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Barn owls are my very favorite owls, and I am fortunate to live in an area where I hear and see them in the wild on a regular basis. The model for this painting was a glove-trained bird from The International Centre for Birds of Prey in Newent, England. As wonderful as it was to see the bird clearly in daylight as it flew between keepers to snap up rewards of mouse flesh, in my painting I wanted to communicate the mysterious awe one feels when encountering these creatures in their element. There is something magical about brief glimpses of these ghostly white apparitions at night, when their raspy, alien shrieks split the darkness and one is only granted the briefest of sightings. The bold use of negative space and the inverted silhouette in “Night Shift” are intended to communicate the transience of such a sighting, while the white gold leaf bar on which the bird perches suggests the spiritual awe of the encounter as well as glow of the moon.