Sialia sialis by Uschi Jeffcoat

"The Bluebird carries the sky upon his back."
-Henry David Thoreau

And so do some of the people in our lives. I was asked to paint this piece as a special gift for a favorite friend who truly is someone that makes you strive to be more than you think you can be.

This happened during the same week as a neighbor passed away so both personalities were on my mind as I painted.

Both educators, both mentors (one to me and the other to my husband), both leading by example and both so very gentle and kind.

Just like the eastern bluebird. Possibly my favorite bird to watch.

It was the discovery of these birds in a bird box in my backyard, left by previous home owners -  that began my love of bird watching. One of my best friends from childhood had collected blue birds. That was my extent of bluebird encounters up to this point.

Not only would I think on the simplicity of childhood as I observed them, but also I began to learn from these blue wings. Things like beauty in flight and purpose. Gentle, yet industrious, hard working and protectors of family, Sialia sialis had much to teach me.

Much like these heaven bearing friends of mine whose songs can carry the rest of us.

SB, you have been such an instrumental part in my life! I hope I can have an ounce of the TRUE southern lady grace you have! Thank you for investing in me and teaching me so much! "Lucille" - I am excited about all your future "tractor and engine" adventures!

Sialia sialis watercolor on aquabord 8" x 8"

Sialia sialis
watercolor on aquabord
8" x 8"

Eyelets and Lace by Uschi Jeffcoat

Commissioned as a special birthday gift for their father, this set of two small paintings was completed over the past two months. And I LOVE them!

Here's why:

1. The girls did not coordinate their outfits. They were photographed at different times and yet, somehow despite living miles apart, they complimented one another in their choices! One in black with eyelets in the fabric, the other in a pale white lace.

2. They are grownups! I'm mostly asked to paint children. But I think it says something when women are as treasured in their adult years as when they are young through a portrait.

3. The bit of a Mona Lisa smile in Rachel. And the kindness seen in Kaitlin's eyes. Both girls have beautiful smiles and it was difficult to choose which expression I wanted to capture in the portraits. (I seriously have at least five more for each of them that I wanted to paint!)

They are incredibly intelligent young ladies.  I am pretty sure these two will each be leaders in their own right, if they are not already.

4. Watercolor meets lace. The lace detailing took some time to paint.  For watercolorists, it entailed so much of that backward, saving the whites thinking - that very thing that is such a challenge but also one of those things that is most endearing to us.

5. The hair! So many lights and darks to capture in such beautiful tones! All these details were delightful!

6. Painting a set of sisters. My own are very important to me. I hoped that a hint of their own person was present but also in a way that showed how the two can compliment one another.

Unique yet still sharing much.

Thank you so much to this family for allowing me to be part of creating such a meaningful gift. It was an honor and a privilege!

"A sister is both your mirror - and your opposite." ~ Elizabeth Fishel

Rachel 5 inches by 5 inches watercolor  

5 inches by 5 inches

Kaitlin 5 inches by 5 inches watercolor

5 inches by 5 inches