well—find each other at mating time and look like this, a lot! Perhaps they survived the coal mines or one rescued the other. But there’s a lot of love goin’ on in that tree.



By Niya Christine. Copyright

#107/365 Paintings

Sam was a pet store canary for many years. He was one of the few that didn’t want to be picked, purchased and taken away from the pet store. Sam was a bit of a closet journalist. He liked to listen to the facts and chirp out the stories at night when the store closed. Canaries are pretty, so people hung out around them and spilled some of the grittiest details about their lives.

But there was one conversation in particular that Sam couldn’t get out of his wonderfully feathered head. It went something like this:

Boy: “What do you really want, though?”

Girl: “To be a boy.”

Boy: “Yeah, but that’s in the works…”

Sam perked up. “In the works?” Sam wasn’t the least bit interested in becoming Samantha. But, he realized that if a girl could become a boy (a magic trick for sure) then he could become what he had always wanted to be: An owl. Suddenly, he wanted out of the pet store really bad. So, he preened for days in front of potential buyers. About 3 days later a very nice elderly couple bought him. He tried to escape to the woods to become an owl, but something luckier happened. The old man was an artist. Sam and the old man bonded. Sam would drag out newspapers and magazines with owls on them and take naps on top of the photos. The old man painted one of Sam’s owls. Of course Sam thought he had understood his complex psychology and loved the old man all the more. But the man simply wanted to paint an owl that day. Sam stared at the painting for days. And, just last week he chirped out a 1/2 “Who.” The old man laughed so hard. “You’re a Canara-Owl” he said. Sam was very pleased with himself.


Painting by Niya Christine. CopyrightThis reminds me of a short short scene assignment at UCLA’s screenwriting program. He said, She said in one word dialogue. In this case, not one word dialogue, but since we have birds who like the Zuni Indians communication in sound shapes (sorry for going esoteric there)… close to one word dialogue.

Big boy bird (top): Not just a pretty picture?

Small female canary (below): Not just a big oouf?

Big boy: Pretty, pretty, pretty…

Small female: No, no, no…

Big boy: Hungry? I have worms. So many worms it might make you faint.

Small female: You’re very handsome.

They fly off flirting in clipped tweeps. Communicating stuff we humans shouldn’t be privy to. [End]


Project notes: Mixed media takes longer, but I’m hooked.


Canary Poses for Cardboard

Painting by Niya Christine. Copyright

#92/365 Paintings

Some birds eat cardboard, while others… like our little actress here, poses for it. I like her. She’s all fluffed up for the camera, ready for action. Even her feet are bouncy for excitement.

Project notes: This is the top of a cardboard box I used for Dakota (my rabbit’s) medicine. It was making me clumsy every time I opened it. So I ripped it off the top to use for a surface to protect my kitchen table while painting, and it turned into this. This canary has game.