Akiko Watanabe’s Ravens

Akiko Watanabe was born and raised in Japan. She studied electrical engineering, Japanese art and culture, and English, and became a professional technical translator of English and Japanese. In 1981 she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where she and her husband share their home with their large family of rescued cats, who are often the models for her art.

Akiko was always interested in art and is self-taught in painting. Her media include acrylics, watercolor, and pastel, and her favorite subjects include cats and wildlife, sometimes with a Japanese theme. Her ravens and crows are depicted in loving detail and vivid color, giving life to this otherwise mostly despised Japanese icon.

You can purchase prints from Akiko at her Etsy shop.








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Raven Art of Michael Pape

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and self-taught, Michael Pape finds many beautiful things such as animals and nature that inspire his paintings. Always fascinated by realistic painting styles, Michael’s ability to portray dramatic realism in his paintings takes the viewer to a place where they would like to go, but normally cannot. In trying to capture this realism, each painting’s execution can take months, or even more than a year, to finish in either acrylic or a combination of mediums.

As a result, the demand for his original artwork far exceeds his ability to create.

Michael is committed to the conservation of the animals and places he paints through his art.

He has raised much needed funds by contributing artwork, as well as pledging 5% of all sales of selected limited edition prints, such as “Solitary Watch – Snow Leopard” and “Ghost of a Chance – Snow Leopard”, to the Snow Leopard Trust. Also 5% of all sales of his limited edition print “A Perfect World – Amur leopard” (the most critically endangered cat in the world) goes to the Amur leopard Conservation Program.

Michael has volunteered in the past at animal rehab organizations such as Wildcare in Ontario, Canada who rehabilitate wild animals. Michael has also raised funds for the Canadian Endangered Species Fund of Canada as well as Ducks Unlimited Canada through the sales of his limited edition prints.


My hope is to connect with you, the viewer, through my paintings, to bring awareness of the beauty and significance of animals and the natural environment in which they live, thus enriching your life with meaning and purpose. – Michael


View Michael’s gallery and purchase prints here.

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Karen Bondarchuk Crows: Scavenging Scavengers

Karen Bondarchuk, assistant professor of art, will be one of about 30 members of Western Michigan University’s Gwen Frostic School of Art faculty and staff who’ll display pieces in the annual art faculty exhibit, which opened on Thursday and runs through Dec. 23. The works will range from oil on canvas and mixed media to sculpture and, well, crows.  Karen originally began sculpting the birds from scavenged tire, wood, and polystyrene. “I’d see a heap of tires on the side of the road, and I’d imagine a claw sticking up in the air,” she said. “Crows are scavengers by nature, and so am I.”


Corvus Deflatus


Karen’s current sculpture and drawing work, focused exclusively on crows and ravens, examines the complex, interwoven relationship between humans and corvids.  Her artwork has been exhibited widely in the United States, as well as in Canada, Italy and England.

“Using tire scraps and an automobile headlamp, Autogenesis contemporizes the Haida and Tsimshian myth of the raven stealing the sun. Most traditional Native American and First Nations myths recognize the intelligence of these creatures by ascribing complex attributes to crows and ravens. These myths often include a corvid’s ability to shape-shift, wherein the bird will take on human qualities in order to achieve a goal or procure some desired object (which is typically shiny or luminous). The title alludes to both the process of autogeny (organic organisms developing from inorganic matter) and this raven’s genesis from automobile tires, while the form is suggestive of both a prize trophy head and a portal through which this raven is seemingly unable to pass.”




Of her painted body of work, Karen says,”The large charcoal raven portraits in this body of work— Speak, Memory and others—are scaled with the intention of creating a meeting of minds or reciprocity: in as much as we are contemplating these brainy birds, they seem to be equally contemplating us. The stark, high contrast and large scale also demands our attention and consideration (as birds in the corvid family—crows, blue jays, rooks, magpies, jackdaws, ravens, etc.—so often do), while the emphasis on individuality and personality with each portrait challenges the generalities we may have regarding what a raven is. ”

Speak,Memory IV

“The title of this series is from Vladimir Nabokov’s autobiographical memoir called Speak, Memory, and relates to my desire to understand the true nature of these highly intelligent creatures, as well as the futility of my desire to do so. In my ongoing research of crows and ravens, I have had various encounters with verbal corvids, including Julian the incredible talking raven (“who’s a good bird”), Blue, the feisty imprinted blue jay that imitates meowing cats and door alarms, and a cursing green-eyed British jackdaw, and I am struck by the fact that their ability to speak makes these birds even more inscrutable. The language they utter doesn’t speak of them or their memories, but of us and our desire to understand these intelligent creatures on human terms.”

Crow Magnus



Bondarchuk’s contribution to the art show is a six-foot charcoal-and-ink drawing titled, “In Defense of a Stolen Golfball” which was inspired by a story she heard about ravens stealing balls from a Virginia golf course.

“The ravens were fascinated by the golf balls. In this, the raven is defending itself.”


Karen Bondarkchuck’s In Defense of the Golf Ball


You may follow Karen by visiting her website at www.karenbondarchuk.com.


Raven the Egg Thief

Beth Surdut

This month’s Zenchilada expands beyond yummy mexican fusion gastronomy and heads into the mystical mind of Beth Surdut. The Santa Fe Raven Artista and Storyteller Extraordinaire, is featured on page 58.

She tells an engaging story of friendship and observation, a whimsical study of Raven behavior in her desert home.

“The Egg Thief swoops in at least once a day to check on the chicken egg situation. Today, even in the winds so brisk the house was howling, he took one egg of the two I placed on the rock fountain and brought it over to his mate, who was hopping impatiently in the budding desert. These birds have yet to connect me with the eggs, but have figured out where I place the treats and that sometimes I do it more than once a day. Patience.”

To read more, head over to the Zenchilada and click the 3rd dot on the bottom.

You can keep up with Beth and her egg experiments on her blog.


Linda Jarvis: Birds of a Feather

The Red Door

“Today I heard a raven in the distance. As he flew over me he sent out his throaty, gravelly call. I called back, pretty nicely I might add, but he kept going without answering. However, as he flew by, the whispers of his wings pushing the air landed so quietly on my ears it nearly took my breath away. So magical is that moment when that sound barely breaks the silence, but it is enough to make my heart race.”

Crow Cube

Linda Jarvis is a mixed media ‘evolutionary’ artist from Washington state, USA who’s tangible style and charming execution pays perfect homage to her favorite subject matter: Crows and Ravens.

Moon Comes to Steal Raven

“They appear in my work frequently as  an indication of my passion for them. The attraction of shiny objects is large in their appetite for mischief so collecting is one of their all time favorite pass times. Here raven protects precious treasures from the rising moon, as the goods are emulated making it all the easier to steal them.”

Dreams of Flight

Each of her multi-dimensional pieces reflects a multi-dimensional message of the subconscious whim and the conscious framing of our realities. On the subject of her chosen symbol, she says,”This species of birds is one of my favorite. I am delighted with their intelligence and impressed with their genius and mastery of tasks.

For this piece I used a wonderful block of wood with diminishing red paint. I have a fetish, of sorts, for weathered remnants of painted wood I pick up on our beaches. They possess so much character and bring interesting qualities when used in various applications.”

Midnight Thief

“With all the thievery we see in the behavior of crows and ravens, keeping an eye on all our shiny objects, such as keys, would be diligent on our part, lest we lose them to these clever Corvidaes. This piece, MID-MIGHT THEIF, suggests this mischievous act.

Identity Theft

“The image of the piece above is titled IDENTITY THEFT. It has always intrigued me how blue jays can mimic various bird’s songs and/or calls in the attempt to fool the other birds and scare them from their nests. It stirred up in my mind this image of a blue jay trying to steal the identity of a crow. It always puts a smile on my face when I hear a blue jay mocking other birds and I think to myself, how clever is that! But, then again, how deceiving. That being said, crows are very clever and intelligent in their own right.”

Our favorite piece: Masquerade Gone A-Foul

To follow Linda, visit her blog here.

Raven the Trickster

Raven the Trickster by  Canadian poet Gail Robinson is a collection of myths from the Native Americans of the Pacific North West coast of America and Canada originally published in 1982 and set for re-release this fall (you can also find it in your local library in North America). These are some of the wonderful illustrations for this book by Joanna Troughton.

Rachel Rolseth’s Ravens

Rachel Rolseth was raised in suburban Minnesota, USA, and now lives in Minneapolis, where Ravens are a common sight among the remaining Elm treetops, and crows take over the parks en-masse.

“Painting is my passion, my therapy and sometimes my soapbox. Mostly though, painting is a way for me to exaggerate the beauty that already exists in the world and to share that vision with others. It is no wonder that I paint mostly women, birds and flowers, which I find to be three of the most magnificent and beautiful things in existence.

I like to use acrylic paint and bright, saturated colors. My paintings are usually made in many different layers, beginning with a base layer that can be seen through the holes in other layers.”

Her prolific Crow and Raven works can be viewed and followed on her blog or website. Selected works will also be available at the Maple Grove Art Fair on September 18th and 19th, so if you are in or near the Twin Cities, be sure to stop by!

To purchase any of Rachel’s lovely art online, visit her Etsy Shop. (We have featured her items on our Etsy Under 30$ wall as well!)

Crowbergs & Crow Dreams by Meri C Fox-Szauter

Meri C Fox-Szauter has been observing one flock of crows for almost a decade, working from her car studio every day at Acadia National Park, Maine in the North-East USA. Her break through work in drawing crows came a few winters ago when they would land on the asphalt, “…they would fluff out their skirts and become crowbergs. That inspired my series Floating on the Asphalt Sea, which morphed into Winter Crows.”

On the flock, Meri comments,”One of my crows, whom I call Solo boo, stands out in particular and always seems to be separate from the rest of the flock.   He will be the first bird to arrive once I get to my spot each day and will be the one just hanging around while I’m there.   The others in the flock tolerate him, true, but he’s always seemed a bit apart from them all. I’m most pleased to note that in the past two springs, Solo seems to have found a mate.  Now the two of them are the ones I see the most.”

Shelter from Winter Crows

“As I’m sure you know, crows get tucked up under canopy and make this soft oooooh-oooooh sound.  I started responding to that a few years ago, saying boooooo-boooooo, and now the oldest ones greet me (in winter and early spring) with their own variations of the boo-boo sound I make.   Solo boo, is I think the best at it; his booo-boos is the most articulated.   One of the birds just makes the head bob and clicks his beak, but that’s how I know who it is I’m speaking to.”

“The most inspiring thing about this flock (and I’d guess all of them) is how they work together.   There’s always one bird on guard; they have a strategy whenever the resident merlin goes after them, in that one of the crows leads the merlin on a chase with the rest dive bombing the predator.  The only season of the year where they won’t sit around me and preen or allow me to watch is, of course, when the young are out and about (this years batch just screams and hollers when they see me!). This particular flock is comfortable around me enough that in the winter they will sit in the sun around my car while I sit inside it and draw. ”



Cosmopolitan Crows



To keep up with Meri and her work, visit her website at www.wallofthorns.com

Andrea Pratt “Corvus”

Life Death and Dinner

Andrea Pratt is a Vancouver, Canada native with more than 9 years of skill building and inspiration. She has worked in both photography and teaching and is now a full time artist.  Enchanted by the resident magi of Vancouver and all of BC , the carrion crow, her art reflects their mastery of their domain in a story-book way.

Flight Path

“I have a passion for symbolic imagery, colour relationships, organic forms and patterns. Being lucky enough to live where I do, the inspiration for most of my paintings and drawings is rooted in the natural world but I like to combine imagery in unexpected ways to create pieces in a highly distinctive style. Using my camera (currently a Nikon D70) almost every day has taught me to see possibilities everywhere. I love tribal/ethnographic art and admire the elemental nature, strength and symbolism in its motifs and images.”

Top Seed

Andrea’s collection tells an original story celebrating the nature of her environment, with a heavy focus on corvids, dream-like landscapes, and our favorite series – her Celtic Lunar Tree tiles. Each piece is beautifully composed and vibrant. View the entire series here.


Autumn Elder

If you live in or are travelling to the Vancouver, B.C. area, you can check out or buy Andrea Pratt pieces at any of the following galleries.

1033 – 7th Avenue Box 2322
Invermere, B.C. V0A 1K0
Telephone: 250.341.6877
Hours: Mon-Sat 10-5:30
Sun 12-4

Suite 201 – 938 Howe Street
Vancouver, B.C. V6Z 1N9
Telephone: 604.728.2249

216 East 28th Avenue
Vancouver, B.C. V5V 2M4
Telephone: 604.876.2785
Hours: Wed-Sat 11-6
Sun 11-5

Alice Richard’s Dreamland

Dreamland is a series from illustrator Alice Richard inspired by the poem by Edgar Allan Poe, intended to accompany the spectacle by the same name played by EidÔloN.

As is commonplace with Poe, Crows and Ravens make an appearance throughout the series without having to be intriduced formally by the words.

[one_half]By a route obscure and lonely,
Haunted by ill angels only,
Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,
On a black throne reigns upright,
I have reached these lands but newly
From an ultimate dim Thule-
From a wild clime that lieth, sublime,
Out of SPACE- out of TIME.

Bottomless vales and boundless floods,
And chasms, and caves, and Titan woods,
With forms that no man can discover
For the tears that drip all over;
Mountains toppling evermore
Into seas without a shore;
Seas that restlessly aspire,
Surging, unto skies of fire;
Lakes that endlessly outspread
Their lone waters- lone and dead,-
Their still waters- still and chilly
With the snows of the lolling lily.

By the lakes that thus outspread
Their lone waters, lone and dead,-
Their sad waters, sad and chilly
With the snows of the lolling lily,-
By the mountains- near the river
Murmuring lowly, murmuring ever,-
By the grey woods,- by the swamp
Where the toad and the newt encamp-
By the dismal tarns and pools
Where dwell the Ghouls,-[/one_half]
[one_half_last]By each spot the most unholy-
In each nook most melancholy-
There the traveller meets aghast
Sheeted Memories of the Past-
Shrouded forms that start and sigh
As they pass the wanderer by-
White-robed forms of friends long given,
In agony, to the Earth- and Heaven.

For the heart whose woes are legion
‘Tis a peaceful, soothing region-
For the spirit that walks in shadow
‘Tis- oh, ’tis an Eldorado!
But the traveller, travelling through it,
May not- dare not openly view it!
Never its mysteries are exposed
To the weak human eye unclosed;
So wills its King, who hath forbid
The uplifting of the fringed lid;
And thus the sad Soul that here passes
Beholds it but through darkened glasses.

By a route obscure and lonely,
Haunted by ill angels only,
Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,
On a black throne reigns upright,
I have wandered home but newly
From this ultimate dim Thule.[/one_half_last]

You can view the entire series here or visit Alice Richard’s gallery here.