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A murder of crows

Still freshly smitten from visiting Maine with the Farnsworth Museum full of Andrew Wyeth’s sketches and paintings, and the Olson house, where he painted over 300 paintings, I decided I should take some of Andy’s unspoken advice and study my subjects a little more. For some reason I wanted to study crows.

In real life, the green painting is more yellow —- The blue painting is done on blue paper

It appears that the yellow background of the last painting has been muted by my scanner..

Crows are ubiquitous wildlife in Seattle. They are noisy, they are devious, smart, and really wild. They are iconic. The Inuit tribe believed that it was crow who brought the daylight back to them after the long dark winter.
But I digress. I wanted to use the crow to enhance the mood of my paintings, so study them I did. I tried to entice them to approach me with offerings of food. Nothing doing. They waited until I walked away, then they’d strafe the ground, pick up all the food faster than I could turn around and take two steps towards them! As you can see, I did benefit from their presence however. Although each of these paintings needs a home, they are also studies for perhaps some more profound painting that I have not yet realized.
Stay tuned, I’m going to have a contest..

Of course you know I always like to hear from you so feel free to comment. Which of these paintings is your favorite?

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  1. September 13th, 2010 at 17:58 | #1

    I have never been great with watercolors but I love painting birds in acrylics. I have done several. Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. AynE
    September 9th, 2010 at 14:42 | #2

    Yes, we have ravens as well that are three times the size of the crows. There is a pair that show up to be fed when it gets really bad in the winter but they are not as friendly as the crows. The flock I feed started with two crows, one who had only one leg and the other was missing half of it’s upper beak. I felt sorry for them and fed them, over the years they brought their kids, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. Crows are very family oriented with last year’s fledglings staying on for a year to help feed and care for this year’s babies so after 9 years I have quite a family to care for. They leave during the summer except for a few of the “town birds”, but starting in September they start to come back. I know winter is coming when the crows come home.

  3. AynE
    September 9th, 2010 at 09:48 | #3

    I love your crows, the one in the school yard is, to me the best crow of the lot yet I like the tree in the fourth picture. We have a tremendous population of crows here in Kodiak and I feed most of them. Crows are incredibly smart and they also have a sense of humor. They know you want something from them, my advice on making friends with crows is this, put the food down, back up and stand still. Talk to them, I talk to “mine” all the time. I call them when I put their supper out and within 1 minute of putting the call out, they come flocking. Once they realize that you mean them no harm, you will be able to take pictures, walk among them and pretty much be one of the flock. It takes a little time but it is well worth the effort. They are amazing birds and definitely my favorites.

    • admin
      September 9th, 2010 at 09:50 | #4

      Ayn, I think my mistake was trying to make friends in a school yard. They’ve probably been harassed by children there. I talked to them and called them every day while I approached them with food. I need to spend more time doing it. You also have ravens, do you not?

  4. September 5th, 2010 at 21:08 | #5

    I love your crow series ! Such personalities. Brava.

  5. Les
    September 1st, 2010 at 08:33 | #6

    Nice work, Mimi. Crows, while being akin to pigeons as the ever present urban bird (crows are vivid rural birds, as well), have a wonderful dark, ominous quality. It was the crow in the great John Boorman movie, Excalibur, that seemed to bring all omens of dread. In countless other films, crows have been portrayed as, at the worst, evil itself, and in the least, purveyors of mischief. I have personally not seen many portrayals of crows as messengers of Grace, as is often the dove. But, I’m sure that crows don’t actually deserve this “dark” rep. They are more the victim of their jet black plumage for this reputation than any actual deeds. Crows are, after all, just birds, and can be beautiful ones.

  6. Marguerite
    August 31st, 2010 at 10:21 | #7

    This is a great series! They remind me of Henry. The blue one is definitely my fav. I like the realism and clean lines. The composition is simple and strong — I enjoy the contrast between the sky and the fence. The lower right one: the texture of the tree and the composition give it a traditional asian art feel.

  7. August 31st, 2010 at 07:56 | #8

    It’s really hard to choose a favorite. I like the fourth because I like the tree in it. I like the first because it seems to show the “personality” of the crow. I also like the second because it’s just so well done. If you’re wondering what I think of the third, I like it too.

  8. Mari
    August 31st, 2010 at 07:23 | #9

    Hey Mimi,

    Crows, crows, crows. I love them and do them a lot in quilting. Here in Arkansas crows are king. Annie used to chase them from the ground watching them in the sky as she did not want them flying over her field. They loved to glide above her enjoying the game and she loved barking them away or at least that’s what she thought. The first crow is my choice. This is a crow with a mission on it’s mind.


  9. August 31st, 2010 at 07:19 | #10

    I like them all, the bottom left is my fave. You continue to grow…isn’t that wonderful?

  10. August 31st, 2010 at 03:59 | #11

    This are great Mimi. Favourite… the two on the left but I like them all.

    My scanner doesn’t like yellow either, especially my hated moleskin with its creamy pages.

  11. August 30th, 2010 at 19:58 | #12

    Wonderful, Mimi…you have really captured the essence of these birds. I don’t know about Seattle, but in the Los Angeles area we feel like we are being taken over by crows. It is amazing how many grace our telephone wires and call out to each other…like a crow convention. My favorite…the 3rd one!

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