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Ravens by Andrew Denman <Back to Thumbnails "Stealing the Sunlight"
48 x 48"
Mixed (Oil over Acrylic) on Cradled Board


How to Buy

Many Pacific Northwest Native American Nations tell the story of how the raven stole the light. Like many such tales, it is a fable intended to explain natural phenomenon, but unlike stories of how the deer got his horns, this one is more of a cosmology, describing how light itself came to the universe. Essentially, the raven was living with two humans in total darkness, one of whom was hoarding the light in a box in his possession, which the raven contrived to steal. During the heist, the sun, moon, and stars, were created, and all the world came into view for the first time. I came across this story sometime back when researching a painting of ravens and coyotes, and realized it was one I had heard as a child, though I don’t recall where. This brought back another memory from my late teenage years when I was visiting my brother in Davis, CA, where he was living with his wife in married housing. Davis is an agricultural region, so I was fully aware there were a lot of birds there, but I was unprepared for watching the procession of ravens coming in for their nightly roost. The parking lot in front of the complex were my brother lived was lined with trees, bare of leaves in the winter. As the light sapped from the sky, the silhouettes of untold numbers of ravens darkened it further, and the air vibrated with their raucous cries. When they finally settled for the night, they were so thick in the trees that it looked like the bare limbs had sprouted leaves again. As I sat watching their dark, hunched shapes in the half-light, I was overcome with a feeling of awe and mystery, which is exactly the feeling I hoped to communicate in this painting.

My art has long focused on presenting animal subjects in an iconographic context, and “Stealing the Sunlight” does just that. The ravens appear against a stylized, mandala-like sun, soaked in vivid colors. They are both actively in motion and frozen in an altar-piece tableau. The scale of the piece, four feet, by four feet, makes the scene all the more absorbing, big enough, I hope, for the viewer to be lost in the experience.

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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