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I don’t usually paint birds, but hey, it’s World Wildlife Day! I love the playful title whilst the irony of it addresses a serious need for awareness of declining species in wildlife. We have an elegant pair of magpies that grace our garden all year round. I love their distinctive black and white colouring with a long tail.

Yes, they’re not everyone’s favourite birds and are often branded as pests or even portenders of doom.

Acrylic and Mixed Media on canvas paper 51 x 40 cm

Researching the mythology surrounding the Magpie is really interesting. The Magpie was a very significant,mythical bird in history before the Christians came along. This is evident as there was a concentrated smear campaign against the Magpie after the Christians showed up on the scene. It was said that the Magpie represented the devil as it didn’t mourn the death of Christ. Both it and a dove sat on the cross.  The dove caught the tears of Christ, while the Magpie seemed indifferent.  The church also started a rumour that the tongue of a Magpie contained a drop of blood from the devil. From this, it was theorised that if you cut the tongue of a Magpie to let out this drop then it would be capable of human speech.

Who knows how many Magpies were mutilated as a result of this myth the church created!

Ah, well….

One for sorrow
Two for joy
Three for a girl
Four for a boy
Five for silver
Six for gold
Seven for a secret never to be told