Wednesday, April 21, 2010

wise owl

photo by Chuck Graham, taken last year, same spot

while camping in the carrizo plain last week, chuck and owen (our puppy) came across this great horned owl ! this darling guy is just a chick, no wonder owen was so interested in him, it must have been a very milo and otis moment! these two youngsters wanting to play together! (i know i know, owlet probably really just wanted to eat owen!)

there were a couple questions in the last comments about the rattlesnake they came across, and how owen reacted. chuck said they were walking along (puppy on a short leash, just too many dangers out) when owen suddenly stopped and became still and then very agitated. luckily chuck looked around before going any further. they heard the hissing first, there, in the long grass, was the rattler. they moved away without disturbing it (owen already backing up), but not of course before chuck took some photos....

photo by Chuck Graham

western pacific rattlesnake
(yes, he was close!)

back to owls, i pulled out my bird books and made an attempt at painting my own owl. HELP! this is the first time i've tried oil paints and i think i did it all wrong. what do i do now? i am stuck. i think the background should have been painted first? i like the little eyes and his talons but the rest looks, terrible. this isn't at all like watercolor. :(

not really meaning for this to be an owl post but i couldn't seem to stop myself ( i have more, did i mention i have a collection of owls too?) these are vintage bookplates a friend gave to me. i thought you might be able to print them out and have your own. if you like owls and bookplates. they are really very lovely i think.

and last, if you'd like to see a live owl in a nest box , go here to meet molly, a wild female barn owl, and her husband mcgee. her chicks were laid in february, and hatched in march. don't forget to turn up the sound to hear the cheep cheep cheep.

♥ lori


  1. Hi Lori

    the young owl is so beautiful, just as fluffy as owen. I think your owl is also lovely...they have such knowing and condescending looks...

    happy days

  2. aww, nice way for me to head to bed. tomorrow i will add my hoots and comments.

    meanwhile, you continue to delight me!

    ps you are too hard on yourself. i liked the illo before i knew it was yours, and then i liked it even more. (how did you nail the eyes so well? my friend studio lolo nails eyes like that...)

    hahaha, i leave a comment to say i will comment later and then i comment anyway. hee hee.

  3. I love your drawings. Your gorgeous bird artwork is lovingly covering my copy of Roberts Birds of Southern Africa!

    I heard a Spotted Eagle Owl calling on the roof on my Bizzzzzy Weekend bee course last weekend. I find it such a soothing call and I always feel like it's message to me is "everything's going to be okay" everytime I hear it (which is not often enough)


  4. I love to hear the owls in the woods and sometimes in my garden late at night.
    Went to that site but they must all be sleeping of having afternnon tea in their house! and the people who watch them were all getting upset with on another.
    I think your painting in oils is fine,and you just carry on till you are happy with the results.

  5. I'm with KJ. When I saw the owl illo I was impressed. He's great! I know nothing about oils, have no idea how to manage them!
    I had posted a funny owl story recently, I'll try to find it.
    The rattle snake scares the daylights out of me.

  6. In our woods we had tawny owls, making really eerie noises. They are very special birds, and you caught that well in your painting, as Chuck in his photo! I would be much afraid of rattlesnakes! Good that Owen was careful. Clever puppy! What amazing outings you make!

  7. I must have missed the rattlesnake post, but seen the distance at which Chuck shot him w/ his camera, I feel perhaps I should just skip it for now. I'm like Indiana Jones, HATE snakes.

    Your owl looks perfect, what are you talking about?! I love the effect you gave the foliage and the light on the talons. His eyes are very... mischievous.

    On a separate not, last night I dreamt I was swimming, swimming, swimming in clear sea waters. When I finally landed on the shore, exhausted but on the natural high of exercise, the beach was Carpinteria. I don't know if it was the photos you sent or the ones posted here on your blog, but the amount of detail and clarity in the dream astounded me.

    I thought I'd share that here.

  8. Oh My! The owl is beautiful! And even the Snake is a beauty! What striking markings.
    So glad you keep Owen on a leash! Curiousity could kill him!
    My oldest daughter's sorority mascot is the owl. She has always been fearful of birds, but she likes the owl (although never has seen one in the wild). Your owl painting is wonderful! I think its perfect as is.

  9. ah that painting was just fab...and i totally agree the eyes do rule, you said this was your first so kudo's on doing so well.

    now let me get this straight that 'lil pup of yours...thats owen?he's white yes?
    was the rattle pic zoomed up or were you really that close???
    liked this post
    you always make everyday life sound so fun...

  10. I really like yr painting of the owl. Yes, oils ARE different from watercolours - they are supposed to work backwards - (start dark end light as opposed to w/colours where you start with lightest first). BUT who cares about rules when it looks fine? You've got nice scratchy dry for the leaves. Great.

  11. That little owl is adorable! And I'm glad Owen had some good instincts to go very still. Rattlers are just like most other animals - they don't want to hurt anyone, they just want to be left alone :)

  12. Hi Lori and Owen...i LOVE owls !
    so i LOVED this...

    and that rattlesnake is scary...owen probably knew it was bad smart...

    i waved to you as we drove by...

    and john was checking out usual...lifelong surfer :-)

    we are IN LOVE with little TEDDY...what a little love bug..he is just adorable...and he mended a very broken heart.....

    on your blog you mention you are a manager..where? as we drove by i saw mary sooting mom LOVED that shop.....

    thanks for the Teddy Welcome...

    sending love,
    kary and teddy

  13. hi delwyn,
    i think the owlet is beautiful too, i wish i could have seen it. i'd never thought about a condescending look from owls before. i think they look wise and sincere.


    hi kj,
    thank you for the noncomment comment!
    the oil has me wringing my hands...i like detail so i started there first, a mistake i think now. but thank you!


    ah, that makes me really happy. and for the fact that it didn't disappear in the sapo!!

    i'm pretty sure i heard a spotted eagle owl, brilliant sound. i love that message you hear, i feel the same way. thanks.


    i think it's because of the time difference, the camera is live. how lovely you can hear them in your garden, oh i wish!
    thank you for your advice re the oil, i think i'll give it another try.


    me either! i only borrowed my daughters as an experiment. i have a lot to learn, but i think i'm more suited to colored pencils and watercolors. but thank you.
    the good thing about rattlesnakes is the warning they give, first hiss then rattle...


    dear geli,
    tawny owls?! i'll have to go look those up. sometimes the sounds owls make can be more unsettling than comforting. i'm so glad owen was using his little puppy head!


    i understand, you know how i feel about spiders. ugh. at least snakes don't like to be around us.

    thank you for the nice words re the painting. i will try some more with it. i think i may have painted owens eyes then. heehee.

    what a dream. i wish i were swimming with you, then we would run down the beach to my house and cook a yummy meal together! come back.


    thank you! i love the markings on snakes too, the rattlesnake is a beautiful one. as long as they are not too close, i can really appreciate them.
    i was glad to hear owen used such good judgement, i knew my husband would take really good care of him too.
    i hope your daughter is growing out of her fear, and i'm glad she likes owls!


    thanks honey, yes this is my first attempt at oil painting (not painting though). probably my last too, oil is not for me i think!

    owen is the small little blonde dog. and yes he was pretty close to the rattler. but he never saw it since it was hidden in the grass. my husband kept him on a very short leash for this reason (plus the eagles, coyotes, bobcats...)
    my husband used a wide angle lens, so no zoom, he was close. but he knows what he's doing (not me).

    LOVED your beach post.


    thanks for that, i really had no idea where to start and i'm a rule person first (breaking them only when comfortable). i don't know what to do next, it looks unfinished to me. oils are a challenge.


    exactly! coulden't you picture milo and otis?? have you seen that movie?


    dear kary and teddy,
    ah, doesn't that have a good sound? i'm so happy for you three.
    i thought of you as you drove by. too bad it wasn't today,the surf is up, my husband spent a few hours this morning at rincon.

    i am in carpinteria, i'll email you the name. i know mary suding, thats in summerland.

    welcome home sweet teddy!


  14. Wise Owen! He's got good instincts. And wow, what a shot of that snake! I saw a pair of quails attacking a rattler once. They distracted it while their chickies safely crossed the road. It was fascinating! Aah, but I digress.

    I love owls! Very auspicious for Chuck to have spotted one.

    And I'm very impressed with your painting! Oh my! I can't even watercolor. I doubt I could do nearly as well as you with the oils.

  15. my dear bella,
    thank you most sincerly, but I BEG TO DIFFER, you are a brilliant artist. What do you paint with? i'm sure it wouldn't matter, i really can't believe the art you make, incredible.( i wish i could see you creating).
    and thank you for sharing that story! nature is amazing and there is always something interesting to see. we love owls too and felt the same way!

  16. I love the owl post - they are such amazing creatures. Sadly, some people in this part of the world still tend to be suspicious/superstitious about them, and they can be killed for no reason, especially chicks. I am so glad to hear that owen was a camping champion, rattlesnake and all! Great old postcard and a good life lesson too.. have a lovely weekend, Lori! x

  17. karen,
    i did know that and it makes me sad, superstitions are hard to change. i am very much looking forward to the weekend and i hope you and tiennie have a really nice relaxing one too! xxx

  18. Lori the owl is cute... yours and the real one. It's a rare treat to see them. I saw a big white one once in the middle of the day in northern NSW. It was a beautiful sight for me and it made me feel privileged.

    When it comes to oil painting there are no real rules, but yes it can be easier to paint your background first. I think the trick with oils is to be patient as you sometimes need to allow for drying time.
    Oils are a wonderful medium. I haven't painted with them for a very long time, but I did use them a lot during my art student years.

    Snake! you know I once had one here in Perth in my hall cupboard.
    I'm afraid of them... and I think it is a healthy fear as most snakes here are very poisonous, like yours.

    love to you... sorry for the ramble - I've just arrived home from the dentist and can smile wide again :) xxx

    PS.. i could hear them but couldn't see them... the owls that is x

  19. I love the owl post - they are such amazing creatures. Sadly, some people in this part of the world still tend to be suspicious/superstitious about them, and they can be killed for no reason, especially chicks. I am so glad to hear that owen was a camping champion, rattlesnake and all! Great old postcard and a good life lesson too.. have a lovely weekend, Lori! x

  20. Yikes I'd have been terrified about the rattle snakes.

    My dog is stupid enough to chase things like that.

  21. Hi Lori Ann... my first time visiting your wonderful blog! I am also a lover of Owls! Magical and beautiful birds.... I don't get many in SF, but see them regularly when I am in Marin or Sonoma/Napa.....

    Your son is already an excellent photographer! You have an "eye" for your subject - or you don't - and Owen definitely does! (He's brave too....I like snakes - but that Rattler was a bit too close!)

    Your artwork is lovely - I will be visiting often!


    ♥ Robin ♥

  22. Isn't the owl just too sweet? Probably wondering who those people were! Or eyeing your little dog.. such a cute doggy too...
    I love owls.. they carry that aura of wisdom about them don't you think? It's always so great to see them in the wild.. over on this side you get the giant barn owls.. now there's a sight! And they sound so peaceful..
    I really like your painting..and don't worry, oil paints are in general a very hard medium to use! Especially at first.. and let me say this is a wonderful first attempt. The eyes are indeed very intense.. the talons as well... just as you said. I would recommend you use watercolors though.. if you feel more comfortable using them.. but practice makes perfect :) Starting with the background first is always a good idea...also.
    Love this post..your writing always carries such an adventurous feeling. Tell your Chuck he's very daring and a brilliant photographer..Keep up with the painting :)

    Inez xx

  23. Love these! I love your painting, too. I wish I could do what you can.

  24. robyn,
    thanks so much for the advice, i only wished i'd have asked first. seeing owls is a priveldge i think, i get a thrill every time.
    i just finished with the dentist too! yay!

    hahaha, i think he's just probably curious!


    hi robin!
    i think the same thing, magical and oh so beautiful. i'm sorry i didnt describe better in my post, chuck is my husband. and owen our puppy. thank you so much for the very kind words!


    hi inez,
    thank you sweetie! i sure appreciate all your kind words and good advice! i'll tell chuck what you said and i gauruntee he will smile!


    coming from the multitalented person that you are, that is a very big compliment. thank you.

  25. What a beautiful shot of the rattle! ( although I get very scared about them)
    And to tell you the truth, I never saw an owl but maybe now I´ll have the chance , after I moved in to a smaller town.
    I like your painting and it´s so perfect , Lori, really!!!

  26. mina,
    you are such a sweetheart, i hope you do get to see an owl now. let me know okay?

  27. I love your owl post, even if it wasn't an intentionally owly post. I don't know anything about painting, oil or otherwise, but I like your first try. So cute!

  28. Hi Lori, gorgeous owls ... yours, the chick and the web cam pair, there's something special about owls*!*


xoxo lori