Object: Barn Owl Commission
Materials: Stone on Cement Board
The subject of an owl was one of the options during the design phase with my clients back in October of 2018. A different animal, a "Snowshoe Hare" won the day and I proceeded to make that piece. Once the hare was completed and shipped, I was asked to create another mosaic. The Burrowing Owl initially pitched changed into a Barn Owl, since my clients are more familiar with them in their area.
This precipitated my current obsession with birds of prey. While doing research, I came across so many beautiful images and videos. A presentation by The Avian Reconditioning Center (Apopka, Florida) gave me a close-up view of not only a Barn Owl, but also an American Kestrel, a Short-tailed Hawk and an iconic American Bald Eagle. Nothing compares to seeing these magnificent creatures in person. As a result, by year's end, I will have completed a total of 4 birds of prey due to the commission of this Barn Owl. As travel introduces one to new worlds and ideas, researching an animal for an art project always leaves me wanting more. I happily turn down the side streets only to find additional opportunities to try something new.
The Barn Owl is different from the other birds I looked at since the feathers on its face are so deceiving as to its underlying shape. They actually have a very long beak. The explosion of feathers around the eyes and covering the beak is certainly the draw for my representation of this bird. I saw it as a perfect subject for a mosaic, you can follow the directions of the feathers while having fun with all those little pieces of stone.
As usual, I start with a drawing, where I put emphasis on what intrigues me the most and leave out other things to help emphasize what I want the viewer to look at. The balance of strong movement and stasis while describing volume was foremost on my mind. This owl is so perfectly suited for expressing that combination.