Leaders and Scarecrows

Wintery fields, Scarecrow, marauding crows
“Wintery fields, scarecrow and marauding crows”

I was browsing through some old sketchbooks this morning and I came across a series of Scarecrow drawings that I was working on some time ago. I was thinking that in these uncertain times in Ireland, city-dwellers have begun again to grow their own vegetables – and they often construct scarecrows to watch over their crops.

I became interested in these strangely human constructions, standing out in the allotments (supposedly scaring the crows away).  They can look heroic, comical, even strangely sinister but they were all built with a serious purpose, ie: to protect the food source, to serve the community…  and yet, can we depend on them for anything?  Their arrogant poses cannot hide the fact that their straw-filled limbs are ineffectual in the face of adversity.  But there must be some primeval urge, deep within the psyche, that persuades us that they possess some magical powers?

Certainly, the way these scarecrows are treated by the growers would suggest to me that there is more to them than meets the eye…

sketch of scarecrow by Eoin Mac Lochlainn

I didn’t mention it then but I was thinking of the scarecrows as a sort of metaphor.  I was thinking of them as standing for those who run the country.  Hmmm. Who actually runs this country, I wonder?  Who can protect us from the marauding crows?

But anyway, from a painting point of view, the Scarecrows seemed to offer me all sorts of possibilities – and they’re a bit of fun too.  We could do with a bit of fun after all the shouting.

And I’m getting ready to start planting seeds myself.  In a small suburban garden, I always have to consider crop rotation.  Maybe we could do with some politician-rotation too. What do you think?




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