Framed 18" x 24" Limited Edition Giclee Print, 2010 (Age 14)
I enjoy visiting my Uncle Daryl and Auntie Diane’s farm near Wilcox, Saskatchewan. They always take us for drives in the evening to examine the progress of their crops and allow us to experience those amazing big sky sunsets. I love the way the endless fields of golden wheat turn to copper as the sun goes down. I was gathering photos and planning a painting to show the expansiveness of the prairies when my cousin Kyle, who also farms there, emailed me some photos of a Great Horned Owl on their porch railing. It had one droopy eye and stood uncommonly still as he took many photos of it. So it didn’t surprise him when he found it dead in the field later that day — seemingly of old age rather than any visible mishap. In my painting I wanted to portray that this owl was indeed on its last legs. I could have painted a young perky owl without any imperfections, but I wanted to stay true to the reality of this scene. The owl reminded me of the final time I hugged my Grandpa Cairns as he was on his way out our door. I told him I loved him, and I noticed his eyes were heavy as he pulled away. He knew it and we knew it, his heart was winding down. It was dusk and he was weary. His eyes told me that he was sorry but this would have to be our last farewell. And it was. The patriarch of our family was gone. In nature and in our own lives sickness and death are inevitable, so we must take the time to enjoy each person and animal that God brings our way even for just a short time.