"Henry the Hornbill" - watercolor on paper, 14" x 10". Ready to frame.
This guy was a blast to paint. One of those characters who looks wild and wacky in real life, and doesn't need much help from me to look quirky and whimsical. And why is it the guys always get the beautiful eyelashes? If I were a female hornbill, this gentleman would be tops on my dance card. Henry arrived in all his weird wonderfulness on a very strange day in our neighborhood.
Our residents here have a cyber connection on NextDoor.com. This is a great way to post neighborhood news: things for sale, lost pets, warnings about odd characters milling about and such. Late yesterday, there was a post about a police presence and CSI van in our neighborhood park. The park runs along with lake, complete with a walking trail, playground, tennis courts and picnic facilities, along with some large and beautiful shade trees. A wholesome family place, complete with burrowing owls, nesting Egyptian geese and, of course, Muscovy ducks. When my dad was living with us, the park benches were the halfway point in our nightly walk, where dad could sit for a few minutes and rest in the shade.
So when this alert came up, I figured the police were on a dinner break or something (there are a lot of municipal workers who take breaks in the shade of the park. It's that lovely!) and I didn't worry too much.
Until my husband and I went for our evening walk. Imagine our surprise to see crime scene tape, four police cars and a CSI van surrounding a truck in the park. Something was clearly amiss. Neighbors had gathered across the street, so it was easy to get the scoop. Inside the truck were two bodies - a man and a dog. Both were unidentified. No details on the hows and whys, but there was speculation that they may have been residents of the neighborhood.
Now this is not the kind of thing I would normally write about, but then again this sort of thing isn't usually (or EVER) going on right around the corner. So, of course, I was wondering...what does a hornbill have to do with the situation in our park?
No surprise here -the hornbill is a symbol of protection! It is also a symbol of using your neighbors for your benefit, without taking advantage of them (like getting information from neighbors?) The hornbill also symbolizes protecting your children, breaking out of difficult situations and pecking your way through obstacles.
So Henry with the long eyelashes was completed on a day where protection felt prudent, connecting with neighbors was an advantage, and likely everyone had a close eye on their children. Who needs a guard dog when Henry is around?