|On Glove - Eurasian Eagle Owl 16" X 12" Colored Pencil On Ampersand Board|
I'm not a stealthy photographer, even in my own yard I scare away the birds from the feeder. Unlike my friend Kathy who sits calmly with her glass of vino and gets fabulous photos to paint from. I need the "sure thing", the guaranteed close up shot, the it can't run, fly away, scamper off - shot. And I have paid dearly for these opportunities. But what adventures! From game reserves, to tours and class lessons.
The Male Eurasian Eagle Owl in my recently finished piece was an amazing specimen. Several years ago my husband and I spent a few days over the Thanksgiving holiday at The Homestead in rural western VA. On the blustery Friday after, we decided to take the Falconry class they offer on the estate. "Sure bet" remember. Hoping for some up close and personal photo ops. We started with the smallest raptor an American Kestrel, which I had the pleasure of having a private moment with.
|That's me before I let my natural silvers come in.|
He was ruthless in his gaze, as the handler had him "On Glove". This woman was fearless! His wing span was immense by my standards (almost 6 feet). He had confidence in letting us know with a penetrating gaze, that he could rip us to threads easily.
Working on rendering him I wanted to blur out the background to simplify and put focus on "his majesty". I debated taking out the glove and placing him on a branch. But the fearless stance of the woman handler just had to play a part in my piece, and as I thought of a title, it just had to be there also. Plus it was great fun to capture the leather texture of the glove and it's stitching. (It was little protection for his talons or beak.) The windy November day had his ear tufts and facial feathers moving and ruffling. I loved the movement it lent to the stationary composition.
Living in rural VA we have wonderful Barred and Screech owls serenade us at night from the stream at the back woods of our property. They call back when you mimic their calls. When I listen to them each Spring I remember my encounter with this Male Eurasian Eagle Owl and respect their space. I do love when they perch on the top of our conservatory's roof and serenade me to sleep.
Where can you find adventure, original photo references? In the weeks to come I'll be listening for my owls, Spring is on it's way!