'Artists are gnostics, and practise what the priests think is long forgotten.' - Hugo Ball

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

The Owl's Gift

The Owl's Gift
© Sue Wookey

It's been a long time coming, but I've finally shaken myself out of the post-Christmas slump and done a new painting. I wanted to show an owl 'gifting' a feather (am I the only one who collects feathers?) and it just had to be a Barn Owl because I've become obsessed with their beautiful colour, blunt white faces and those dark eyes.

The painting was supposed to be quite abstract in style, like my Moon Horse. But I just couldn't get past my desire to tackle the smudgy feathers on the backs of their wings where there are those beautiful shades of brown and bluey-grey mingle with little speckles of white and black. And those furry feet with the lethal claws pinging out of them. As well as some wet-in-wet washes to get the colours, I had to get out my pen and Indian ink to work in all the little details on the feathers. Sometimes painting is about exploring how something is what it is. Now I've got that out of my system, in the future I'll be able to tackle the Barn Owl in the way I originally wanted!

The theme of the painting is that nature is constantly gifting itself to keep up the endless cycle of life, a hugely complex support network that we bulldoze through at our peril. The quotes around the border are wise words from Emerson and Wordsworth:

The only gift is a portion of thyself - R.W. Emerson
Come forth into the light of things. Let Nature be your teacher - W. Wordsworth

Paintings are also a gift of a 'portion of thyself' and I should have prints of The Owl's Gift available on my Galley Hill Art Website by next week, but I just couldn't wait to post it here first!