Fables of the hawk and the crow

Last week was pretty busy with a fantastic ukulele gig with my group, writing the blog hop, and a few other things, but I managed to complete one more pair of fables, which I'd love to share with you today. This time the struggle is centered around perception and communication. The first fable, which I call the observer, is about being aware of things but not speaking up, while the opposite drawing tells the story of the messenger, who spells things out for those who cannot see.

The observer was one of the first drawings I experimented with and it was based on a friend I've worked with for a long time. The image that appeared in my mind when I meditated on who she is, was the amazing photo she took of a hawk around her house (shown below). Isn't it striking? I know this friend to have a strong level of awareness, and she used to be a photographer, so the image made sense as a symbol connected to vision. 

At the time I used the treehouse as my main symbol to represent a person and I had the idea of designing the house to be like a hawk's nest. I wanted to give the drawing a native american feel and also have the house blend with the tree, since my friend is pretty close with nature. It took a lot of sketches to arrive at my final design. I don't know if you can tell, but the branches of the tree form the eyes and beak of a hawk. To complete the drawing I added her dog at the foot of the tree, and on the other side, as an homage, the cat she had just lost.

I took an introductory printmaking workshop around that time and thought it would be fun to experiment expressing my drawing as a print. Below you can see the plate on the press and a couple results of the intaglio prints. 

Instead of adding color by pressing more layers on the print, it felt simpler and more promising to paint straight on it with watercolor. I framed the print and gave it to my friend as a surprise birthday gift, and she loved it!

This was another portrait I did before starting to add opposites, and like for the fable of the lovers I came back a year later to figure out what it could be. An interesting puzzle to solve. I start by finding the opposite of the animal, and for the hawk that had to be the crow. Such a  talkative bird! I must hear one cawing almost every day. After that I look for opposites to the other symbols in the drawing, either searching around the web or reading through books.   

It's a matter of looking at a lot of things, following my intuition and paying attention to what intrigues me. For this one I found a lot of the symbols in the beautiful book by Taschen titled The Book of Symbols

This photo of two deers I snapped while visiting my parents in Montreal also inspired the solution for the crow drawing (shown below). My dad was right in the middle with his hands positioned on the deers heads, covering both their eye (making them blind).

I like to have the animal speak if I can do it in such few words, and the messenger was a good one for that. Better yet if there's an occasion for a play on words! I made the deers blind in the drawing without really knowing what it meant, but now with the new story it makes perfect sense. Can you see the light ;)?