“Into Darkness Peering.” Painted November 2022. 16”x16”. Acrylic on stretched Canvas.
Ravens visit our stretch of the coast each year, usually when the Eagles are away fishing during the early Fall salmon runs. They roost in the tall Alder trees at the bottom of the ramp, so it’s easy to sit quietly and listen to them vocalize. There is something fascinating about the wide variety of clicks and whistles that ravens make when talking to each other and there is undisputable intelligence in those ink black eyes. I never planned to become a birder, but something about this coast and its abundant bird life made that happen anyway. I guess it’s just a matter of time before I buy myself a Tilley hat and start squatting down behind bushes for hours on end.
I’ve wanted to do a raven painting for a while but considering that they are a staple of west coast art, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to do it justice. Since I like a challenge, I chose a reference photo that featured the bird with plenty of feather’s askew and simplified the background so that it becomes more texture and colour, allowing the raven itself to stand out.
This painting is also painted on an old, repurposed canvas, so it has a lot of interesting base texture built into its foundation. I love how the golden, orange background sings and pushes the dark blues of the raven forward. The background involved layering many yellows, oranges and rust to build a hazy texture and then I glazed the painting with Nickel Azo Gold to make it glow.
Like many of my paintings, I went through a period where I didn’t think the painting would resolve itself. Fortunately, I didn’t give up on it and I like the results. It looks great hanging in the dining room where the afternoon light really makes it come alive.