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 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.

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

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.

Nichole Yanota’s Brilliant Natural World

Raised in the foothills of the Sonoran Desert, Nichole Yanota was greatly influenced by the brilliance of her natural world; the blossoming cactus a perfect coexistence of the fragile and the fierce. In early life, her drawings rose to the challenge of recording emotions and experiences, and became her voice for expressing ideals. She left the desert for the mountains in 2006 and now resides in the beautiful Crowsnest Pass, Alberta. She describes her work as “exploring nature’s connection to the human spirit”.

Each piece is meticulously lined, and pops with bold shape and color. We are particularily fond of the piece above, titled ‘Autumn’s Ravens’

For more, visit her website at www.njyartwork.ca or her Etsy shop



Aves Artiste: Anne-Julie Aubry

Anne Julie Aubry is a French artist and illustrator who’s work depicts dark whimsy with a humble self portraiture. Crows and blackbirds appear often in her paintings, inspired by her personal environment, childhood, and dreams.

She is a distant dreamer, a sleepwalker on the lookout, a traveller from the shadows who loves labyrinths and unanswered enigmas, fairy tales and girls with white socks. At night, her heroines are lost in a nebulous kingdom full of dragonflies and snowflakes.

Visit her Artist Gallery , Blog , and Etsy Shop

In the Nest

Featured Reading

In the Company of Crows and Ravens In the Company of Crows and Ravens by John M. Marzluff. Read our review here!
Buy new: $29.28 / Used from: $7.50
Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays by Candace Savage
Buy used from: $24.48
Ravensong: A Natural And Fabulous History Of Ravens And Crows Ravensong: A Natural And Fabulous History Of Ravens And Crows by Catharine Feher-Elston
Buy new: $10.85 / Used from: $5.17

A truly great book on corvids!
The Best of Poe: The Tell-Tale Heart, The Raven, The Cask of Amontillado, and 30 Others The Best of Poe: The Tell-Tale Heart, The Raven, The Cask of Amontillado, and 30 Others by Edgar Allan Poe
Buy new: $4.99 / Used from: $2.16

Featured Trinkets

Armani Exchange Feather Charm Necklace Amethyst necklace, 'Light as a Feather' 17.1" L
Armani Exchange Feather Charm Necklace
Amethyst necklace, ‘Light as a Feather’ 17….
ALEX AND ANI- Russian Silver Quill Feather …

Fore more, check out our shop!

If you create Black-Feathered or avian inspired art, clothing, accessories, or decor and would like to have your items featured here, or sold through our store, please Contact Us!

Featured Artist: Craww

Graphic designer and artist, Craww plies his trade from the fair city of Sheffield in the UK. Craww likes ambiguity. Pretty things in dark places, nasty things masquerading in beauty, hidden stories and happy accidents. He likes skulls, tattoos, crows and melancholic girls with big hands. Combining Photoshop with pencil, paint, way too much spilt ink and whatever else is at hand, he aims to bring his stream of consciousness doodlings to life with a mix of elegance, balance and disciplined chaos.

His dark and creepy imagry appears in traditional art pieces, t-shirts, and wall graphics from Blik.


Wall Graphics


For more, visit http://www.craww.com/