A Murder of Crows

Artwork details: Gouache, with gold leaf over a red ground., 22.5 x 11 inches (57 x 28 cm), 2011.

If you are interested in the process of making this painting, and in particular the handling of the gold leaf, have a look at this facebook album:http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150358116315730.398719.22600840729 A Murder of Crows - gouache and gold leaf

This painting was inspired by the term 'A Murder of Crows' - a 'Murder' being, of course, the correct collective noun for a bunch of crows. There are a lot of very fanciful and inventive collective nouns. I once remember hearing that the Victorians were fond of making them up, and of course a quick scan around the internet will reveal that people are still avidly inventing new ones. However, a Murder of Crows is a collective noun of some venerability, whose origins are, apparently, lost in the mists of the mists of the 15th century: http://www.word-detective.com/2009/02/22/murder-of-crows-etc/. A curious and unsettling expression handed down through the centuries, it's one of my favourite collective nouns, though perhaps there are others that are suitable subjects for a painting... I must do a little research.

A Murder of Crows - close-up

This painting, I will admit, was uncommonly hard work for me because of its lack of colour. I thought of this painting as executed in a range of sludge-colours, which is a little unfair, now I see the final result. At one point I broke the rules and we have a small but feisty character in a red corset. Maybe she is a robin, a feisty bird itself. Or maybe I just added the splash of red to balance the striking whites of the magpie-like characters towards the right of the picture. Magpies, of course, are a kind of crow, with a great deal of suspicious stories attached to them. I leave the interpretation up to you.

A Murder of Crows - close-up 3

Below you will find several very much enlarged sections of the painting to show you some very close-up details

A Murder of Crows - close-up 4 A Murder of Crows - close-up 5 A Murder of Crows - close-up 6 A Murder of Crows - close-up 7 A Murder of Crows - close-up 8

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