October 18, 2011

An Owl and a Pussy-Cat

        This weekend was an Open Studios show and that means I sat and carved all weekend.  On Saturday I carved Cat Art.  This one was fun and different for me because it's actually a portrait of Talia, our new kitten.  (We've had her for about three months now, and she's about nine months old.  She doesn't look kittenish any more.)  Our former cat of happy memory, Nightshade, served as the model for much previous Cat Art, but the cat images she inspired were all rather generalized.  Nightshade's blotchy mulch-colored fur didn't translate well into bold black and white, so all my cats ended up being solid black or white, or wholly fictional tabby-stripes.  Talia, however, is a true classic tabby, mostly black with narrow ticked whorls.  I thought I'd try actually reproducing her pattern in this piece, and it turned out better than I had feared at the point of carving.  I especially love the white rim around her eyes while she snoozes!
        On Sunday I carved an owl, based on a screech owl, though without any claims of Audubon-worthy accuracy.  Instead of being about reproducing an accurate portrait of a creature, this piece is more about pattern and texture.  (T is quite excited about it, since two of her favorite people have owl companions: Harry Potter and Athena.)  I saw a program about owls once from which I learned that owls are actually pretty stupid birds, which makes their use as a symbol of wisdom delightfully ironic.  But even if keen intelligence isn't their specialty, owls are still wonderful, amazing creatures.
        Of course my two days of carving were interrupted for sales (if never as many as I'd like!)  And actually the carving was interrupted for quite a few very nice conversations, as well.  I'm thinking of three in particular that were especially gratifying.  Two of these were people who had bought books last year as gifts for children (a daughter with Hey, Diddle Diddle! and a grandson with Amazing, Beguiling, Curious, to be specific.)  They reported back to me how much the children loved the books, and I really appreciate this feedback.  I pour a lot of love and care into those books and art.  They come from deep in my own imagination and my own visions of the world, they are personal and precious to me, and then I throw them out into the world and they disappear.  I never hear back from most readers of my books, or from recipients of my art, so when I do find out that someone out there is sharing my enjoyment and treasuring the connection I've made with them, that really means a lot to me.  The third example was a four-year-old boy who came in with his parents.  Last year they'd bought a vintage car for his bedroom, and this year they came back to choose a second car to go with the first.  He also tried his hand at carving the rubber and was excited to learn the process of how the car prints were made.  He was preparing to redecorate to a "big boy" room, and he wanted my cars to be part of it.  I am honored and pleased that something I created is a part of that boy's life!

[Pictures:  Curled Up with a Good Book, rubber block print by AEGN, 2011;
Screech Owl, rubber block print by AEGN, 2011.]

2 comments:

  1. What a great owl -- he reminds me of an old man I know who has these bushy eyebrows and cares not a fig whether they are combed or brushed. Your owl knows that this is his roost and he doesn't have to bow to any creature. Long may he live -- in peace, with that suave cat.

    The Aging Wordsmith

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  2. It must be a most excellent old man! ;)

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