Barn Owl in Moonlight


Fine Art Watercolour Paper
Giclee Prints
Size: 305mm x 400mm

Original Painting Medium: Oil on Canvas
Scientific Name: Tyto alba
Region: U.K

In 1999, I was commissioned to portray a Barn Owl flying across a meadow. For my Barn Owl oil painting, I decided to portray my owl on a bright moonlit night.  The family that commissioned the artwork explained that they would often see a barn owl at night, in the field behind their home, and as they were having to relocate they wished to have a painting of a barn owl as a reminder.

A Barn Owl flying at dusk appears to be pure white, yet seeing one at close quarters reveals that it is a mixture of various shades of pale gold, with brown, grey, and black specks. The Barn Owl is most often seen hunting, in what is known as quartering flight, over open permanent pastures. The best habitat for owls includes a good population of small mammals such as voles, mice, and shrews. These regular patrols may be punctuated by short rests on a fence post from which prey can sometimes be caught. Particularly well-developed senses of sight and smell, and the rounded wings with their soft, fluffy feathers, make owls efficient and silent hunters.

Year after year barn owls will return to established roosts and breeding sites in old barns, trees, cliffs, and in the attics of old buildings. Their calls include a variety of hoarse shrieks that over the centuries have given them the reputation as a bird of ill omen.

Barn owl numbers have declined drastically over the past decades due to habitat destruction, pollution, and intensive agricultural methods. To discover a dead barn owl on the roadside is tragic and sadly became a common sight. Hence a barn owl perched on a fence or silently gliding across a field whilst hunting is now a rare sight in our countryside.

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