If a Japanese Lantern were a Bird

If a Japanese Lantern were a Bird” Neocolor II and Luminance, 15 x 18 cm. May 2022

At the beginning of May I went searching for scarlet robins. I had seen images of them posted in the Facebook group ‘Western Australian Birds’. My mission was to find some of my own so that I could draw them. I did a bit of research and set off for Karnup Nature Reserve where it turned out a pair were waiting for me in the car park!

These striking little black, white and red robins remind me of Japanese lanterns hence the long title of this small drawing. After I thought of the title it occurred to me that it could be the first line of a verse – so I had better compose the verse.

If a Japanese lantern were a bird,
How bright its hues would be,
Illuminating scarlet globe,
Delighting all who see!

Some Japanese lanterns I have known and drawn over the years…

Wafting 2019.
Paper and Neon 2015
Interplay 2015
Minamiza Lantern 2015
The Art of Elegance 2014
Lit Up 2008.
Iluminating Dusk 2006

Now you can see why I had to find a scarlet robin, my Japanese Lantern Bird. This wee Australian bird takes me back to Kyoto.

10 thoughts on “If a Japanese Lantern were a Bird

  1. Joy Rhodes

    It is indeed a beautiful little bird, as are your lanterns. I had no idea we had RED breasted robins here in the West! Always thought they were Europe’s somehow; vastly represented on Christmas cards, of course. Thank you for your constant splashes of colour and inspiration and your tireless interest in all these wonderful little birds that you constantly show us.

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Hi Joy, I didn’t know about our local robins until this year either. It is amazing what you learn if you join that FB group “Western Australian Birds”. (I recommend it.) We also have Red-Capped Robins (which I’m yet to see) and Western Yellow Robins – the latter I saw at Karnup. These are grey with yellow breasts. Our Scarlet Robins are honestly spectacular – they are like Christmas baubles. Oh – and White Breasted Robins as well – I’ve seen those in the south-west. Hugs!

  2. Jean Davies

    Hi Julie,

    I love both your Robin and the verse you made up to go with it. Robins are also my favourite birds, and we have two that live in our garden here in the UK.

    Jean Davies

    Sent from my iPad


    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Hello Jean, your robins are glorious as well. I think all robins are!! I note that in Tasmania there are robins with shocking pink breasts – imagine that – dark grey feathers combined with shocking pink. How I would like to see those in real life. Thank you about the verse – that must be the first verse I have thought up for literally decades. All the best to you!!

  3. xanderest

    What an incredibly darling little bird , Julie ! what fun to link it to the Kyoto lanterns . I feel a story is just waiting to burst out of these images ; well of course you’ve got your poem . I just love connections . a beautiful drawing !


  4. Robyn Varpins

    maybe it is also the fragile nature of the paper lanterns that is like the tiny birds. And their luminosity is like the flash of colour of these restless “spirit” creatures.

  5. anna warren portfolio

    It is the glow of this little bird that reminds me of a lantern, as if it has an internal light source. What a beautiful little creature! We really are blessed with the diversity of our birdlife aren’t we, and especially you in the west!

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Not only us in the west. My interest has been captured by pink robins that people on Australian bird FB sites are showing. Dark grey feathers with bright pink breasts – found in Victoria and Tasmania (not sure about other places but not here).


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