“I am No. 3” Geospiza parvula, Small tree finch of the Galapagos considers an illustration by John Gould
Mineral pigments and India ink
Fresco secco (dry plaster method) on burlap
Known collectively as “Darwin’s finches,” the Geospiza genus are endemic to the Galapagos islands– and are taxonomically in flux, currently placed with tanagers (Monroe and Sibley 1993). When Darwin returned from his second HMS Beagle voyage, he brought the finch-like specimens to expert ornithologist John Gould, who identified them as new species. After years puzzling over insights from his voyage, including his “finches” variations and their apparent origins in South America, Darwin published “On the Origin of Species”. The other species of Geospiza include: large cactus finch, sharp-beaked ground finch, vampire finch (!), small ground finch, large ground finch, and common cactus finch.
I find these details fascinating. I painted “I am No. 3” because it makes me happy that these historic “finches” are alive and well, in the Galapagos… World-famous with a special place in science, just being birds all the while.
The original Geospiza illustration is by John Gould.