Patches on the Shaman's Cloak, 1996, acrylic, fabric on paper, 40" x 68"

The Conductor, 1995, ink on paper, 6.5" x 6"

Owl and Crow Go Dancing, 1996, acrylic on paper, 18" x 50"

Grandfather Great Horned Owl I, 1995, ink on paper, 9" x 5"

Grandfather Great Horned Owl IV, 1995, ink on paper, 12" x 9"

Grandfather Great Horned Owl II, 1995, ink on paper, 5" x 4"

Patience Series Artist Statement
These drawings and paintings are of Grandfather Great Horned Owl. They tell the story of an evolving connectedness with him, a journey from the mind into the heart. Grandfather, as I came to call him, died of old age and fell from his post in a spruce tree landing in a snow bank beside my city sidewalk. His death seemed tender and quiet. I carried him home; his weight, his size, his warmth like those of a human newborn. An Abenaki explained how to reverently ask for his feathers and bones and how to return his flesh to Earth. For a year and a half I watched as Earth received him. It was a slow, deliberate and exquisite process that I was privileged to watch.

By the summer of 1995 his feathers covered a pile of finely chiseled bones; bones genetically coded with memories of all owls from time past. Patiently I assembled his skeleton and discovered the striking resemblance between owl and man as if they had sprung from the same thought. This process was Grandfather bestowing a lesson upon me through the gift of himself. Drawing his skeleton I was in softly whispered awe with a growing reverence and appreciation for him. He remained separate and yet oddly grew connected to me. Owl fables and native peoples taught me that owl is the bird of magic and darkness, prophecy and wisdom. The drawings articulated his powerful delicacy and clown-like antics.

The initial paintings were skeleton and embryo as I grappled with trying to know him. Gradually I was pulled out of the studio into Grandfather's world of darkness and forest. I watched his sisters and brothers. The skeleton fleshed out and Grandfather became shaman and dancer formed through an exchange of energy between human and owl. (see Patches on the Shaman’s Cloak painting) The paintings mixed with late night fire rituals and gradually the connectedness moved from my mind to my heart. Welcoming owl as part of me, and me as part of owl led me to an obligation as artist to create from a compassionate position and to engage with the world from a participating consciousness. Originality and courage are not only found in the artistic process but in the life lived.
Sally Linder
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