Robin Redbreast

‘Robin in the Rain’, (watercolour study), ©Kat Healy, 2023

It’s fair to say I’ve painted quite a few robins this season. We had not one but two robin watercolour workshops in the village this November; such is their popularity.

Robins are year-round songbirds and are often one of the earliest participants of the dawn chorus, using their song to mark their territory.

I enjoy watching them fill up on fat balls in the garden and dart through mulch below the feeders. There’s something comforting about a spark of colour against barren winter branches, Quinacridone Burnt Scarlet, maybe a touch of Aussie Red Gold?

Being somewhat less timid than other garden birds, robins seem happy in the presence of humans. They have long been considered a symbol of hope, comfort, and peace—a consoling, feathered message from beyond.

“When robins appear, loved ones are near.”

‘Robin in the Rowan Berries’, (watercolour study), ©Kat Healy, 2023


I came across a wonderfully dramatic piece of Celtic folklore recently:

In Wales, the robin is known as 'brou-rhuddyn' or 'scorched breast'. It was believed that the robin scorched its breast in the fires of purgatory, delivering water to the tormented souls.

Such tiny creatures—carrying such hefty meaning!

And with that, I want to wish you all a very happy and peaceful new year.

Kat x


Remember, the time of year
when the future appears
like a blank sheet of paper
a clean calendar, a new chance.
On thick white snow
You vow fresh footprints
then watch them go
with the wind’s hearty gust.
Fill your glass. Here’s tae us. Promises
made to be broken, made to last.

~ From the anthology 'A Poem for Every Winter Day', edited by Allie Esiri, Macmillan, 2020

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