I was browsing through the illustration and art-ish section of the Dewey Decimal System ( 741.973 to be exact, just in case you were wondering ) when I came across this little book. Owl Feathers, it said. And judging from the other books around it, I thought it was going to be a sort of, “Here are some different ways and techniques to draw owl feathers.” Seeing as I’m going to need to be drawing owls myself here in the near future, I picked it up.
The title is not, in this case, deceiving. It contains exactly what it promises. Owl feathers. But I was rather wrong about the contents.
Published in 1975, the introduction tells of the meaning behind Owl Feathers. The artist, William Crutchfield, speaks of owls as having “been assigned paradoxical traits.” He goes on to say, “This had led to my observation that one’s own thoughts of owls are more real than owls actually seen.” With all the different meanings and omens owls have been given over the generations, William was inspired to look for owls everywhere, and in everything he saw. “The outcome is a rather motley cast of owls pretending to be everyone.”
The drawings in this book are some of my favorite ever seen. I had a hard time choosing just 4 for the collage below. Each one comes with it’s own little line of text. Here are the lines that went with these drawings.
“-owls give night interviews”
“-owls are never tidy”
“-thoughts of owls are more real than owls actually seen”
“-what is on the radio?”
And these aren’t even the strangest drawings to be seen in the book. How about an owl fawn, or owl star observatories, or an owl drawn into a rocky canyon? It is the strangeness, I think, that draws me to this book so much, along with the quirky lines and simple color scheme to bring the focus of your eye to the lines of the pen itself rather than the brightness of a full color illustration.
Any number of meanings can be drawn from each page and it’s little line to go with it. It is never truly said what each one means; so it can mean whatever you think up. And depending on what mood you’re in or when you happen to look through these drawings, I think that meaning can change, and you can imagine something slightly or completely different each time.
The interpretation is up to you.
It is works like this one that I draw the most inspiration from for stories, wether they take the form of writing or a doodle of my own. I found these drawings to be beyond interesting & intriguing. The owl is now covered in even more lines of writing for me than it ever has been before.
★★★★★ 5 Star Review
What do you think of the strangeness of these drawings? Do you like to see artwork that leans more on the strange side or that stays more firmly realistic? What’s your favorite type of bird? ( Mine’s the chickadee, but owls come fairly close! )