Friday, August 4, 2017

"Nevermore, Nevermore... Quoth The Raven!

A red winged blackbird...
Well, one can blame Edgar Allan Poe for creating a poem that demonizes all ebony colored birds especially at this "trick or treat" time of year. Blackbirds of all kinds, brewer blackbirds, cowbirds, grackles, ravens and crows and maybe even those "four and twenty ones" that somehow were baked in a pie, are obviously up to no good.

Ravens are the worse. Those big black demons with their cold black eyes, screeching howls, and a menacing bill designed to pick the meat off of the deceased, are throughout history, considered to be evil omens, the harbingers of bad tidings!

Although I consider myself an educated opened minded guy, my experience with a certain blackbird does make me wonder. About a year or so ago, I went with some friends to paint a marsh scene off of Lake Road in LaCombe, LA. At certain times of the year, you can get some incredible views where the bayou feeds into Lake Pontchartrain.

I spent about two hours, dodging gnats, painting a portion of the road. I really didn't know exactly what my subject matter was. At the time, I was just trying to quickly capture the fading light, but a very determined male blackbird was not having any of it. He never really attacked me like the ultra-territorial mockingbird would, but it was obvious to me that he was not happy about my presence. He would call out to me with that irritated sound as he flew circles around me from his telephone post vantage point. This went on for at least an hour totally ruining my pastoral moment. I left that day with a fairly nice rendering of a telephone pole in the marsh... and it stayed hanging on my office wall for well over a year.

About a month ago it dawned on me how I could quickly salvage what seemed to me to be a pretty boring scene. I decided to immortalize the little territorial tyrant with a rendering of him. Entitled, "Territorial Rights," it will be on display with about thirty other paintings at the Three Rivers Art Festival,  November 12/13 in downtown Covington, LA.

Regardless, it seems an appropriate addition to a "Poe-etic" legacy. Happy Halloween to everyone!

Copyright 2016/ Ben Bensen III