Like many people, I find owls fascinating and catching even a glimpse of them in the wild is a memorable experience. For my latest painting, I was literally surrounded by owls (courtesy of the Bird Collection at the Royal Ontario Museum) and had the opportunity to study them up close in great detail.
This watercolour of an Eastern Screech Owl will be featured in an upcoming Bird Studies Canada project for the Toronto area. The project involves surveying the screech owl population in both the city’s wild spaces and wooded residential neighbourhoods. High Park’s dense forest canopy is an ideal habitat as these little owls nest in tree hollows or abandoned woodpecker holes.
Most of the work was completed using a beautiful taxidermic specimen as my model, but the foot was damaged and ear tufts flattened, so I used body parts from other birds that worked better and blended them into the overall painting. The final piece contains elements from five separate owls.
The early response to the painting has been positive and I intend to reproduce the image as a Giclee Art Print to raise funds for Bird Studies Canada and the High Park Nature Centre.