Owl in Love with Sparrow

Mixed Media by Niya Christine. Copyright

#47/365 Paintings

The owl let out it’s large talons, skidded on the dirt for a split second before scooping up the sparrow for dinner. The sparrow in his panic rolled several times before the snap of a wing and then dent of a pupil. He was done for. There was nothing uncertain about that. He dazed off as the great owl flew him to her nest. The sparrow had grown very weak. She pushed him aside as she prepared a small pocket of twigs around his body like a placemat on the dinner table. With her huge beak she pulled him from his non-broken wing. It confused her why she took care like this—not to hurt him, since she had just pummeled him and was about to eat him. He looked at her then from his torn up eye as if to say, “please… this hurts, go ahead.” It happened then. And she couldn’t tell you why this sparrow in particular. But she suddenly wanted nothing more than his wholeness. She pulled up the softest twigs she could find to support his wing. She fussed over him all night long. A red tail hawk tried to swoop in to eat him and she obfuscated him with one swift kick. What was she to do? She only destroyed tiny birds. She had no idea how to fix him. She put her body over him with special care that he breathed and kept him warm all night, hoping by dawn he would be whole again. She imagined the great adventures they would have together. He had a hold of her heart good!

In the morning she woke with a start. A shimmer of hope and happiness. She lifted her large wing and gently moved the twigs aside. She wriggled him. But it was no use. He was gone.

So this is how the great owl fell in love with the sparrow and kept him in her heart to this day.


Project notes: This piece is the result of the multimedia class that concluded today (mentioned in previous posts). I’m thrilled to have learned how to do this. My technique is the opposite. Simply draw and paint, I’d forgotten about so many fun things like charcoal, gesso, pastel and more. I love how the images emerge and layers and layers later they introduce themselves as the characters they are. There will be more of this style in the future, I’m sure.

You may also like


  • Sage Cohen February 16, 2013   Reply →

    A love that rewires instinct. A paradox of hunt and embrace. Ah, the heart is the most powerful muscle and sanctuary and laboratory. I wept for the owl, discovering herself through loss. And for all the birds that have come through my home broken by the hunt.

    • niya christine February 17, 2013   Reply →

      “A love that rewires instinct.” EXACTLY. I couldn’t have said it better. That story had it’s own direction for sure. All I wanted to say was that an owl had a crush on a sparrow, but then the hunt scene started. Also your comment about how she discovered herself through the loss. This seems so true of the human condition as well. Thank you Sage for your deep ‘get it-ness’ — very appreciative (honored) of your presence here.

  • WM Rine February 17, 2013   Reply →

    It’s funny how your art changes temperament as you mix up your media. That owl in those greens and blues is alive in a really different way.

    A really stunning story, too. It feels very true, although I’m still meditating on how. It went in a whole bunch of unexpected directions all at the same time.

    • niya christine February 17, 2013   Reply →

      Insightful WM! I’m finding that as well. I’ve had more surprises the past week than the past year in painting. One thing proven over and over again. I may have one idea for where I’d like the painting to go but it does what it wants to do. When I see what’s formulating I need to go with it and support the direction with color, shading, line, texture until it’s complete.
      And your comment about the story is very appropo. Again, I was surprised.

Leave a comment