Bad Apples – Black – Billed Magpies
Limited Edition of 200, 21″ x 20″ – $180.00
Open Edition 8″ x 10″ – $30.00
These magpies are some of Alberta’s most beautiful birds. Their conspicuous black and white plumage and long tail make them easy to identify. In sunlight the wings and tail shine iridescent greenish blue making them very striking indeed.
Grasshoppers and cutworms that are harmful to crops, and parasitic worms and ticks that infest livestock, are all part of the magpies’ fare. This diet should make these birds popular with farmers and ranchers. Instead they are often hated and persecuted. Opportunists in their eating habits, magpies eat the eggs and young of song birds in the spring, and in the winter they peck the frozen carrion of livestock and game kills. Their range of appetite, loud calling, and aggressive demeanor overshadow their good deeds and looks. Perhaps for these reasons some prairie people discredit magpies.
In the drawing, “Bad Apples”, the magpies display aggressive behavior as they squabble over some fermenting ornamental crabapples. Feeding upon such fruit adds to their excitement, unrest, agitation and unsteadiness. Like “bad apples” each tries to intimidate and assert its dominance over the other two. Intrigue is created by a single apple surrounded by the cyclic repetition of blacks and whites giving the composition balance and suggesting swiftness of motion.