Samantha – Great Horned Owl
(scroll down for description)
2000, 12” x 16”, mixed media on illustration board
Good hearted people all over North America and in other parts of the world have dedicated their lives to helping unfortunate wildlife individuals. These are often called rehabilitation centres and ideally the injured bird or mammal can be reintroduced into the wild. Too often this cannot happen and so the centres become permanent homes. For the staff and volunteers the work can be frustrating and difficult. The rewards are never financial but the satisfaction for the soul enormous.

Samantha is one such "inmate". She is much paler than our local great horned owls because her genetic background is in the northern sub-Arctic regions where a snowier look provides better camouflage.

I met her when I agreed to do a public, on the spot painting demonstration. I worked as quickly as I could, in acrylic, using my knowledge and experience of owl painting. The challenge was to start the piece in a pose she was likely to return to with some frequency. Although owls are less excitable than most birds, the number of times they turn their heads is surprising and somewhat aggravating if you are trying to paint them. At any rate, I enjoyed my time with Samantha and undoubtedly got more out of the experience than she did.