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Up In The Pine - Great Horned Owl By Robert Bateman

By Robert Bateman

Up In The Pine - Great Horned Owl by Robert Bateman

"As a boy, I would ride my bicycle out of the city and explore the woods for hawks and owls. Winter was the best time of year to spot them when most of the trees were bare. But because of the shelter and protection afforded by the white pines, that is where the great horned owls would be found roosting. usually I would explore the pine woods with my eyes on the ground looking for pellets... the regurgitated fur and bones of the mice they had just eaten. It is very difficult to spot an owl concealed in a pine, but just being in the peaceful, aromatic forest would be a treat in itself. I have done six paintings of the great horned owl, and five of them have been in white pines. This is not because of some master plan or lack of ideas, it is because all of my life I have loved owls and loved white pines. The two are associated in my mind.

This painting shows a great horned owl, not in concealment, but in a more active pose. It is perched on a piece of broken pine branch which has blown down in a storm. I like the way the rhythm of the branches and needle clumps echo the thrust of the owl.

Owls have long been creatures of myth and mystery. The ancient Greeks associated them with Athena, the goddess of wisdom - hence the expression “wise as an owl.” In other cultures they have been held in awe or viewed with fear. Sometimes they are seen as heralds of victory or harbingers of good luck; at other times they are thought of as ill omens foretelling disaster. The aura of mystery surrounding owls is heightened by two of their characteristics: the fringed feathers at the ends of their wings allow them to fly almost soundlessly, and, with a few exceptions, they are nocturnal and therefore often very difficult to see. The largest of our owls, the great horned owl, is a creature of the dark night and the deep forest that nests up high, usually in an abandoned hawk’s nest or in a tree cavity. I have spent many hours searching for this fierce hunter, which will catch and eat birds as large as a small goose and mammals as fleet as the snowshoe hare. It also dines on porcupine and skunk. If I’m lucky, a noisy mob of crows especially reprehensible. (They have good reason for this, since by night crows become one of this owl’s prey.) If they find a great horned owl trying to take a nap, they wild scold it relentlessly." ~ Robert Bateman

Up In The Pine - Great Horned Owl by Robert Bateman is available as a signed and numbered limited edition print with a 20 x 30-1/2 image size priced at $. Order yours today. All artwork is professionally boxed and insured and guaranteed to arrive in mint condition.

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