Birds, flocks of birds, started showing up in my paintings some time after I began this project. Sometimes they were wheeling and diving in large numbers. Sometimes there were just a few and they were more gentle. In my mind they were generic “blackbirds”. Lately, as thunderstorms have begun to figure in my compositions, the birds have become Crows and the term “Stormcrow” has attached itself to them. I remember this term from Tolkein’s “Lord of the Rings”. It had a negative connotation, signifying one who was a bringer of war, feasting on men’s flesh. Similar, now that I think of it, to the Nazgul.
I have never associated Crows with negativity but have always found them to be fascinating creatures. I wonder, given that I seem to find them associated with feminine goddesses in mythology, whether the negative associations are due to that gendered association. Men hated them because they spoke of possible failure and ignominious death on the battlefield. It’s curious and something I’d like to pursue further. In my copious spare time.
My significant other looked at this painting before the Crows made an appearance this morning and said, “What, no birds?”
“They haven’t decided if they want to show up,” I answered, “They’re mocking me.”
Which was, it seems, all they were waiting for. As soon as the sentence was out of my mouth, I felt the urge to pick up the paintbrush and add them, gleefully whirling out of the storm cloud. It happens this way often.
(© Karen Opp. All rights reserved.)