Sunday, July 4, 2010

Hollidge Tract and Ravens


Hollidge Tract-planographic & relief print, using linocut (brand new), and gelatin plate planographic printing.

I thought it about time I posted some new art. I have been working; just not showing. Some things just haven’t come together, other things are percolating (my new favourite word to describe the in-between stage of art, from just thinking about it to a work in progress) and some are looking fabulous but unfinished and I’ve put them aside (to keep the bad metaphor running, could we call it ‘steeping’?).

Luckily, an image that has been percolating in my mind since last year finally appeared in the form of a linocut. I walk past a little glade several times per week and have always been mesmerized by the young trees growing up in front of a backdrop of mature forest. And while I’ve taken reference photos in the past, nothing made it to the page until, this week, all at once, there it was in a rough sketch just about ready for carving. Here it is, done up as a single, gelatin plate & hand pressed relief.

Haven’t yet thought of a spectacular name, so Hollidge Tract it is. The raven overhead is apt. I failed to mention a two significant sightings this. The first in May, when I saw five ravens in Eldred King Woodlands. We, that is husband, dog and I, were on a side trail winding through a plantation of red pine, and I spotted two ravens fly overhead. They chattered back and forth in their distinctive raven voices, and I easily tracked down a nest high in the pines, a short distance off the the trail. I had binoculars, and had a very good look at raven construction, being a messy mass of large sticks, occupied by three more ravens.

Then, just last month in June, while walking in Hollidge Tract, once again, I heard the raven. This time, it was doing that common raven screech and not much else. Once again, binoculars out, I got a great look at a raven perched high on a dead tree, GRawk! Grawk!

Not thrilled to be stared out (and how do they always know), he made a quick and noisy exit.

For those who don’t know, my 1980’s Field Guide shows raven territory ends at the border of the Canadian Shield, and does not extend into the southern realms of Ontario where I reside. They have since moved south, and seeing them here at all is a very big deal. Seeing a nest and five ravens is SUPER excitement. Also, heard but not seen, ravens in Uxbridge, Walker Woods. Great comeback: hoping they are here for the long run.

8 comments: said...

Now it explains all, why I never seen ravens, lol. But then I probably call them crows, just for some reason I have difficulty who's who. Another great piece of artwork. Hope all is well otherwise, beside percolating :). Anna :)

Jenny said...

I love ravens. Probably because I love the places that I see and hear them. I love that sharp, harsh sound that they make and the way they glide around high cliffs in places that are not easy to get to.

kaslkaos said...

Anna, percolating is good-as long as I keep the goal in mind. Crows are 1/2 the size of ravens, hard to tell sometimes, though. Ravens sound completely different and say things ling GRONK, GRACK, guttural low noises, + 'pic' which sounds like a someone hitting a piano key in the sky. You probably haven't seen/heard them in Aurora unless you visit the woods. Time to visit the woods, eh?
Jenny, I love them too, remind me of cottaging and camping and all things wild. Which of course is why I'm so thrilled to hear them in a 'managed' forest. Who doesn't love a come-back story. There language is wonderful to hear just about anywhere though.

Jennifer Rose said...

its great you saw the ravens, i love them. such intelligent birds :) but makes you wonder if they are getting pushed out of their previous areas? :/

kaslkaos said...

Thanks Jennifer: their presence here is actually all good news. They are common in all forested parts of Canada (and further north too), so the fact that they've moved south means that we now have more forest, especially 'contiguous' forest (that means uninterrupted stretches). York Regional Forest 100 years ago was a sand dune created by logging and bad farming practice.
What I am wondering is why here they seem to require wilderness, but elsewhere they seem to be everywhere?

Jennifer Rose said...

it is odd that some thrive in the city

Laurel said...

This is a beautiful print. I like the border effect. I was also interested to hear about the ravens. I was walking at Woodlands park (Steeles and Reesor Rd) which is part of the Rouge Park and I was thinking that the crow I saw sitting up in a dead tree was huge! He/she didn't like me looking at him/her and flew away with a Grawk. Now I have googled ravens vs crows and I think it was a raven.
Also thanks for your comment on my blog:)

kaslkaos said...

Thanks Laurel; it sounds (most literally) that the ravens are taking advantage of the new forest preserves. It's really good to hear they've moved into Rouge Park too.


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