My granddaddy had the idea of putting a bird on it long before the IFC show Portlandia lampooned “put a bird on it” as shallow hipster aesthetic.
Granddaddy, that is, John Alan Hord, painted oils from travel and everyday life. He’d usually paint from photos, using his prodigious memory and imagination for any embellishment he felt the piece needed.
This is one of my favorites, painted in 1969, a bougainvillea he saw at a hotel in Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife, Canary Islands.
Here’s another, painted in 1965. There are no birds in this one either; I’m sharing it because I admire my granddaddy’s attention to the details of an ordinary day. This one shows my dad at age 18, at home in Midland TX, picking up his ball just ahead of a walloping dust storm.
Granddaddy painted a series of scenes in northern New Mexico, one of the more beautiful areas within a day’s drive from from his home. This one features a larger-than-life cottonwood in autumn (I thought it was spring but the painting is captioned Quiet Autumn in New Mexico).
Dad also sent me the photo that Granddaddy worked from (below). I remember telling Granddaddy I really liked this painting and his comment was, “well, it’s almost true to the day I was there, even the clouds. I changed the season, though. Also I thought it needed chickens. So I added chickens.”
But this is by far my favorite slice of Granddaddy’s everyday artistic sensibility. It’s one of thousands of doodles he created over a lifetime. Two little dancing birds on a greeting card. Just another day made a bit more beautiful and fun.