Winter Mist – Great Horned Owl
(scroll down for description)
38” x 29”, acrylic, 1970
“Most of my paintings are reconstructed from a variety of experiences and sources. But this incident actually took place outside our dining room window. It was on a foggy day during a midwinter thaw. “This is the time of year when great horned owls do much of their territorial hooting. Because it takes a long time for such a large owl to reach maturity they must begin nesting during the snows of late winter. Although they normally hoot at night, this particular day was so dull that a pair of them were actively flying and hooting outside our house. This vocalization accounts for the thrusting pose with the throat patch fluffed out.
“At first I painted this bird on a large interesting stump. However, in spite of the hours spent doing the texture of the stump, it gave the bird a posed, almost stuffed look. So I scraped down all my work and put in the diagonal branch to give it a dynamic thrust. The clump of beech leaves at the top of the picture is to emphasize the same effect.”