Burrowing owls inspire print

I am quite taken by birds. Perhaps you have noticed?

The subject of the latest print in my “Little Bird” series is the burrowing owl. I have to admit: I’ve never seen one of these lovely owls in the wild, although they can be active during the day, unlike many other owls.

LINDA COTE-Burrowing Owl

A burrowing owl brought to the Canmore Festival of Ealges.

I did get the chance to see one close up, though, at our town’s “Festival of Eagles” event celebrating the yearly autumn migration of the Golden Eagle.

As part of this event, there is a bird of prey exhibit where several kinds of birds are presented in our civic square for a (supervised) close encounter with people.

Most of these birds are rescue birds that have been injured and brought to our southern Alberta raptor rescue and conservation organization The Alberta Birds of Prey Foundation.

I love this event, and my children also love the chance to get up close with eagles, raptors, Great Horned Owls and more. Although all owls are amazing creatures, this little burrowing owl has certainly captured my heart.

Although I typically create a print with only one bird in it, for this print, it just seemed right to sketch two owls. These owls are often seen in photographs in pairs or groups.

LINDA COTE-Owl blocksBelow, the carving begins. I remove most of the block around the birds first, saving the detailed work of the birds for the end.

LINDA COTE-Owl carvingThe final carved block shows the detail. The dark graphite of the pencil simulates where the ink will lay down.

LINDA COTE-Owl block finalInking the block, I see what’s been carved and what will print. I make small adjustments to the block at this stage.

LINDA COTE-Owl inkingOnce the block is completely carved, I ink it and pull the first print. There are always a few minor adjustments at this stage, then the print edition proceeds. It will take me about two hours to complete an edition of 30 one-color prints.

LINDA COTE-Owl print

The stage I love: prints drying on the line. So nice to see them all lined up like this!

LINDA COTE-Owl prints drying

And, a close-up of the final print. These two look wary, standing upright outside their burrow.

LINDA COTE-Burrowing Owl print

Although the burrowing owl’s scientific name means “little digger,” this owl rarely digs its own burrow. It builds a nest in burrows abandoned by ground squirrels, badgers, and prairie dogs. We have lots of those around here. Maybe I will be lucky enough to see one this summer!

LINDA COTE-Little Burrowing Owls

“Little Burrowing Owls”
Handmade Linocut Relief Print – Size: 5.5″ x 7.5″

One response to “Burrowing owls inspire print

  1. Pingback: Printmaking the Great Horned Owl | Musings From The Studio·

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