A few years ago, this handsome Eastern Screech Owl (Red morph) took shelter for a few weeks in a cozy hole in the sycamore outside my third floor window. Being an owl, he slept most of the day inside the hole, coming out only occasionally to sun himself while he napped. The day I took the reference photo for this painting, a snowstorm was bearing down on us, but the little owl just slept through it, snow accumulating on his head until his night shift began when he flew off to hunt dinner.
No technique allows me to capture details and rich color like scratchboard by alternating layers of engraving and colored ink. The medium, which is totally archival with light-fast inks on Ampersand Claybord, is ideal for depicting textures of fur, fin, and feather. After I varnish the finished surface, it can be hung without glass, just like an oil or acrylic painting. Finished in 2009, this painting is part of my Backyard Wildlife Series.