Dempsey Essick is a self taught, self expressed realist watercolor artist. He is known as the Hummingbird Bird Artist; not only for the hummingbirds he paints but for the hidden hummingbirds he hides in his paintings.
Since that spring day, several years ago, when a hummingbird landed on his daughter Beth’s hand and she held the tiny creature for several minutes, Artist Dempsey Essick, has been fascinated with the colorful little birds. Beth had been in the hospital for an extended time and was recovering. Both she and her Mom and Dad considered the encounter a blessing from above; a sign from God saying that everything would be all right.
Since that remarkable event Dempsey has included a rebus, or hidden, hummingbird in each of his paintings. In fact, locating the rebus hummer in each of his print releases has become a challenge to collectors of Essick art.
For his current offering Dempsey has created a trilogy of beautiful watercolor paintings celebrating the courtship of the hummingbird. “Lady’s Choice” and”“Gentleman’s Choice” are two mid-size prints which feature a female facing right and a male the left, respectively. The two small birds become enamored while sampling the nectar of some columbine blossoms and the spark of romance is almost visible as the two fly on to the main columbine plant to enjoy “Dinner for Two”. This larger print accommodates an abundance of beautiful blossoms which form a perfect setting for the blooming romance between the two tiny jewels. Always a gentleman, the male allows the female her choice of blossoms.
The set of three prints, collectively titled “Date Night” depict the classic ‘Boy Meets Girl’ scenario and will, no doubt, result in the classic union of a compatible pair who will likely produce nestlings- a possible subject for another Essick hummingbird related painting. And yes…each art image has its own hidden hummer.
It was a summer to remember. For the better part of July and August I was painting hummers to be used in our 2014 Wall Calendar entitled ‘Just Hummingbirds’. I guess that focus made me more aware of the hummingbird activity around me and I was constantly entertained by their antics.
A highlight was the hummingbird swing that we placed on the back door. The birds found it after 13 days and fought over it. With the glare on the glass door they could not see me and I was no more than 8 inches away from the tiny creatures. I could count their feathers and even see the tiny w-shaped tongue.
It was a rare treat when I saw the Red Bellied Woodpecker drinking from the hummingbird feeder. The big guy tipped the feeder so much that nectar leaked out but there was still plenty for him to suck up using his long bill like a straw. I made a great video of him from the house as he returned frequently to dine.
Maybe it was all the rain but it was our best year for hummers ever and we hated to see them leave in late September. We did leave a single feeder out for any hummer that failed to make migration and I saw a lone one just this week.