Any one who has spent any time around me and my work knows that I will not carve a bird until I’ve spent some time with it in the field. My carvings about my stories are about specific experience with a bird.
Last Saturday I had the opportunity to stand in a miserable cold rain and watch a snowy owl. This young male has caused quite a stir around Indianapolis. He’s sticking around the Mt. Comfort Airport on the east side of the city. The last reports that I’ve heard place him near and around the firehouse and blue outbuilding at the west end of the field. Thursday morning I was still getting reports that he was around. I may make a run out this afternoon and try to get a look in this nice bright early winter light. (Update – I just checked eBird and there are no reports of the snowy oil at Mt. Comfort Airport yesterday or today.)
Of course I came right home and started drawing and carving. I had no decent references of our bird so I carved from memory and photos of other birds. I got he gender right, but not the age. Our bird is young and still heavily barred.
In the 4-5 days since I finished this carving I’ve drawn (and drawn and drawn).
“our” bird and will soon carve another. It won’t be better, but will reflect the characteristics of the bird we are observing here. I’ve also developed a way to handle the wing and tail junction a bit better.
I placed him on a block of glittery snow. I observed him on wet grass. I didn’t think that wet grass made a good presentation. I thought a snowy owl should be on snow.
He’s carved of red cedar (not my usual choice) that has been recycled from an old picket fence. Red cedar is an interesting wood for my work. It carves well, smell wonderful and leaves a visible and interesting grain through the paint.
50 Little Birds offers the carving above for the standard owl rate of $120. We can still get him to you for Christmas.