While drawing at the High Park Nature Centre, I had a chance encounter with bird expert Emily Rondel from Bird Studies Canada. Emily’s work involves Toronto area bird species and her projects seem like a perfect fit for my artwork, so we’ve begun collaborating.
With access to the extensive bird specimen collection at the Royal Ontario Museum, I finished my first piece, a wing study of an Eastern Screech Owl. I spent many hours staring at this little owl wing trying to make sense of the complex feather patterns, all the while being careful not to mix up the order of the feathers I was working on. I’ve had mixed results when drawing feathers in the past, so I’m very happy that this worked out better than my earlier attempts. Special thanks to Mark Peck of the ROM who’s been generously sharing his vast reservoir of bird knowledge. I’ve benefitted substantially from having experts like Emily and Mark to help guide me.
My next piece will be of a full-bodied Eastern Screech Owl. They are nocturnal and I’ve only seen a captive one from a rehabilitation centre, so it’ll be interesting to try and create a lifelike painting of an owl based on long dead specimen skins.