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Friday, May 23, 2008

The Crow in Watercolor

The dapper crow is considered a great big pest where I live, and for a great many reasons.

Every fall, our skies are filled with murders of crows as they migrate southward into our lovely warm climate here at the bottom of Ontario. It's quite amazing really - I've consulted our bird guide and up to 90,000 crows may roost together on any given winter night. I know this is true because on cold evening walks I've been awestruck by the sight of previously barren trees seemingly alive with black foliage on every limb. It's quite a sight!

They are opportunistic feeders: not only do they out-compete pretty songbirds for the food I might leave out, but why stop there? They'll happily dine on eggs and nestlings too, little bugs (with or without wings) and of course, the big draw to our residential area: human food waste! On garbage day, they bring in all their friends and tailgate on the garbage can lids that they artfully knock off the cans.

So why have I chosen to immortalize these fiendish creatures in watercolor? In spite of the above? Or maybe because they appear so intelligent in the way they've adapted to us. Where many birds, like the cowbirds (which I was ever so lucky to spot a few days ago - I'll expound on that when I have a painting for you) have suffered from human development, here the Crow has positively flourished! How smart and street-savvy they are, despite considerable human efforts (over many generations) to reduce their numbers.

I like how my Birds of Ontario guidebook sums it up:"Crows are ecological generalists"

Of course, the real reason I just had to try my hand at painting a crow is pretty simple - as anyone who has dabbled in watercolor knows, the challenge of painting very dark subjects can be rather daunting. I simply felt like a challenge!

6 comments:

Kim said...

this is a great portrayal of the Canadian Crow Christy...
and I enjoyed reading your story about them too....
I painted a crow in oils a few years back....but I don't have a pic of it...drat...
ps congratulations (again)to you on getting runner up in the art comp....SUPER job !!!!

Christy DeKoning said...

Thank you Kim - it was a fun comp and I look forward to your next contest!

I really miss seeing the skies in Queensland alive with both black and sulphur-crested cockatoos in the evening - oh the sound!!! The Galahs were beautiful too...
But I don't miss magpies swooping down on me lol :-)

Karen Faulkner said...

I love the background color you chose for this. It is a very nice contrast against the black.

Christy DeKoning said...

thank you Karen. Cerulean blue is one of my most-used colors. I just love it, and the way it mixes so well with a variety of different yellows. I also use it to neutralize my pink & yellows in portraits.

anabellster said...

Beautiful!!!! You make me want to experiement with watercolor.

* mY fRiEnDs cALL mE Rella * said...

Wow, this is fabulous! My first visit here and I was struck my your command of the darker colors that you did so very well. Love this piece and the snippets of information. Fabulous.

Rella