I got lucky enough to see another owl up close. I'd been out early one morning and gone to the forest to see if I could spot one without any luck. When I got almost back to my house, though, I heard a whole group of birds kicking up a ruckus. One of the best pieces of life advice I've gotten is to listen for the birds going ballistic somewhere and then try to spot the owl they're fussing at. This time, unlike often when they're super high, she was sitting on a decently low branch in the alley just across from my house. Sometimes what you're looking for is at home all along.
She sat and watched Gideon and me for 7 or 8 minutes. Just watched, occasionally twisting her head in odd but lovely ways to watch other things and then looking back at us. I took a chance, put Gideon in the house, grabbed my sketchbook, and she was still there when I got back. So I spent another 10 minutes sketching her. The first two are a water soluble graphite crayon, and the second two are a fat felt tip pen and some lighter ink wash. I'm getting really close on my finishing my big commission, and I may have to do a print of this owl afterwards. I enjoyed doing the series of birds for my show at WAMA, and as much as I love owls, I think an addition to that series is needed.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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