St Colman's Duck (Feathers of Tales VIII)2020
Ink and watercolour on watercolour paper. 297 x 420 mm (11.69 x 16.53 in), 2020. Framed.
"But as they were so tame, persons fetching water from the pond on a dark night—so the legend goes on to say—sometimes by an unlucky chance brought one of them away in the vessel without knowing it, and threw the contents, bird and all, into a pot over a fire to be boiled. Whenever this happened no matter how the people heaped on wood, or how long the fire was kept up, the water still remained as cold as when it was taken from the pond; and in the end the little duck was found not in the least harmed, swimming about unconcernedly on the top." (the legend of St Colman's ducks)
If you're exploring Irish stories you can't avoid a reference to the church. That's the case with the duck, the 8th part of my Feathers of Tales series, where I just couldn't ignore the story of St Colman's ducks.
There are many legends around these ducks, all telling about how invincible they were. Some sources even add that they were actually wild ducks, not the domestic ones, so it just fits that I chose this handsome mallard for this picture.
Being a common bird (just visit any pond in any park in Dublin) I haven't thought too much about ducks before, but painting the wonderful shiny details on this one I realised, as always, how beautiful these birds are. And because they are used to human presence they make a convenient photo subject as well! The reference photo was taken during lockdown and this boy posed quite happily for me. I also love the earth colours this painting required, it turned out to be a nice heartwarming artwork.
Part 8 of the series Feathers of Tales.