Black Bird, Rainy Day, 24″ by 30″, oil on canvas..
detail, Black Bird, Rainy Day
This is a painting of a crow or raven that I saw hopping around in the rainy parking lot of a highway rest stop in Idaho a couple of summer’s ago. I am interested in ravens and crows, which are reputably among the most intelligent birds and display unbelievable problem-solving and cooperative behavior. (Ravens in Winter, by Bernd Heinrich gives and interesting account of the the social behavior of ravens.) Despite my interest in corvids, I started Black Bird, Rainy Day out of interest in the design or formal aspects of the dark bird on a lighter, dappled background. I think the reason that there are so many drawings and paintings of ravens and crows is because they have an interesting shape, with a lot of potential variations that lends them to making interesting designs. Apart from the formal properties of the black on white I was drawn to this image by some feeling that the bird walking along seemed so earnest and purposeful doing whatever it was doing. It made me think of the observation that whatever one is thinking about, by the mere fact that you are thinking about it, seems more important to one than it really is.