Tuesday, November 5, 2013


“Your hair wants cutting,” said the Hatter.  He had been looking at Alice for some time with great curiosity, and this was his first speech.

“You should learn not to make personal remarks,” Alice said with some severity: “It’s very rude.”

The Hatter opened his eyes very wide on hearing this; but all he said was, “Why is a raven like a writing desk?”

And so goes the conversation at the Mad Tea Party.  Alice never does get the answer to the question.

“I give it up, “Alice replied. “What’s the answer?” 

“I haven’t the slightest idea, “said the Hatter.

After years of being asked continually about the riddle, Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland wrote in the preface of the 1869 edition of his book:

"Inquiries have been so often addressed to me, as to whether any answer to the Hatter's Riddle can be imagined, that I may as well put on record here what seems to me to be a fairly appropriate answer, viz: 'Because it can produce a few notes, tho they are very flat; and it is nevar put with the wrong end in front!' This, however, is merely an afterthought; the Riddle, as originally invented, had no answer at all."

(and yes, he did spell “nevar” like that which is raven spelled backwards)

I was thinking about backward ravens when I began this painting. 

I first painted him in rainbow colors so his feathers would have an iridescent appearance when I added layers of blue…

…and then more layers of darker blues and reds.

Then I finished off with more details and some long grasses.

Here’s another watercolor raven.  This one I call, “Neighborhood Watch.”

And this one is, “Arrangement in Grey and Black,” a winter scene.  For after all, Raven spelled backward is, “Nevar” which is a Spanish verb meaning, “to snow.”

These and more of my painting can be found for sale on my Etsy site, Watercolors by Leenie.


joeh said...

All so good, I like the last one the best.

Anonymous said...

They could fly right off the page. I like the second one best.

Alica said...

The first one is very pretty, but I think I like the last one the best. He looks like he's huddling up, trying to keep warm in the cold. You make them look so very life like! :)

Carla said...

More ravens! Such quizzical birds and SO smart!
Your paintings are perfect. I didn't know water colors could be layered, but obviously they can. :)

Anzu said...

I just noticed that a raven is so beautiful from your paintings.
They dress up in a rainbow-style cloak.

Anonymous said...

I love the ravens!!

Joanne Noragon said...

Perhaps we have ravens, but I can't tell them from crows. And the crows sit in the trees and yell in my window a five in the morning. Fortunately, according to your pictures, they may be lovely to look at.

Terry and Linda said...

You painted true raven's not the crows that so many mistake for Raven's well done! AGAIN!


TALON said...

Beautiful! Love birds and especially crows and snevar. (plural ravens) :)
I just wrote a raven poem yesterday. They're history is fascinating. What a gorgeous painting, Leenie. You're so very very talented.