The Raven has become for me a kind of totemic bird for the area of mid-Wales I came to know better during the winter of 2017. A series of ink and watercolour paintings were produced over this time to respond to their presence in the valleys, at a time when species diversity is relatively low and the Raven is presumably one of the few birds able to eke a living out of those scraps, carrion and other animals also capable of roughing-out a Welsh winter.

Night. Raven (2017) watercolour and ink by J A Elcock
Night. Raven

Watercolour and ink on paper, 297x423cm

The horizon line is important in this composition as it was the landscape-analogue to the bird, an eternal feature of the valleys with its rising bowl shape whose crinkled brow is ever defined by the massed ranks of conifers – whatever the season. The blue is a night blue, a twilight, evening blue of a winter night in a Welsh valley. Try and imagine the lonely yet commanding grrok-grrok call of the Raven if you will.