My interpretation was the more modern "four calling birds" so I picked the Purple Finch as a local songbird. Roger Tory Peterson describes them as being "like a sparrow dipped in raspberry jam".The question remains, why call them "purple"? However, nicely colourful as they are, the real bird of the song was a "colly bird". Colly means black as coal and would have been the European Blackbird. Why blackbirds as a gift? Well, as in "Sing a Song of Sixpence", they were food and would have added to the feast for 12th Night - along with the eggs from those Three French Hens. Since the song accumulates, there would eventually be enough colly birds to outdo the four-and-twenty who were baked in the "sixpence" pie. Some see the song simply as a folk song for the festive season that celebrates the feasting and celebration. Others say there is a hidden meaning to it - just like nursery rhymes. For a period of English history, Roman Catholics were not allowed to practice their faith openly. The "12 Days of Christmas" is seen as a secret catechism that could be sung in public. In this interpretation, the four birds stand for the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Loraine Wellman has studied art ever since she was a child and was recommended to classes at the Vancouver Art Gallery.She has a certificate from Vancouver School of Art (now Emily Carr) and a B.Ed from UBC. Exhibitions include Gateway Theatre, Richmond Art Gallery and Richmond City Hall.
Loraine is an Active member of the Federation of Canadian Artists, a member of Richmond Artists Guild, an a regular participant in a Life Drawing group. Her paintings are in collections in Canada, USA, Europe and Taiwan.