I was enamored by hummingbirds the first time I saw one as a little girl. The iridescence of their feathers when the light hit them and the whir and buzz of their wings excited and delighted me.

I became interested in painting hummingbirds when I learned of their symbolism later in life. While traveling in Latin America, I learned that the colibri (hummingbird) is a symbol of strength, hope and migration. It is also believed in many cultures to be the messenger between the living and the dead.

It brings me great comfort to think of messages being delivered from family and friends on the other side. What better way to keep the spirit of a loved one alive than to think of them every time we see a hummingbird- observing with wonder and being open to communication.

My hummingbird paintings include objects or memories that remind me of lost loved ones. Some hummingbirds might be paired with a teacup that my grandmother gave me, or cotton bolls that signify the main crop of West Texas where I grew up. All are created to bring solace and joy.

Janie Lowe