I've seen lots of owls over the years. Many many. Flying overhead, a quiet silhouette across the night sky. Spotting them up in a tree or perched on a telephone pole, dorky me waving excitedly from below. I hear them even more often, hooting off in the distance. Right now though, there are four owl encounters that really stand out (well five, another just came to mind.. one time this teeny-tiny little owl landed on a tree branch right above me and I stood with that little buddy for a long time):
I'll describe the memory that inspired this new artwork (above) first, I suppose. I was heading out somewhere and it was dark outside. I closed my front door behind me and was walking towards my car when I saw a shape flying through the street lights above. Immediately after that first bird blur, a barn owl landed on a tree branch directly in front of me. It was right there at eye level, only a few feet away, both of us staring at the other for I don't even know how long. Not too long probably, but an eternal moment. At some point the owl flew off down my street and, as I watched, I saw a second barn owl join the first's flight out of my sight.
Another really special owl spotting was up in Logan, Utah years ago. I was out walking in a blizzard, trying to get somewhere. It was dark and snowing hard but I looked up into the snow toward the tall evergreen trees and there was a huge snowy owl looking down at me. Amazing! An extreemly rare treat to spot one here in Utah.
I had another recent encounter that wasn't nearly as special... this time really creeped me out, gave me a bad feeling, but had to be there I suppose. It was dark out but not late at all, a winter dark and I was walking down a nearby canyon like I'd done a million times before. Suddenly, unexpectedly, something started barking at me from maybe 30-40 feet up in the trees. It seriously sounded like there was a big dog up there barking down at me, but I couldn't see anything. Eventually I did see what looked like.. something.. but I kinda wanted to get away from it so I stared on my way again. Immediately, a huge owl silhouette (I don't know what kind) took wing and flew off in the direction I was heading. I kept on a-walking and, maybe 50 yards later, there was that freaky owl again. Up in the trees barking down at me. I stopped for a little bit and tried to talk some sense into the bird, explaining that it wasn't a dog, but it didn't care and just kept on barking at me. I didn't stick around for long, wanting to get away from the unreasonable owl. Yep, as soon as I stepped away, it flew out of that second tree and off in the direction I was headed. Sure enough, there it was again, maybe 50 yards down the road, high up in the trees and barking. This barking owl behavior continued every 50 or so yards for maybe another mile, until I made it to my car and outta there. I didn't like owl encounter. Creepy!
Finally, even though I must have watched this owl / raven dispute (below) for 10 or more minutes before getting my camera out, at least I caught some footage:
You can check out a YouTube time-lapse video of my artwork's development and creation directly above.