Art for Everyone

A Clattering of Jackdaws over Epiacum Roman Fort, Alston Moor


I have been on the search for the #redsquirrel this week, and have not had much success, which got me to thinking about what we value and why we value it, both in terms of art and the world in general. Having visited The Great British Print Exhibition at #Rheghed Visitor Centre in Penrith last week, I got to thinking about lots of things – literally. One particular print that caught my eye was ‘The Ubiquity of Sparrows’ by Janis Goodman. As I haven’t had permission to share the image, it is not on my blog, but check out her website on Janis’ work is definitely worth a look. However, what appealed to me was the fact that the little sparrow took centre stage, and it's collectiveness was celebrated. Sparrows are very common in our garden, and as a result of such, we spend most of the time wishing more exotic birds would appear, not quite wishing the sparrow would go away, but maybe reduce in their ubiquity! Despite their cute habits, hopping along the wall, queuing up along the telephone wire to take turns at the bird feeder, we still long for what isn't within our reach. The red squirrel is a good example of this.

Red Squirrel. Giclee print from an original watercolour by Helen Johnson Artist

It is a #nationaltreasure; so much so that we are prepared to compromise our moral compass by accepting the culling of another species in order to preserve it, the dreaded #Greysquirrel. Maybe this blog is not the forum to discuss the pros and cons of the methods employed to preserve the beautiful Red, but it is certainly I think a platform to look at why we value and treasure that which is rare, or threatened. Would we go to such lengths to preserve the rat for example, if it were in trouble?

Slightly more palatable perhaps, is the Jackdaw – the curse of the skies around #Alston Moor and yet it flies with a moody majesty that adds to the landscape on a tumultuous chilly morning across the fells. Pictured above is a ‘clattering’ of said Jackdaws flying across the amazing #RomanFort#Epiacum. A hidden treasure of Alston Moor, although it seems the Jackdaws know exactly where it is. Why do we resent these brooding, beautiful birds when they add to the experience of our landscape? Ultimately I think it is just human nature to want what we can’t have, and to strive to get it regardless. Hence the continued search for the Red Squirrel and the somewhat dubious methods to preserve it. There is however, no denying it’s appeal.

I am planning an exhibition later this year to help raise the profile of the plight of the beautiful red and hope you will take the time to check out my updated website featuring my range of squirrel prints.

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