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John Lamb, Published March 06 2010

A new look at crows: 'Great Winter Crow Show' opens

Dawn Morgan, the executive director of the Spirit Room in Fargo has said she thinks of the crow’s caw as a wake-up call.

She’s not the only one to be drawn to the raven’s cry.

When Morgan asked for area artists to submit depictions of the bird for the “Great Winter Crow Show” – a celebration of all things genus Corvus, which opens tonight at the Spirit Room – Karla Gallagher saw the notice and for the first time entered two paintings in her first show.

The Dent, Minn., painter talks about her colorful – and in one case colorless – portrayal of the crows she sees in her own backyard.

Forum: Both pieces have areas that are broken up into little colorful bits, almost a mosaic. Was that intentional?

Gallagher: I’ve had other people comment on that, and it just happens. It’s nothing I intentionally did to make it look like a mosaic. That just happens.

Most people think of crows as jet black. Why the painting “White Raven?”

I thought it would be interesting. There are albino crows. And I found an image I liked. It was a different way to see a crow. We always see them as black and kind of menacing little creatures, but I thought this was a lighter way of seeing a crow. Kind of beautiful, I think.

Do you think crows have a bad reputation or are misunderstood?

I think so.

You’ve painted horses in the past. Was it hard to transition to painting birds?

The more familiar you are with an animal, the easier it is to paint. I really had to study it and look at the details. They really are beautiful. I hadn’t noticed that before.

If you go

Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533