Welcome to Harvest Moon, a place where the creatures and landscapes of my imagination take form and meet the world. Nestled in beneath the wild craggy tors of Dartmoor inspiration comes on chilly winds from moonlit landscapes of other realms which share this rugged, ancient land of gorse and granite. Living here I sometimes feel on a bridge between worlds and ages as the land speaks from spluttering streams and wind-beaten tors, telling stories of folk and beast, but only in snatches before the endings are whipped away down the valley with the broad river and out to sea. So here I will share these stories and characters and they can dwell in your own imagination, continuing their stories with infinite outcomes. This is how they live, enjoy them!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

curious corvids...

crows, rooks, magpies, jays, jackdaws....all are hounded by superstition, loathing and suspicion. I wonder why...... Some say that they have an negative impact on song bird populations because they take fledglings from the nest to eat. But ecologically this seems to be as well balanced as any wild predator / prey situation. Certainly they would have less impact on smaller birds than, say, modern agricultural practices and loss of habitat.

So why the hostility to our feathery companions? Well, apart from the exotic looking Jay, all are monochrome in their dark shaggy coats. But the magpie is surely one of our most elegant and beautiful birds....with her sleek, pied body and long tail with iridescent blue-green flashes....yet she carries the worst curse of all her family - how could something so graceful be unlucky?

Perhaps it is their blackness. Perhaps their unmelodious cries; the incessant droning of a rookery in springtime drives some to hurl stones into the tree tops....but not I. I listen in to the hubbub, intrigued by the toing and froing of the different voices. Then the sweet 'chip chip' of jackdaws passing overhead in clear blue skies.... is to me the sweet sound of summer arriving.

Perhaps we find their intelligence unsettling. They are cunning and calculating. They observe and learn and figure things out....qualities we revere in ourselves and fear in other creatures. I have heard of several jackdaws adopting humans as friends, communicating using beak tapping, croaks and squeeks....eyeing any pretty rings of gold or colourful gems on the hands of those who reach for a stroke. Perhaps it's their petty thieving we disapprove of.

Whatever it is that makes humans wary of this fascinating group, I defy it and pledge to appreciate them for all their quirky character and curiosity. They are wonderful to draw as their character is so distinct. Looking through my sketchbook I find the simplest of scribbles capture them the best.