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Night Hunter – Barn Owl

You may have noticed by now that I have rather a soft spot for Owls, Barn Owls in Particular.  This beautiful barn Owl at Screech Owl Sanctuary in Cornwall was my inspiration for this challenging piece.

To be totally honest this piece was my most difficult to date and nearly didn’t make it to completion!  I could not have anticipated that the bird being in profile becoming such an issue.  When you view a Barn Owl face on you have no idea how fluffy their faces are.  This was really difficult to recreate.

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Barn owls are one of the worlds most widespread birds, found on 6 of the worlds seven continents. They are mostly confined to warmer latitudes, Scotland being their most northern home.

A typical lifespan for a wild adult barn owl is 4 years although the longest living on record is 15 years.  However most die young, of those that fledge, approximately 70% die in their first year.

Rain is very bad news for the barn owl as their soft feathers become waterlogged which prevents them from hunting.  Wet summers mean they struggle to feed and raise their young.  The loss of buildings such as Barns means they have lost the ability to catch rodents in the dry conditions they offered.

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The initial sketch and main fabrics.

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I have used the main brown fabric on the previous two owls, the bird is made up of jut 6 pieces of fabric.

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Starting to build up the detail of the face, the shading around the eye was very difficult to get right as was the ‘ruff’ around the face.

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After painting small dark flecks onto the fabric with fabric paint I started stitching the details onto the head and neck.

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This piece was so heavily worked by the end that the piece needed to be heavily quilted on the background.  Luckily the pattern I had chosen was ideal for this.  The picture below shows the level of quilting, numerous small circles.

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The finished piece, three broken needles and fourteen days later it was complete.  All is forgiven and the love affair goes on.

A limited edition Giclee print of ‘Night Hunter’ is available from my Website shop , please click here to view.

AK009 Night Hunter