The Naming of a Painting of a Raven

WIP Raven painting by Helen Shideler

The as of yet un-named, unfinished painting of a raven

There are three names for a group of ravens.  Unkindness.   Conspiracy.  Constable.  When I embark on painting a series I do quite a bit of research on the subject, in this case ravens.  I like to title my paintings with meaning whenever possible, especially if I can come up with a name that includes tongue-in-cheek humour.  And I know ravens are important in the culture of First Nations (and I have this lineage on my mother’s side) so my curiosity is naturally piqued.

An “Unkindness”, well they are an intimidating bird and they are scavengers.  You either love them or hate them.  I have been told that my “Call of the Raven” painting is both captivating and disturbing.

Conspiracy really makes me think of a group of ravens – you need a group to conspire, right?  And these paintings are of individual birds.  Can’t use this…yet.

Constable.  This descriptor is reserved for a group of ravens that keep watch over the Tower of London and are protected.  Whenever a group of ravens are standing over guarding anything they may referred to as Constable.

There is also the option for "Coronis" from Greek mythology was once a white raven who betrayed Apollo.  Apollo in retaliation for the betrayal singed Corinis and blackened the bird.  From that day forward all ravens are black.

And I love “Nevermore” but there are so many raven paintings with that title. Google and see.

WIP Raven by Helen Shideler

When I encountered this  group that I photographed in the parking lot of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, I felt as if I had a had developed a personal relationship with two of the birds.  I spent quite a bit of time photographing them and talking to them.  Not that my fear of heights had anything to do with conversing with birds and not staring in awe of the falls.  They were photographed in close proximity.  Literally a few feet away.  They did not mind.  They were patient, they were really hoping I would feed them.

I keep referring to one of them as the large bird…and only because I drew it out larger than the other two.  This particular bird is weathered and old, there is a wisdom in it’s eyes.

Again with the naming – what do you think of “Wise Old Bird” or "Always Look Over Your Shoulder”  or “Watch Your Back”  or “Corporal Craw”.  Suggestions are welcome.