Mountain Bluebird Family

Artist  Marjolein Bastin
Painted  1994
Medium  Watercolor
Subject Location   Colorado, USA

Artist Notes

Wanting to expand our horizons once more, we planned a summer vacation to Colorado with the children. The prospect of discovering new-to-me flora and fauna was very exciting and motivated us to rent a cabin high in the mountains with a rental car to explore the area properly. With a new set of field guides to identify the birds, butterflies and plants, but without anything resembling a plan, we just got in the car and drove around until we found something we wanted to explore on foot.

There were some long hikes through the sagebrush identifying everything that was completely new to me. We hiked, trekked and got lost…a lot. On one of these hikes we came across an abandoned farm. The barns had all collapsed and most of the fences had fallen over. A small family cemetery behind the farmhouse was once enclosed by a lovingly installed picket fence that had now given up the ghost as well. Visual remnants of a troublesome family history, the setting made a big impression on me. These people tried for years to make it here, sometimes working alongside nature and sometimes against it. Having abandoned the farm, the remnants of their efforts were here to tell the story, to illustrate their struggle.

Then suddenly I saw something bright blue land on the picket fence. It was so heavenly blue I couldn’t believe what I saw was a bird at first. But it was, a mountain bluebird in fact, and after a minute I noticed why it landed there: his children were begging for food from the brush nearby. Observing this family thrive where a minute ago I thought everything had been abandoned, touched me deeply.

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