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Coyote & Raven Painting by Andrew Denman <Back to Thumbnails "Coyote Talks to Raven"
36 x 36"
Oil over Acrylic on Cradled Board
Coyote & Raven

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In Native American mythology and folklore, the Coyote and Raven are both tricksters, cunning, playful, and mischievous. Both of them, in various stories, play important cosmological roles too. It is the raven’s theft of sunlight from an old miser that subsequently creates the sun, moon, and stars. In some tribes, the coyote is credited with gifting mankind the use of fire, slaying monsters, creating waterfalls, and even carrying about the sun itself. Sometimes he is helpful, other times destructive, often ambitious or shortsighted, but always crafty in one way or another. Legends, myths, and symbolic figures associated with coyotes and ravens vary widely from region to region, and tribe to tribe, but there is no question that early Americans saw a reflection of themselves in these common and highly successful creatures.

My own Native American ancestry on my mother’s side, however admittedly minimal and distant, made me aware of and respectful of these tales in my youth. My own growing concern for the environment and work in the field of wildlife and habitat conservation have made the respect for and harmony with the natural world exemplified by Native American culture an important part of my work. It comes through very clearly in my Totem series, which are about both the delicate balance of natural systems and our paradoxical tendency to identify with desirable qualities in the very wild creatures whose well-being our “progress” threatens. Here the message is perhaps more subtle. Though I have tried to portray my coyote and raven without visible anthropomorphization, their postures in relation to one another do suggest an interaction, even a conversation, that it is only human nature to imbue with narrative and import. The title, “Coyote Talks to Raven,” is meant to suggest but not to guide this sense of narrative. What is the conversation about, exactly? That is left entirely to the viewer.

Welcome to the online home for artwork by Andrew Denman, a California �based, internationally recognized, award-winning contemporary wildlife artist. Denman primarily paints wildlife and animal subjects in a unique, hallmark style combining hyper-realism with stylization and abstraction. His dynamic and original acrylic paintings can be found in museum collections on two continents and in numerous private collections in the USA and abroad. His clear voice, unique vision, and commitment to constant artistic experimentation have positioned him on the forefront of an artistic vanguard of the best contemporary wildlife and animal painters working today.
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