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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John Cusack & The Raven

We have news of John Cusack’s upcoming film “The Raven” which will be directed by James McTeigue.  Cusack is starring as Edgar Allan Poe in  a fictionalized story about Poe teaming up with a detective (played by Luke Evans) to search for a serial killer who has kidnapped the author’s fiancée (Alice Eve) and gone on a murder spree that recalls Poe’s stories.

 

 

Click here for Steve’s interview with McTeigue where the director talks about the film.

Scarecrows – Scary or Wary?

The scarecrow is commonly associated with modern references like the Wizard of Oz and Batman, but its original purpose was to discourage birds such as crows or magpies from disturbing and feeding on recently cast seed and growing crops.The earliest reference is in Japanese lore (circa 700 AD) in which a Kuebiko is depicted as adiety which knows everything of the world from its unmoving location among the fields.

By Drake1024

 

Yet, maybeall is not asit appears. First, was the scarecrow reallyonly a utilitarian object used for its stated purpose?

According to Occult View, “In agrarian societies farmers lived close to their land andtheir natural world, unlike today’s modern corporate farms…which is why the scarecrow would seem pointless, since it does not really scare crows!Farmersknewthis.”

Today we are learning anew just how intelligent crows and ravens are. As we’ve seen in studies documented by PBS since 2009, (and again just last night in Nature’s Crows special), Crows and their cousins never forget a face.Farmers skilled in the art of olde probably knew this.After all, if a crow can remember you and I, they are quite capable of recognizing the ol’ tattie bogle that hasn’t moved an inch since he showed up. They are also not fooled by plastic owls. So why the continued use of bogeymen?

By Radojavor

 

“Perhaps one possible purpose of the scarecrow was notjust to scare away birds, but to mark the land as belonging to the farmer. Or if a serf, to the land’s lord.Stay out!The idea of hanging bodies as a warning was used in the past. The ancient Romans left crucified prisoners to send a message to their population. The infamous Vlad the Impaler impaled prisoners of war as a gruesome warning. The scarecrow, impaled and crucified, could have served a similar, if less graphic, purpose.Call it a Scareman.

Farms were always subject to the whims of nature, and the farmer lived at the mercy of a capricious environment. A drought or flood could result in starvation. An infestation of pests could devastate crops, a plague destroy the livestock. The scarecrow could also have served as an effigy, a form of substitute human sacrifice. The scarecrow would be offered to the natural world in place of the living, that nature might be sated.Like the gargoyles on the gothic cathedral, the scarecrow might have been a hex to protect the farm from harm andkeep evil spirits away.”

Odin’s Ravens

Odin’s Ravens

In Norse mythology, Odin hung upside down from the world-tree Yggdrasil in order to attain enlightenment. He had to suffer greatly for his wisdom. After nine days Odin achieved his goal and discovered the Runes, died and was reborn, freed from the tree but at the cost of one of his eyes.Sufferingbefore spiritual growth is a theme in many religions.

To complete the circle, Odin was linked to his two ravens, Huginn (thought) and Muninn (memory), which travel the world giving Odin information. Here ravens represent the power of the mind as they perch on Odin’s shoulder whispering in his ears. As crows perch on the scarecrow, grantingthem theadvantage of sight over the fields.

Fast forward a bit to the dark ages. In folklore from the British isles, crows were considered omens of doom and death. If crows were considered bad omens, then using a scarecrow to banish them seems to have a metaphysical as well as a practical purpose.

These symbolic supernatural attributes are a reflection of the genuinevirtues of the crow.They are mischievous,enterprising, adaptive, and highly communicative, and the scarecrow represents not the will of man to ‘scare’ them away, but that man was scared of the crow.

As the ages wear on, methods change, and scarecrows have joined the ranks among the legends and folktale pasttimes, existing only as lonely halloween decorations.

Today, highly reflective aluminized PET film ribbons are tied to the plants to create shimmers from the sun, a futuristic approach to pest problems, however we all know how much corvids like shiny things.

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!)

Kerri Fuhr Glass

Kerri Fuhr is a Canadian glass bead artist specializing in miniature portraits of whimsical animals. She uses a variety of materials such as antique ivory and Italian glass. This bead was handcrafted with Italian glass and wound on a 3/32″ mandrel. The raven is made from thin glass “stringer” and is melted directly into the bead.

To view her collection or get on of your very own one of a kind  pieces, click here.