The power of Sage

Hello friends! This will be the last article of this year and because it is the last one before Christmas holidays, I wanted to make it special, interesting and magical to fit with beautiful winter season. I will write you about the history of sage, the beneficial properties of this plant and some of its secrets and magical powers.

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Salvia officinalis or Sage, it is a herb used by people all over the world for different purposes. Actually, a perennial, evergreen shrub, with woody stems, grayish leaves, and blue to purplish flowers. It is native to the Mediterranean region, but it has naturalized in many places throughout the world. Since ancient times, this plant was used to treat different disease, as spice for food or tea and it was used in magical cleansing rituals as well. It was consummated only for its minty taste and fresh perfume or it really has beneficial properties for body and soul? We are just about to find out.

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The scientific name of this plant tell as almost everything about it. `Salvia` came from the Latin word `salvare` which mean salvation or healing and `officinalis` refers to the plant’s medicinal use, the `officina` was the traditional storeroom of a monastery where herbs and medicines were stored. The sage was first used more than 5000 years ago and since then people take advantage over its beneficial because they are real. Ancient Egyptians mostly used it as a remedy for infertility, but could also be used in the treatment of serious diseases and epidemics like the plague. The Romans referred to sage as the `holy herb` because they said it was good for everything. Also, this plant is known as a plant that gives eternal life. According to the legend, the Virgin Mary hid with the small baby Jesus in the sage bush during the fight to Egypt from Herod. Even today sage is one of the plants that is dedicated to Our Lady when celebrating the Day of Assumption. It is also believed that this plant can protect us against magic, fire and hail, as well in easing the birth and conception.

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Sage is one of the oldest and most important medicinal plants, all ancient medical writers mentioned it in their writings. Beside the legends, myths, magical rituals and old stories, this herb has some special properties for sure, and they are been proved by scientists. This medicinal plant has an incredibly broad spectrum of activity that is very nice described in this old axiom originated in Salerno that says: “Cur moriatur homo, cui salvia crescit in horto?” = “Why should a man die, whilst Sage grows in his garden?”. So, the most important properties of sage are: powerful anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial and anti fungal activity, powerful antioxidant and probably the best cleanser and stimulant of the lymph, boosts circulation and acts as an expectorant, great hormonal regulator (especially in womenbecause of its estrogen-like activity), lipolytic, astringent and antispasmodic action, has good analgesic effects and so much more. Also, The latest research has shown that sage reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and improves memory.

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The most interesting thing about this plant is that was known not only as a medicinal herb, but as a sacred plant as well. In many cultures this plant was used for cleansing rituals. The native Americans, Celtic people, Romans, Egyptians and many more used this plant in the practice of the sacred ritual of Salvia apiana or white sage. This ancient solemn ceremony comprises the ignition of a bunch of dried leaves of sage, to improve the overall well-being by clearing the environment from any negative energy, purify or bless people, calm stress, fight anxiety, sadness, and clean crystals. Probably this ritual is the most known magical ceremony, maybe because it actually works and it has a scientific explication. Because sage has antimicrobial properties, its smoke helps the air purifying from some microorganisms that might be in the atmosphere. Of course, as a biologist, I can say that for this process to work it is needed a lot of sage and smoke, and we don’t want that in the house, but if you burn sometimes few leaves of sage, the minty perfume will make your room feel fresh and clean.

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I can’t tell that all of the information about sage, founded on internet and different articles is true, but I can tell you that I tried the sage tea and I felt very good after. The taste is very fresh and it helps the digestive system to work well, also this tea is good for the hair. Clean your hair with sage tea and soon will look really shiny and healthy. Sage is a really special herb and it must be something magical about it because too many physicians and biologists wrote about it through the centuries. What I forgot to tell you is that the symbols of this herb is wisdom and immortality, I think the conclusion is obvious.

I wish you all a beautiful winter and magical holidays!

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The Art of Japanese Bonsai

The Art of Japanese Bonsai is well known, they are very popular all over the world these days, but I feel like there history and symbolism is kind of left behind. Many people have in their home a bonsai tree as a decorative plant, but very few of them know exactly what is the meaning of it and what spiritual benefits brings to their home. The bonsai is one of the most authentic connection between the nature, art and spirituality in Japanese culture. bonsai-3125722_640Bonsai utilizes horticultural techniques along with artistic applications to cultivate miniature replicas of trees as they’re found in nature. The tradition has been refined over the last millennium to reflect the aesthetic qualities found in nature through balance, simplicity and harmony. The bonsai tree is not just a decorative plant, is a true form of art with deep and powerful meaning. In Japanese culture, people use the bonsai tree to worship the connection between the man and nature. bonsai-62862_640The Bonsai tree symbolize patience, balance, and harmony. Also, age plays a significant role in the aesthetics of a bonsai tree. The characteristics of the tree’s roots, trunk and branches symbolize different stages of life. The balance is very important in a bonsai aesthetics. The shape of a triangle is used in overall design because this shape symbolizes strength and stability. There are a variety of styles and types of bonsai and each one has a distinct meaning and symbol, each small detail sends a message that contributes to the larger story found in the ongoing creation. Even the container and the accessories are carefully chosen to represent the hues found in nature. In conclusion, a bonsai is more than a tree, is a form of fine art that can express the story of a lifetime.

Source:https://www.bonsaitreegardener.net/,https://www.bonsaiboy.com/,https://pixabay.com/bonsai-3125721_640I would like to end this article by introduce you to my new oil painting, called Japanese Bonsai. I feel like this painting combines very well two beautiful forms of art with the love for nature. 20191019_160151[945].jpg

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Scarisoara Ice Cave

Hello friends! Today I present you another beautiful and unique place that I have visited this summer. The Scarisoara Cave is located in Apuseni Mountains, Transylvania, Romania and it is the biggest ice cave in these mountains.

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To get to the cave you need to walk like 15 min in the woods, from the parking place
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The entrance of the cave

The cave is known as a glacier cave because it is formed on top of a big glacier (ice block). The cave is located at an altitude of approximately 1,150 m. The entrance shaft, gives access through metal stairs to a large chamber, the Great Hall, which includes an ice cliff nearly 18 m tall, which overlooks a pool called the Pool of Ice. The ice within the cave has an estimated volume of 75,000 cubic meters, the temperature is up to +1 °C in the summer and down to -7 °C in the winter, but in the part for tourists the average temperature is around 0 °C.

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The Great Hall

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The Church – chamber decked with ice stalagmites a few meters long

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The landscape is very unique because the external walls of the cave are covered in earth moose and wild flowers and as you go down the stairs you can feel the cold of ice and the grass gets covered in snow, even if outside are 30°C. The atmosphere is so fresh and the view is magical, like out of this world. Personally, I’ve never experienced something like this before, but to get the real feeling you have to visit this place at least ones in a lifetime.

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I hope you enjoyed this little travel story about Scarisoara Cave. I wish you a very nice week!

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The kites garden-A legendary place

Hello friends! It’s been a while since I wrote you something, I hope you are still here because I have an interesting travel story for you. This summer I visited many beautiful places and I’m going to show you some of them in the following blog posts. Today I’m telling you about a legendary place in Romania, not very well-known, called The kites garden.gradina zmeilor (3)The kites garden is a natural protected reservation, located in Salaj county, Transylvania. This `garden` is a forest where we can find groups of giant stones with irregular shapes. They were formed in many years by the water, wind and different natural phenomens. This place is unique for our country and because of that, local people gave interesting and funny names for each stone in the forest and some legends, as well. Now, I invite you to walk with me in the garden and meet the beautiful and magical `kites`.gradina zmeilor (1)gradina zmeilor (5)gradina zmeilor (6)The pathway in this forest is really interesting because the ground is covered in sand. This environment was formed thraugh many years and this sand was formed because of the water that washed the stones every year. It is not an actual sand, is more like a calcarose mud which creates a unique pathway in the forest. At the end of this path, we will find the giant stones (the giant kites). From the edge of the cliff it can be seen ` The Kite and the Kitees (the kite and his wife)`. The legends said that this is the home of the kites and also the place where the kites bring young girls which were stolen from their parents.

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The Kite and the Kitees

Going further in the woods, we will find a path full of a beautiful and very big kind of fern. On this fern are hidden little animals like the common lizard which you can see if you’re quiet because they can get scared very easy. Following this path, it leads us to other two giant stones, called `The monks`. This place is like a desert in a forest, all of the trees are grounded in sand and between the stones we can walk through a tiny path with no vegetation only chalk and rocks.gradina zmeilor (9)gradina zmeilor (7)gradina zmeilor (10)

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The monks

gradina zmeilor (11)There are many stones in this reservation with different names that local people gave them, like The Catana Girl, Old man, The Captain, Eva, The Thumb, The Sphinx, but we had a short time to visit this garden, and we couldn`t find all of them. Maybe next time I will show you multiple images. I hope you like this little hike in a beautiful and wild region of Romania.Watermark in Full Color

 

 

 

 

The power of Marigolds

Hello friends! Today I invite you in my garden and kitchen to find out the secret power of Marigolds and how to use it.

The Marigold (Calendula officinalis) is a very common flower in Europe, that grows almost everywhere. Calendulas are considered by many gardening experts as among the easiest and most versatile flowers to grow in a garden, especially because they tolerate most soils. In temperate climates, seeds are sown in spring for blooms that last throughout the summer and well into the fall. The Latin specific epithet from its name, officinalis, refers to the plant’s medical and herbal uses.

20190720_142015.jpgCalendula was named by the ancient Romans, who observed that the plant was in bloom on the first day (Latin: kalends) of every month. They looked upon the plants nonstop-blooming as a symbol of joy, and cultivated it in their gardens to spread happiness. Ancient Egyptians valued it as a rejuvenating herb and in India they are used to decorating temple altars. During the American Civil War, doctors on the battlefield used the flowers on a large scale to treat open wounds. It proved effective as an antiseptic, staunching the bleeding, preventing infection, and speeding the healing of wounds. Today, this plant is still used in many ways, mostly in pharmaceutical industry and I will show you how to use them at home.galbenele 1Marigold oil recipe

The marigold oil is used for multiple purposes, such as healing wounds, skin allergies, sun protection, acne.  Basically, calendula oil is an alternative remedy to treat various skin conditions as well as improve the quality and appearance of the skin. This oil is alsovery easy to make at home.

galbenele 6Ingredients: dried marigold flowers and regular sunflower oil (optional you can use olive oil or grapeseed oil)

All you have to do is to put some dried flowers in a glass jar and cover them with sunflower oil (1/2 flowers, 1/2 oil). Then let this composition in direct sunlight for 7-14 days. When the infusion is done, keep the oil in a dried and cold room.

Marigold cream recipe

Now, that you have the marigold oil, lets use it to create a special cream with many beneficial uses. You will want this cream in your house, because as my grandma used to say `it is good for everything`. Personally, I use this cream especially in winter for skin as a cold protection, for open small wounds because it has natural astringent and antibiotic properties and also, I use it as a lip balm and let me tell you, is the best you will ever try. As the oil, this cream is very easy to make and you will need only natural organic products. There are two recipes, one is a very old one used by most of our grannies and the other one is a new-ish recipe with more ingredients. I prefer using the second one because is no needed to boil the ingredients and in this way are kept all the natural properties.

galbenele 9Ingredients (old recipe): 500 gr lard, 5-10 cups marigolds (not dried). The ingredients are mixed together and boil for 20 min, after that you put the whole composition is some small jars and keep it in a cold room, maybe in the fridge (6-12 month).

galbenele 8Ingredients (new recipe): 100 ml marigold oil, 20 gr bee wax, 5 gr honey, lavender essential oil; Optional: olive/ grapes/ argan oil, coconut/ cocoa butter, essential oils (different flavors), just keep in mind you have to put 20% bee wax. Also, you will need some small containers (glass jars or recycled empty cream container). Now, lets make this cream together.

galbenele 10First you need to prepare a `bain marie`. In a pot with boiling water I put a ceramic dish on a large cookie cutter as a support (you can make any improvisation you like). After that I put the first two ingredients, the oil and the bee wax. When they are melted and mixed together is time to put the honey and a few drops of lavender oil. We put lavender oil not only for its flavor and scent, but for its beneficial too, this oil is a natural antibiotic and also, anti-fungal which means that prevent the cream composition to mold. Mix everything well and put the composition in the containers. You need to work fast because the bee wax strengthens rapidly. The cream is done, now you can keep it in a cold place for 6-12 months and use it as you wish.galbenele 15I hope you liked making creams with me and until the next time, I invite you to enjoy a cup of Marigold tea with honey and lemon (is the best)!

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New oil paintings – Tropical collection

Hello friends! This summer I was very creative and managed to finish my first oil painting collection. I chose to create a tropical collection because summer inspires me the most and I love the fresh and vibrant colors of a tropical beach and rainforest. So, I will present you today, 5 oil painting that I created with all my heart.

  1. Plumeria dream – Is an impressionistic flower painting and represents the plumeria flowers. You may know this flower by the name Frangipani and it is native to Central America. Is one of my favorite tropical flower and the one that inspired the entire collection. I wanted to paint this flower because is unique, delicate and interesting. I wrote an article about this beautiful flower some time ago, if you want, you can check this link: Plumeria. The symbolic meaning of this flower and painting is: new beginning, new life, charm, gracefulness, beauty.

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    Plumeria dream – Limited edition, no. 1/5, Size: 24×18 cm (9,5×7 in)
  2. Sunset on the Island – This painting is one of my favorites. Everyone asked me why I keep painting these palm trees. These paintings are images of a dream. I love to travel and my dream is to visit a Caribbean Island some day. I had a vision of my self standing under a palm tree on a tropical beach at sunset and every time I think what to paint next, the only image I had for the first time in my head is a palm tree. Also, the palm tree symbolize honor, truth, value, vitality, protection, fertility, resurrection, aspiration.

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    Sunset on the Island – Limited edition, no. 2/5, Size: 40×30 cm (15,7×11,8 in)
  3. Hawaiian hibiscus – This flower is also named Chinese rose and is native to West Asia. It`s a very common plant that grows almost everywhere, and they have multiple colors. I chose to paint it because even if it`s an exotic plant, I grew up with it and always reminds me of home. In culture this plant symbolize true love, sincerity and long term relationships. If you like to see more pictures with this beautiful plant, check this article: Hibiscus

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    Hawaiian hibiscus – Limited edition, no. 3/5, Size: 24×18 cm (9,5×7 in)
  4. The bird of paradise – This flower is named Strelitzia or The bird of paradise, because it looks like a bird with the head down and opened wings. The birds of paradise are well-known for there beautiful colors, but none of the looks like this plant, the name was just a figurative form. The flower is originated in California and it`s the official flower of Los Angeles city and it is also the official flower for a ninth wedding anniversary.

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    The bird of paradise – Limited edition, no. 4/5, Size: 16×16 cm (6,3×6,3 in)
  5. Toucan – The last painting from the tropical collection is a beautiful exotic bird. We can find this bird in the Amazonian rainforest and this is a `true` paradise bird. This creature represents communication and self-confidence since this bird is one of the noisiest and loudest creature of the forest.

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    Toucan – Limited edition, no. 5/5, Size: 18×13 cm (7×5 in)

I hope you like my new oil paintings and if you are interested, they are available for sale on my etsy shop: AdelaFineArt

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7 interesting facts about Lily

Lily is a flowering plant that belongs to the family Liliaceae. The Lilium genus, from this family, has 80 species of bulbous plants that are generally hardy and few species require the protection of a greenhouse. In the wild, lilies are found in a broad zone encircling the Northern Hemisphere. The flower of a lily has 6 petals with prominent stamens, which makes this flower really easy to study by the botanists. Flowers are available in different tones of colors from white to dark red, except blue.

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7 things you might not know about lilies:

  1. Some species (Lilium brownii, Lilium pumilum and Lilium dauricum) have edible bulbs.  They are cultivated for food in Asia, specifically in China, Korea and Japan.
  2. We can find many colors of lilies and some of them have different color tones on the same petal. Often we can see some dots in a darker tone than the rest of petal, these dots are called simply `freckles`.
  3. Lilies have different meanings all over the world. The Chinese believe they bring good luck, whilst in the Assyrian civilization, they were considered to be a holy flower. Greeks associates the lily with motherhood and Christians believe this flower to represent chastity and innocence.Lily (5)Lily (3)
  4. There are many kinds of flowers which have been called “lilies” but many of these such as the day-lily, water-lily, and arum-lily, actually belong to other groups of flowering plants.
  5. In history is said that the Greek God Apollo presented the Lily of the Valley to Aesculapius, the great healer. Today, a number of lily species have health beneficial properties, and certain species contain compounds that are used in medicine. These medicines treat depression, heart disease, angina and anxiety. Additionally, many parts of the world use them to treat a variety of other illnesses, usually in the form of an essential oils or balms. Beauty-wise, certain extracts from the lily can brighten the skin and reduce scars.
  6. Lilies have an extremely long vase life, this can be increased even further by removing the pollen found in the flower. Those who choose to display the lily in their office or homes should embrace this tip.
  7. This plant is highly toxic for some animals. Even small amount of pollen can induce poisoning and can be deadly, especially for cats.

Lily (2)Lily (1)If you want to find out more information or see more pictures, there is another article on my blog about the lilies. Check this link and use the translation button from the right corner of the page: Fleur de lisWatermark in Full Color

Source: Encyclopedia of Garden plants and Flowers by Richard C. & co.

Geamana Lake-an ecological disaster

This month I visited a strange and interesting place in Romania, in Apuseni Mountains. This place is called Geamana and was an old village that today lies under tones of industrial waste. You have to follow a beautiful and wild path in the forest to find this village, but when you arrive there in front of your eyes raise a giant lake. It’s an apocalyptic image of a village flooded in mud surrounded by a beautiful mountain landscape. Most people said that the place is haunted, maybe it is, but nobody died there in the period of the disaster. Maybe the place is haunted by the thoughts of hundreds people who lost there homes and cursed the ones who did this ecological disaster.

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Everything started in 1977 when dictator Nicolae Ceausescu decided to exploit a huge underground copper deposit. The wast from Rosia Poieni copper pit was discharged and the whole village was sunk and turned into a decanting lake. The process slowly progressed in time and 400 families were evacuated from Geamana and their village.

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The slurry, which continues to pour into the valley today, is a result of „froth flotation,” a process used by Rosia Poieni and most other copper mines around the world. Rock rich in copper is ground into powder, then put into baths of bubbling water. The hydrophobic copper flakes cling to air bubbles, creating a coppery froth that is skimmed off the top of the baths. The remaining slurry is discarded. It is this waste that drowned Geamana. And the lake continues to rise, climbing the walls of the valley at the rate of around 1 vertical meter each year. Along with the slurry from the mine, some sections of the runoff lake have turned red as a result of „acid mine drainage.” The acidic red water is a result of rain and springwater running through the minerals exposed by the mine. (source: http://www.rferl.org/a/romania-sinking-village).

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Today, only a few families live in this area, and they are almost completely isolated. From the Geamana village remains few house roofs and the church that can be seen in the middle of the lake.

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Black locust – an extraordinary plant

Robinia pseudoacacia is commonly known as black locust, false acacia or simply locust. Is a medium-sized hardwood deciduous tree endemic to a few small areas of the United States. Because is an invasive species, the locust was easily introduced to other regions like Asia or Europe. When the black locust has been introduced to a new environment, it tends to compete with native species and take over in that environment. This species loves the sun and grows rapidly in open areas with lots of light and no shade, driving other sun-loving plants away.  Also, the black locust’s fragrant white flowers compete for pollinating bees, increasing the competition with native plants.

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Acacia honey is classified as “the best honey”, but is wrong to consider it as the best and most useful. As a matter of fact, there is no bad quality honey, yet it’s true that acacia honey is the most preferred type. The honey is extremely light colored, lemonish white or yellow-green, and if relatively free of other floral sources, it can be very transparent, like liquid glass. The aroma is floral, fruity, delicate, very persistent. The flavor is very sweet, slightly acidic with hints of vanilla and no aftertaste. The flowery notes are noticed best in the finish.

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The name ‘locust’ is said to have been given to Robinia by Jesuit missionaries, who fancied that this was the tree that supported St. John in the wilderness, but it is native only to North America. The locust tree of Spain (Ceratonia siliqua or carob tree), which is also native to Syria and the entire Mediterranean basin, is supposed to be the true locust of the New Testament.

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The Goldfinch in art and symbolism

Hello friends! Today I present you my second painting from the `Birds` collection, `The European goldfinch`. As the previous bird painting, `the blue tit`, this one has a story behind it as well.etsy3The goldfinch is a common European bird, known by its scientific name, Carduelis carduelis. We can find it in Europe, North Africa, and recently was successfully introduced in Australia and New Zealand. The bird is recognized by the colors of its plumage which is golden-brown on the body and red on its head. Goldfinches are commonly kept and bred in captivity as pets, because of their distinctive appearance and pleasant song. Unfortunately, the popularity of goldfinches as a cage bird in Victorian Britain led to huge numbers being trapped to supply demand, causing the population to crash.

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This bird might be common but its symbol is a strong one. It’s not much known that the goldfinch appear in the Christian symbolism. Because of its favorite food, thistle seeds, it is associated with Christ’s Passion and his crown of thorns. The goldfinch appears in many paintings of the Madonna and child, including the Madonna del cardellino or Madonna of the Goldfinch, painted by the Italian renaissance artist, Raphael (1505-1506). The painting represents John the Baptist offering a goldfinch to Christ as a symbol and warning of his future. An other painting with the same name, was painted by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1767-1770). It is also an emblem of endurance, fruitfulness, and persistence. Because it symbolizes the Passion of Christ, the goldfinch is considered a “savior”.

 

(Madonna of the Goldfinch – Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1767-1770) (right), Raphael (1505-1506) (left))

This little bird inspired many artists, not only painters. Antonio Vivaldi, composed a Concerto in D major for Flute “Il Gardellino” (RV 428, Op. 10 No. 3), where the singing of the goldfinch is imitated by a flute. Also, `​The Goldfinch` is title of a novel written by Donna Tartt, who won the Pulitzer prize for fiction, in 2014. A turning point in the plot occurs when the narrator, Theo, sees his mother’s favorite painting, `The Goldfinch` by Carel Fabritius (1654) in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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My own version of the goldfinch is a 13×18 cm oil painting on stretched canvas. If you are interested, you can find the original available on my shop .

etsy3The goldfinches on the railway paling were worth looking at
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Himself in Brazil and these birds the birds of paradise

(The Great Hunger by Patrick Kavanagh)

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