Horned (Shore) Lark as Totem

HORNED LARK as TOTEM

Horned Lark as Totem by Ravenari

REPRESENTING:

Strutting your stuff, oneness with wind and ground spirits, staying grounded and dreaming big, knowing the healing power of the earth, the earth element, the wind element, doing what is necessary to protect loved ones, knowing the power of sacrifice, putting others first, seeking stability, don’t damage your health for environmentalism, learning to live in new environments, the healing power of open places.

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GENERAL DESCRIPTION

The horned lark (also known as the shore lark) is a distinctive songbird with a black and yellow face pattern. The male has black ‘horns’ in the breeding season, which can be erected or lay flat. They are birds that prefer to both feed and nest in the open ground. They are found in North America, northernmost Europe and Asia, as well as Colombia. The northern populations are migratory, travelling south in the Winter. They are usually found on seashore flats, farmland, golf courses, airports, prairies, grasslands, steppes, open forests, deserts and above the mountain treelines. They primarily eat seeds, and will eat insects during the breeding season. It is the female that chooses the nesting site; and they have been known to perform distraction displays to lure away predators. The vocalisations of horned larks are high, lisping or tinkling with ascending trills in flight. They can be aggressive, with males chasing each other in flight. They are the bird species most frequently killed by wind turbines.

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The rest of the totem animal dictionary can be found here!

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Leopard Shark as Totem

I love leopard sharks. I mean I love sharks in general, though. Because sharks are awesome. Also they have this very clear way of reminding us that the sea is their territory, and we will only ever be visitors.

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LEOPARD SHARK as TOTEM

Leopard Shark as Totem by Ravenari

REPRESENTS:

Finding your way through the dark, learning to respect and embrace tidal cycles, a time and place for everything, knowing when to go forward, and when to retreat, you cannot see clearly, rely on your other senses, using socialisation as protection, healing and nourishment, it’s okay to take your time, be wary and cautious, ocean wisdom, coastal wisdom, tidal wisdom.

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DESCRIPTION

The leopard shark is a marine species of hound shark found along the Pacific coast of North America. It has striking leopard-like markings of black-to-grey along it’s body, and juveniles have spottier markings. They are long, slender sharks, averaging 1.2 to 1.5 metres long. They are coastal predators generally found in the intertidal zone, in sometimes brackish or murky waters, and frequent bays, estuaries, sandflats, mudflats and rock-strewn areas; often in large schools with other species like smoothhounds and dogfish. Their hunting and activity is very powerfully influenced by the tides, they are opportunistic benthic feeders, eating sea worms, as well as clams, crabs, shrimp, bony fish and fish eggs. They cannot see very well, due to the murkiness associated in regions where they hunt.

They generally like to stay in a particular area, though some will travel, and will socialise with other leopard sharks of similar size and sex. Leopard sharks are very slow growing, and take many years to sexually mature. They are often caught for food and aquariums, as they pose no danger to humans and are wary by nature, and quick to flee.

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The full totem dictionary, representing 258 animals, can be found here

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I’m finally getting back into illustrating ‘as totem’ illustrations. The next four will be the PATAGONIAN MARA, the OKAPI, the BLACK MAMBA, and the KING COBRA. All will be available for sale, unless they get snapped up during the illustration process.

Llama as Totem

No Llama totem write up is complete any longer without mentioning drama llama!

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LLAMA as TOTEM

Llama as Totem by Ravenari

LLAMA TOTEM REPRESENTS:

Connecting respectfully with other species, inter-species relationships, having a great deal to give, demanding the respect of others, be wary of making a bigger deal out of a situation than it deserves, drama llama, unstable social circles, unstable social hierarchies, learning how to deal with not knowing where you stand, being able to protect others, the energy of hostility, high altitudes are healing, don’t be afraid to retreat to the mountains and the high places, connections with pre-Hispanic South American cultures.

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GENERAL DESCRIPTION

The llama is a relative of the camel, found in South America, that has been utilised as a domestic animal since pre-Hispanic times. It is utilised for its soft and lanolin-free fleece, to carry loads over rough terrain, for leather, for food and for fuel. An overloaded llama will refuse to move and can become aggressive and hostile, but generally if well-raised they are considered intelligent, curious, and easily trained with positive reinforcement. Guard llamas have been utilised since the early 1980s, as they bond firmly with sheep, and require almost no training to protect sheep from predators. They can be differentiated from alpaca as they are larger and have a longer head.

Llama are grazers of grass and chew cud, they will also consume lichens, low shrubs and other mountainous plants, and need very little water. They are well-adapted to survive in sparse mountainous terrain, with their red blood cells able to carry more oxygen than many other animals, making them suited to high altitudes. They have an ambling gait. In the wild they live in groups of about 20, that is defended by a male. Fighting males will try and force another male to his knees, they will also neck wrestle and spit. They mate lying down and for approximately thirty minutes, both unusual in larger animals. Llamas are social by nature, and can live between 20 and 30 years. Considered significant to the Moche, the Incans, as well as other Indigenous nations. In contemporary times, the term ‘drama llama’ has emerged as an internet-originating term referring to people who bring random or over-inflated drama with them, and generate conflicts.

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This and other files like it Can be found at my totem dictionary, representing 258 animal totems and growing.

Mikado Pheasant as Totem

In between all the artwork, I’ve decided to get working on the ol’ totem website again.

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Mikado Pheasant as Totem

Mikado Pheasant as Totem by Ravenari

Representing:

Being used by others, being exploited against your will, possessing great beauty and power, rain energy, benefitting from periods of rain and mist, using mist to conceal you, concealment, being solitary by nature, quietness and alertness, choosing caution over panic, calmly seeking shelter over blindly running away, foraging for wisdom, looking to the ground for understanding, mist as a sacred and liminal space.

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You can find the link as well as the rest of the website here.

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And in other news, finished my first semester of the Masters, and start the second next week! No rest for the wicked, as they say. 🙂

Totem sketchapalooza!

Well. I’ve been passing the time by mostly being quite anxious and stressed out. I like to redirect that energy when I can, and as I can’t seem to relax right now (I tried some breathing exercises and all I got for them was some lousy heart palpitations and hyperventilation for my trouble!), I decided to go the animal totem route. Here’s what’s on my drawing plate right now!

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Barnevelder

Barnvelder Hen Sketch by Ravenari

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Celestial Wolverine

Celestial Wolverine Totem Sketch by Ravenari

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Chudditch

Chudditch Totem Sketch by Ravenari

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Dutch Bantam

Dutch Bantam Totem Sketch by Ravenari

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Short-Tailed Paradigalla

Short Tailed Paradigalla Totem Sketch by Ravenari

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Rhode Island Red

Rhode Island Red Totem Sketch by Ravenari

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Short-Tailed Weasel

Short Tailed Weasel Totem Sketch by Ravenari

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Sussex Hen

Sussex Hen Totem Sketch as Totem

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Phew! Thank goodness I’m going on a small holiday at the end of June, that’s all I’m saying!

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All of these will be available for sale once completed. 🙂

I’m here, I’m alive!

Look how many weeks it’s been!

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Well, in the time that has passed us by, I have been to the Cottesloe Sculpture by the Sea Exhibition, which was busy and lovely all at the same time. There were some truly awesome, incredible sculptures:

by Ravenari

The basic premise is, a large outdoor exhibition that is free to the public (and designed to be interactive to varying degrees) is installed onto the famous tourist beach of Cottesloe. We were there during the opening weekend, so we saw more people than sculptures!

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I saw these metal hot air balloons and looked up to view them properly. I noticed about fifty people walk past who never bothered to look at them from a different angle. Interact with your art people!

photo by Ravenari

There was also wildlife to contend with, as feral corellas were about. Now, corellas belong in Australia, it’s just they’re a pest in Perth and are ousting local parrots.

corella by Ravenari

I have been working hard on a lot of art. The one I finished most recently was this commission of a Parson’s Chameleon, which are endemic to Madagascar. It was a lovely bout of synchronicity with this one. I had watched David Attenborough’s documentary series Madagascar (which I highly, highly recommend) and had felt an overwhelming strong piull to illustrate a chameleon. A few days later a wonderful client emailed me with a commission for a chameleon; one of the very species of chameleon that had inspired the feeling!:

Parson's Chameleon by Ravenari

Most importantly, the earthquakes, tsunami and nuclear issues have been happening in Japan. This has hit me quite personally for two reasons. One, I love Japan. But two, I had a very good friend in Tokyo while the worst was happening (he’s in a safer place now), and one can’t help but worry.

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Also importantly (but of less global significance), my beautiful bengal cross rescue cat Maybe got very sick. She was diagnosed with Feline Idiopathic Cystitis; but a more aggressive form in that the struvite crystals (all thousands of them) were in a rare and unusual form that was more unpleasant for the bladder. Basically, she was urinating a lot of blood. She’s had a complete diet change and seems to be doing better, but for a while there it was four vet visits in three days. The last visit required sedation and needles to the bladder and tests and all sorts of things. Here she is recovering from one of the vet visits:

'I hate the vet' - Maybe by Ravenari

And of course how did her older ‘brother’ Moet react to the whole thing?

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Well, he wasn’t too fussed:

champion of relaxation - by Ravenari

Work it!

Currently I am embarking on a personal project called ‘100 walks for health,’ which is based on the idea that I walk 100 times for health. It’s pretty straightforward. And then afterwards I start again. The rules are – the walk has to be over 10 minutes to count (and multiple walks a day count as separate walks), and other things like playing kick to kick or swimming don’t count. Anyway, today I walked in a thunderstorm and it was awesome. (Even if I did get rained on despite my umbrella, and got paranoid about being hit by lightning because it was all around me.)

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In the meantime, I finally finished the inking of Steampunk Elephants or Clearcutting at Dawn. This is how I felt about it yesterday:

photo of the day  - a commen sentiment - by Ravenari

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And this is how it looks today:

Clearcutting at Dawn by Ravenari

What I love so much about this series for the Natcon 50 Future Imperfect art show, is that I get to do something with animals that I’m not normally doing.

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I’ve been taking animals and looking at their natural environment, and then looking at how I’d personally exploit them (not that I want to exploit any animal really) in an imperfect retrofuture, where we only allow animals to survive if they can directly benefit us through work, beauty or medicine/health.

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In this, I liked the idea of genetically modified elephants used in the process of clearcutting to save on fuel and materials needed to build the tractors and bulldozers and so forth needed. Because huge elephants could be engineered, larger trees could be engineered and managed, and the wood yield would increase in a world where there wouldn’t be that much wood remaining.

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Elephants are actually built to take down trees. While some of them will tear at branches, many will actually uproot acacia trees in order to get at the whole top of the plant. Unlike giraffes which evolved to reach the top of the trees, the elephant evolved to just take them down. To then take that natural instinct and accelerate it into a vegetative drive where the elephants even enjoy, or run towards trees that need knocking down, is something that I’ve been contemplating for a science fiction world I’m tempted to set a novel in. Photovoltaic ravens, deforestation-savvy elephants, giant squid that put the ‘giant’ in the name shepherding steamers from place to place in a world where supercell storms are the norm.

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Is it just me, or does anyone else really love that kind of stuff?

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But don’t fret, I’ve been working on a metric fuckton of totem illustrations too, including this recent one of Kookaburra, where the colours are all clashy and glarey, even for me:

Kookaburra as Totem redo by Ravenari

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This one is for sale at Etsy, just follow this link.

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And if you’re interested in what Kookaburra represents as a totem, you can read the full essay here, or just contemplated the keywords:

Laughter. Family. Wooing your partner. Sibling rivalry. Healing others and the self. Conquering fear. Ending old patterns. Turning hurt into happiness. Hunting down your own truths. Signals. God energy. Teaching and sharing your truths with others.

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If you could choose any animal for me to genetically adapt in my dystopian Future Imperfect, what would you choose? 🙂