Partridge Family

The first quail I ever saw was on the sidewalk, not half a block from Club Mud. I don't know what had happened to it--didn't seem to have hit a car or window, but it was definitely unconscious. I took it inside, made a bed of a clay box and towel, set it under a work lamp for warmth. It was a cold early morning on a kiln-firing day, and by the time the local wildlife rehab center answered the phone, it had already died.

I happened to have my sketchbook with me, so took some time to do a drawing. I remember noticing the topknot seemed undersized, and not curving into the classic comma shape, so I think I had a hen, or possibly a juvenile.

Didn't see another quail until years later, when we visited friends in Arizona. Suburban Scottsdale in February seems to be prime quail habitat: every time we came around a corner, a partridge family of hen and chicks was single-filing their way across the road. I took to driving very slowly; they were beyond adorable.

I've painted a few quail on pottery, primarily on commission for a professional guide some years ago. I've recently gotten a couple of requests for them again, so I think it's time to resume painting quail. I'm thinking pie plates, dessert plates, serving bowls.

We'll see what else comes around.