"Little Owl"


Little Owl ran as a live class in 2016. In 2016 owl imagery was popping up in homewares and stationery and it seemed like a timely image to use. It was a very popular class and everyone went home happy.

I often use imagery from my early career practice as Guided Painting images, giving them a second life. I have many sketchbooks to refer to, many from 30 years ago. I used to paint and draw whimsical animals as my main creative output, however, I never drew owls. I was wondering why. 

As a child, I was intrigued by owls. I grew up in a town and had no real experience of owls. I remember a Whitsuntide week family camping trip to Kielder in Northumberland. As usual, we went with several other families and lots of kids. This was to be my family's last trip in a tent. The other families had already upgraded and moved onto caravans. It rained every day and my Dad declared that he was finished with tents. We went on to own caravans and had many much drier and warmer holidays in the north of England.

The Kielder valley was due to be dammed and flooded so this was quite a poignant last visit to this beautiful and wild part of England before it vanished underwater. We spent many hours walking in the vast woodland and hunting for owl pellets on the forest floor. Owl pellets contain the remnants of owls meals and are vomited up. They contain bones and indigestible fragments. We kids hunted them like treasure and when we discovered one it was so exciting.

Living in semi-rural South East Queensland we encounter owls regularly. Sitting on our veranda on a summer's night you can often hear the slow heavy beat of an owls wings. Samford Valley's powerful owl is famous and features on the road signs coming into the valley. A beautiful barn owl would often perch on one of our fence posts and was a welcome sight when arriving home in the dark.

The painting exploits complementary colours with a yellow owl and violet flowers. The shapes are fairly simple and it is a reasonably easy painting.