The Ghost of an Owl

Ghost Owl Tree blog

Ghost Owl Tree (40 cms x 20 cms, ink and coloured pencil on watercolour paper, 2016)

In 2010, an eagle owl flew from the North of England down the eastern coastline to Suffolk. It made its home in a large tree on the edge of farmland, feasting on the rich supply of rabbits and pheasants that lived nearby.

Fearless and with few natural predators, these owls have been known to swoop down into suburban gardens and take out domestic cats. They will see off other hunting birds, such as harriers, and even attack smaller farm animals.

One day the Suffolk eagle owl grew tired of rabbits and decided it would switch to a diet of piglets, but a local farmer took umbrage and shot the magnificent bird when it returned to the tree. Sometimes, on moonlit winter nights, an eerie glow can be seen among its bare branches, said by locals to be the spirit of the owl haunting its former hunting ground.

I’m afraid I’ve made up this story (although the second paragraph is true) to explain this drawing. For some time I’d wanted to do a version of Ernst Haeckel’s Pedigree of Man (1879) tree. I thought I’d draw an owl to collage onto the tree but then felt it looked more mysterious with just the glowing space.

So here it is, with a short story free of charge.



39 thoughts on “The Ghost of an Owl

  1. You had a me moment, adding a story to the drawing on the fly. I cannot imagine such a voracious owl. But, what a visual/story. I am sure–with a lil effort–you could spin it even further. What else might this owl ghost do?

    How did you go from a tree diagram to a missing owl?


  2. I love the branches and twigs, which seem barren and scary. Lonely. Reminds me of the tattoo i got, which is supposed to include a “crown of thorns” that were ostensibly cruel and hateful looking. Yet, when my Texas sister in law looked at it, she said they looked like antlers instead and said, “You sure the tattoo artist didn’t hear, ‘crown of horns’?” Anyway, love this piece, as i do all your stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Eagle owls are pretty wild and one of the largest in the world (the largest being the Blakiston’s Fish Owl, which is my son’s favorite). 🙂

    I looooove your tree and spectral owl drawing! And your story’s pretty darned good, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great. Saw a docu some time ago on these owls colonizing quarries in the UK – the rock faces are similar to their natural nesting places. There’s definitely an owl saga in this idea…!

    Liked by 1 person

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