Barn Owl linocut print


I finally got around to cutting and printing my Barn Owl linocut design this year. I decided to print a black and white edition as well a hand-coloured edition, as I liked them both as much as each other! Printed with Charbonnel oil-based printing ink on specialist printing paper, Zerkall 210 gsm. Coloured by hand with watercolour paint, which means each print is uniquely painted in the watercolour series. Available in my Artfinder and Etsy shops.

(© Catherine Cronin)


Weekly Sketch – Alhambra Garden View – 23/04/2017

At last a watercolour I feel okay with showing! I really like using watercolour, I often use it to colour drawings; but I’ve been trying to just use it on its own which I find a bit more difficult. Anyway I’m pleased with this A3 painting of steps from one green courtyard  leading down to another interior garden in the Alhambra Palace.

(© Catherine Cronin)


Weekly Sketch – Long-eared Owl – 14/01/2017

I’m still drawing owls, I’m working towards a full set of English owls. This week it is the turn of the Long-eared Owl; in these drawings and paintings I am still paying attention to pattern, colour and simple forms. I’m using black marker pens for the line and pattern, then splashing on watercolour afterwards. I found drawing the essential forms of this owl’s facial features more difficult to capture than my previous owls.

Some facts about Long-eared Owls are:

1) It’s ‘ear tufts’ are nothing to do with the owls ears, and in fact are feathery tufts that the owl raises when it is alarmed.

2) This owl is nocturnal and secretive; and therefore only usually spotted when migrating or travelling back and forth to a communal roost in winter. Communal roosting is an unusual characteristic of this species of owl.

3) These owls roost in dense vegetation and forage in open grasslands or shrublands; also open coniferous or deciduous woodlands.

4) The loud hoot of the male Long-eared Owl can sometimes be heard up to 1 kilometer away.

5) Typical lifespan is 4 years.


(© Catherine Cronin)


Weekly Sketch – Tawny Owl – 07/01/2017

Over Christmas I drew some owls in my sketchbook; I thought I’d revisit my Tawny Owl sketches, working on them further paying attention to pattern, colour and simplifying form. I’m using black marker pens for the line and pattern, then blocking in watercolour after. These initial works are trying to get a grip on the form and posture of the bird.

Some facts about Tawny Owls are:

1) Resident of the UK and they prefer woodland, shelter-belts and gardens. Their short wings give them great manoeuvrability to hunt in woodland.

2) They live up to 4 years; they pair up in their first year with a mate and usually stay together for life. Tawny owls prefer to nest in a tree-hole but have been found to use magpie nests, squirrel drey, holes in buildings, and nest boxes. A pair will typically produce 2 to 3 eggs in a clutch.

3) It is thought the contact calls between females (ke-wick) and the answering male (‘hoo-hoo-oo’) is the source of the idea that a tawny owl’s call is ‘twit twoo’. And this misrepresentation may be derived from Shakespeare trying to make the overlapping calls fit into a verse in Love’s Labour’s Lost.

4) They are a nocturnal bird, active at night and roosting in the day. Old names for this owl are:  hill hooter, screech owl, wood owl, beech owl and ivy owl. Some of these names are a reminder of the owl’s daytime roosts.

5) The pioneer bird photographer Eric Hosking lost an eye to a tawny owl while trying to photograph it. His biography was aptly titled An eye for a bird.


(© Catherine Cronin)