HOVERING HARRIER ACRYLICS ON CEDAR W/RED OAK FRAME FALL 2014
This past October I was reading on the BBC Scotland website that the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) just began a five-year program to protect endangered Hen Harriers across the UK. We have had the chance to see Hen Harriers while touring Orkney and Scotland, and they are such wonderful birds to watch in the wild. Scottish Hen Harriers are the same species (Circus cyaneus cyaneus) but a different subspecies as our Northern Harriers (Circus cyaneus hudsonius) that are so often seen here in the Skagit Valley patrolling the open farmlands. As stated in the article, “by 1900 persecution by game preservers and skin and egg collectors pushed hen harriers to extinction as a breeding species in Britain.” The article reports that as of 2010, there were only 662 breeding Hen Harrier pairs in the UK, with the vast majority (505) located in Scotland (“RSBP launches cross-border hen harrier protection project”, BBC News, 21 October 2014). It would be such a disaster if the UK skies would no longer show the presence of these beautiful raptors. This should act as a reminder to us as we see these magnificent birds to not take them for granted and that they, and all wildlife, should be protected from human greed. I painted this based on a great photograph taken by Mark Hamblin and shown in the article. The swirling clouds in my painting were inspired by the Celtic Revival entrelac of designer Archibald Knox. I made the frame out of red oak using pegged, hand-joined, mortise-and-tenon construction methods. I used the Japanese technique (shou-sugi-ban) of charring and oiling the oak to finish the frame.