This is my second attempt at painting this old familiar scene from my source photo. The first attempt was a more square format (Painting #20). This one is in my more comfortable flat landscape layout and I like it a bit better:
The source photo is shown below. I only have a paper copy of the photo, now almost 10 years old, with a water-splash from my watercolour days right in the centre:
About one kilometre North-East from where this picture was taken I once walked with the dogs late in the afternoon. The sun had already set and it was getting cold and dark quickly. Winter grasses all around thick and wet with early dew.
I saw an owl gliding along the thin streamline. It was very close and glided very slow, almost hovering. And dark as it was, I could still see clearly as he came past me that huge beautiful head distinctly turn and the cavernous eyes look at me intently. I realized, quite without drama, that something small in me had changed, if only because of the deposit of that moment into the marshland of my memory.
It was only later that I came across the poem “The Owl” by Thorkild Bjornvig (translated by Robert Bly in his book News of the Universe: Poems of Twofold Consciousness). The poem ends like this:
…then I felt his huge and yellow stare
plant something foreign in me, a deep quiet,
a mad freedom; my heart laughed
when the bird raised his soft wings.