10" x 20" Art Deco Owl by Julie Leidel. Artwork and words (illuminated verse) by Julie Leidel, 2023. Frame by Rob Bennett.
US Postcard with the wise old owl motif created by R. L. Wells in 1906.
A 1905 postcard showing the popularity of wise owls of the era.
This illustration is from John Martin's 1917 Book. Prints of this colorized version (with added text) are for sale on ETSY by jdayminis who scanned an old version of the book.
A Canadian IWM (Imperial War Museum) poster depicting the Owl motif to encourage monetary support and to sell war bonds during World War I.
A fruit crate label from the 1930s.
A 1943 version of this poem used in World War II to try to convince the soldiers of keeping quite for security reasons during the war.
For my Art Deco Owl, I wanted to capture the intrinsic connection between stillness and wisdom through the popular motif of an owl. When we slow down (and stop even) the answers to life's questions can present themselves on a deeper, more intuitive level.
The Barred Owl's contrasting feathered-beauty was a natural choice for my artwork, I wanted to blend in with the snowy environment where even more patience and wisdom is required from the owl to survive the lean meals of winter. I wanted to give an actionable presence to you, as the observer of the owl, to look out and connect through direct eye contact to the wisdom of the owl with your heart and mind.
Much of my bird series is inspired by Art Nouveau specifically, but with this painting, I wanted the viewer to see the owl through a FLW-inspired stained glass border. The bottom of the border is intentionally a highly abstracted Art Deco owl with its wings spread wide to give lift and support to our invitation in finding the stillness. I wanted my painting to be a reminder to pause and look deeper within ourselves, while living in our busy modern world.
As I create new paintings, I really love researching common symbolism, and I like to trace it back to see some of the origins.
The motif of "the wise old owl" dates back centuries in many cultures around the world. Many of us can turn to to Greek Mythology where Athena, goddess of wisdom, found Princess Nyctimene fleeing the island of Lesbos because and her father the king had raped her. It is said that Athena turned Nyctimene into an owl and that she became her animal companion to Athena's blind side. The owl gave Athena the ability to see through dark or blind spots to know and speak the full truth. The owl in Greek mythology represents both an intellectual, and soulful wisdom. Below, we see Athena with her wise little owl carved into this Greek terracotta lekythos (oil flask) from 490-480 B.C. which is housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
The wise owl motif in modern-day print goes back to at least 1875, in the British magazine Punch with this poem, author unknown.
"A wise old owl
Sat on an oak.
The more he saw,
The less he spoke.
The less he spoke,
The more he heard.
Why can’t we be
Like that wise old bird?"
A 1904 version of this popular poem, illustrator unknown.
John D. Rockefeller was fond of the poem, and quoted it in 1909 which garnered wider popularity across the United States. The poem is frequently misattributed to Edward Hersey Richards or William R. Cubbage, but earlier versions of the same poem existed.
World War I brough the owl back in print to depict the wisdom behind supporting the war effort through purchasing buying war bonds in Canada, while usage of this motif in World War II spoke to the dangers of sharing secrets at home and abroad in America. In 1943, the United States used this rhyme on a poster with the new ending, "Soldier.... be like that old bird!" captioned with "Silence means security." The old adage "Loose Lips Sink Ships" was another common saying of the war years for homeland security.
Since the early 1900s, artists have depicted the owl as teachers, graduate students, and librarians on everything from cakes and t-shirts. Many different styles of art have utilized this symbolism, and I'm sure they will continue well into the future.
My goal was to connect the wisdom of the ages to something we can relate to needing more of today: a quite escape from the ever-knocking steam of online information, mis- and dis- included. I wanted my little owl to invite the wisdom of stillness into our lives through meditation, prayer, contemplation, and critical thinking.
Prints of my artwork can be purchased here.
The Origin of The Wise Old Owl
3 Art Styles For The Same Frame
Three great art styles to choose from - which is your favorite?
I'm highlighting 3 different styles of artwork that fit the same frame. The 8x10 matted print will fit, as will and add-on of the black mat. Matted prints come with UV protective acrylic plexi-glass. The third picture showcases the 11x14 art canvas print that lays flat in the frame with no glass or reflection. The 11x14 wooden plaque also looks great framed.
Shop now until Nov. 18th and receive 12% off your entire order with coupon code NOV12
Evergreen Open Doors Studio Tour
The 1856 Steamboat Arabia
Morning StART Guest Artist
Large Format Panoramic Sizing
These will be available soon to purchase through check out, but you can order now! Just email firstname.lastname@example.org and receive free shipping now through the end of 2021.
Artist Spotlight by Golden State Art
I partner with a great company through my business, and they just did an artist spotlight on me and my work. Here's the article:
Thanks Golden State Art! It means so much to me that they promote the artists that buy their products. What a wonderful organization.
The Roycroft Artisans: Then & Now
February Original Art Auctions
February is Arts & Crafts Month!
To celebrate, I will be running 3-day auctions on ebay through 2/28/21.
Click each image to be taken to the auction page. Thanks for looking!
February is Arts & Crafts Month
February is Arts & Crafts Month, and to celebrate I will be running 3-day auctions all month long on ebay.
To learn more about the 34th Annual Arts & Crafts Conference, go to: https://arts-craftsconference.com/
This year as many of you know, the 34th Annual Arts and Crafts Conference will be happening virtually, but what you may not know is that it will run for the ENTIRE MONTH OF FEBRUARY! This year's show is bigger than ever before.
There's a full schedule of events each and every day - seminars, small group discussions, live chats with artists, video presentations, and *free* access to ALL the vendors you love - both working contemporary artists of the Arts & Crafts Revival, and antique dealers with original treasures from the turn of century.
For a small conference fee of only $100, you will have access to all the expanded education and knowledge that the conference is bringing together, from around the globe. This is the big show everyone!
Even though we wish we could all gather in person for this amazing event, this year gives us the opportunity to grow and expand to ALL those Arts & Crafts enthusiasts out there, no matter where you are. It also gives us the opportunity to expand the conference and offer so much interaction, education, and inspiration.
Vignette: Mountain Lake
The Brighter They Shine
Bookplates of the Arts & Crafts Movement
Interview with Applewood Art Festival
I had been wanting to create a painting featuring a dove for quite awhile. As tensions have been rising over the course of this year, it was on my heart more and more. Here's a bit of why I created the artwork I did, and the symbolism that it holds for me.
Peace - it's something that takes a great amount of effort, time, commitment, and redirection. It doesn't come naturally to most of us, it needs to be taught - to our children and to ourselves. The idea that peace isn't something that just lands upon us is important to remember. It's a beautiful idea that needs ACTION, not inaction.
"Teach Peace" is inscribed at the top of my Art Nouveau dove as a reminder to find and seek out peace in our own hearts. Others may see our searching and be inspired. The actionable quest to attain peace is also hinted at in my painting. My deconstructed peace sign is in two parts: the circle held within the dove's wings, and the vertical "fork" is being grasped in the dove's hold as a sprig of lavender. Lavender is believed to bring peace and harmony and is regarded as a symbol of love, happiness, devotion and protection by many cultures.
Peace takes work. Breath... stepping back and letting cooler heads prevail. It's never fully constructed, it's always a work in progress. "An eye for an eye makes the world blind." These words are inspired by Gandhi, but not directly attributed to him. All forms of spirituality and religion hold peace on high as a refinement of what we can strive to attain as humans with enlightened spirits and hearts. My art nouveau take on this concept had a perfect home within the theme and feeling of stained glass.
Below is a picture of an Art Nouveau stained glass window from the early 1900s. I stumbled upon in on Pintrest, but sadly there were no identifying marks or information for me to learn more about the artist or the artwork. I loved the light and flow of this design, and you can see my inspiration starting point from this piece.
My Daughter, The Author
My 11-year-old daughter, Abby Leidel, is quite the little author.
She's been penning stories since she was 6, and she has a clear genre - Thriller and Horror. She has read almost every book R.L. Stein has written in his Goosebumps series, and she just loves the idea of frightening her audience. She's a natural writer, and I'm so proud of the fact that she can scare the crap out of me with such vivid details.
I wanted to share her latest story with you.
The Candle with a White Flame
by Abby Leidel - May 2020
Stacy Kramer was driving home from work when she saw a shop that caught her eye. She parked her car and walked up to the door. On the door there was a sign that said: NO RETURNS. Buy At Your Own Risk. As she stepped into the shop, she saw a woman talking to the man at the counter.
“Please! Take it back!” she cried holding out a golden music box.
“No!” said the man, “Did you see the sign? No returns. Now, take it out of here. I don't want to see it ever again!”
The woman sobbed into her hands and ran out of the store.
Stacy walked through the shop looking in every aisle until she came to one full of candles. Stacy picked up a red candle and smelled it. It smelled of rotting flesh. She quickly set it down. Then, she smelled a clear one. It had the most amazing smell but when she looked up everything was moving around. Things were flying at her and the colors were crazy. She closed her eyes and when she opened them, everything looked normal again. She smelled a white candle which smelled of lavender but when she set it down, she could hear a flute of some sort playing. She looked around to see where it was coming from but nothing was there. She shook her head and the music got quieter but then it got loud again. She shook her head harder, then it got so faint that she could barely hear it. But then, it got louder. She shook her head as hard as she could, then it went away. She pushed the candle far from her then she smelled a light pink one. It smelled like dirt. But when she went to set it down her hand had claws sprouting out of her nails. She shook her hand and it was normal again. She smelled a dark purple candle and it didn’t smell like anything. But when she put it down, a large white worm was crawling on her hand. She slammed her hand on the candle stand and it fell off. Then, she saw a black candle. She picked up the candle and smelled it. It had a good scent but then she found herself in a forest with a sudden urge to run. When she found herself back in the store, she felt very calm. She went up to the counter and set it down. The man stared hotly at her and ripped off the price tag.
“I’ll sell it to you for fifty cents, just don’t burn the candle." he said, "Bad things will happen.”
Stacy decided not to argue with the man and so she nodded and drove home. When she got home, she put the candle on the counter, grabbed some matches and lit the candle. It had a long, white flame. Then she sat down on the couch and turned on the T.V.
Within moments she was asleep. She had a dream where she was running through the forest and something was chasing her. She didn’t know what she was running from, but she knew that she had to run. Then, a branch snagged her shirt. She felt the warm blood trickle down her arm. But she didn’t stop. She knew she had to keep running for her life.
Then she tripped. Her knee was throbbing, and she woke up. She felt very calm. But her arm hurt and her knee throbbed. She felt her arm. Her sleeve was ripped and there was something warm on her shoulder. Blood. She looked at her knee. Her pants were ripped and her knee was scraped. She looked at the kitchen counter and saw that the candle had burned out. Then she saw the time. She had been asleep for 30 minutes. She picked up the candle and put it on a shelf. Then she went to her room and fell asleep.
In the morning, she went into the kitchen and pulled the candle down from the shelf. She grabbed some matches and lit it. The ghostly flame seemed to burn into her soul. She was suddenly very tired but she shook it off. Then, she was running through the forest again. She kept running and running and her legs ached. Branches hit her face and thorns pierced her feet. She had sores all over her body now and she felt as if she had been running for hours. Then she tripped over a stone and it sent her tumbling over the ground as she woke up. She was standing over the counter with her hands above her face as if she was shielding herself. She was covered in scratches. She looked at the clock. She had been asleep for an hour. The candle had burned out. Then she realized that she was calmer than ever. She thought for a while. She didn’t know what was going on. All she knew was she felt at peace when she lit it.
She lit the candle and sat down on the couch. Within a moment she was asleep again. She was running through the forest getting caught in branches once more. Over time she found herself looking over a very large cliff. She couldn’t see anything else for miles then she heard a crunching sound. She turned around to see what she was running from.
It was a giant scaly creature as large as a tree, and as wide as a bear with a spine that looked like it was about to pop out of its skin. It had a long tail with hair sprouting from the end of it. Its claws were at least a foot long with jagged ends that looked like they were clipped with scissors. Where the nails grew hair did as well. Its face was the worst part. It had small, inky, black eyes and a large, circle-shaped red mouth full of teeth. The teeth lined the whole circle inside its mouth and in the center sat a thick, purple tongue. It came toward her with quick, steady steps. She turned to run but saw the cliff. The creature was inches away from her now and it stretched out a hand and grabbed her around the waist. The claws dug into her skin then the creature opened its mouth, ready to eat. She awoke on the couch, she was calm but her back had been severely wounded by the creature's claws. She decided to put the candle away for a while. Just so she could get all that crazy stuff out of her mind.
That day the hours dragged along. At 5:30 p. m. she heard something strange coming from her closet. She walked over and opened it. All she saw was the candle. She looked around trying to find where the noise was coming from. Yet, all she saw was the candle.
Then, she felt a strange pull…
a sweep of grief…
like she was at war with herself. The candle seemed to call to her, as if it was begging her to light it. She couldn’t help it. She grabbed the candle and some matches. As she went to light it, she stopped to think. She had put the candle away so she wouldn’t light it and have that terrible dream. And yet, she was lighting it, knowing she would have that dream. She decided not to... But somehow, she lit it. She couldn’t help herself.
She was in the forest again. Running and running. For miles all she saw was old, dead trees full of claw marks and... was that blood? Then, she came to the cliff. She looked both ways and saw that in the distance the cliff curved around. Then to her horror she realized, the place where she was standing was surrounded by cliffs. There was no escape. No safety. Then, she heard a loud crunch of trees as the beast approached. Its long, purple tongue reached out and pulled her toward it. She struggled and pulled but it didn’t do anything. Then she was in the creature's mouth. It bit down and a tooth got stuck in her side. She screamed in pain. Then she woke up.
She was lying on the floor in her room, a tooth in her side. She pulled out the tooth and grabbed the candle. She was going to talk to the man who sold it to her. She ran all the way there and pushed open the door. She walked up to the counter and set the candle down. The man's fear shot through his expression then he looked normal again.
“What is wrong with this candle!” She demanded.
“Nothing is wrong with it,” He said, “it is meant to be that way.”
“What? Why would anyone want a candle like that?” she replied coldly.
“Nobody wants a candle like that.” He said, folding his hands on the counter.
“Can you just tell me why it is like this?” Stacey growled.
The man looked at her sharply and narrowed his eyes. “Our ancestors lived in a forest where they learned magic. They had everything planned and everything in order. But, they also shared their land with a beast they called The Coorse-demzon. It was term in their language that meant “The Scaly Devil.” Every day the Coorse-demzon attacked, killing people and ruining houses. Until, the leader had a magic candle made and he trapped the beast inside. He surrounded cliff walls around the Coorse-demzons home. Now, whoever burns the candle gets sucked into the beast's home and once they are scratched by anything in the candle, even a tree branch, they are marked to be eaten by the beast.”
“Is there any way to stop that from happening?” asked Stacey worriedly.
“No,” said the man.
“Can you take it back?” she pleaded.
“No,” said the man standing up, “Can’t you read the sign? I sell these terrible things so I don’t have to die. Don’t you understand?”
“Please-” she started.
“NO!” shouted the man, “Get out of my store!”
Stacey ran home with the candle in hand. When she got home she was trying to figure out what to do when she heard the noise again. She tried to restrain herself but, the pull was too strong. Grief rushed over her like a river. Within moments she found herself desperately grabbing at the matches. It was like she no longer had control. She struck a match and lit the candle. The white flame shot up high into the air. Then she felt tired. Fighting her sudden urge to sleep, she ran to her room and locked the door trying to figure out what to do. But soon she had to sleep.
She closed her eyes and found herself in the dark wood full of dead trees. She ran and ran, tree branches hitting her and twigs lunging at her ankles. Thinking back to what the man said she remembered that if she was scratched by anything in the candle, she was marked to be eaten by the beast. She kept running until she finally got to the cliff.
She decided to run right to give herself more time. As she did, the crunches and cracks of trees sounded behind her. She looked back to see if she could see the monster. She saw it faintly in the distance running after her. Then she tripped over a rock. Her knees and hands bled. By the time she got up and dusted herself off the Coorse-demzon was only two feet away.
She started to run, but she felt the purple tongue of the beast wrap around her waist. It pulled her back into its mouth full of teeth. She didn’t have time to think.
Then, everything went black with the sickening crunch of bones.
High-Gloss Metal Prints
Oh Happy Day! Metal Prints are HERE for 165 different paintings on my website!
My artwork is printed on premium, high-gloss metal that offers stunning vibrancy, stark contrast (and won’t easily scuff or scrape.) Artwork comes with .25" rounded corners. The colors brightly pop in a way that canvas can't. You will not see the metal through this artwork.
Each high-gloss metal print has an ultra-hard protective, weatherproof, and waterproof coating that’s easy to clean with a dry micro fiber cloth. Each comes ready to hang with a pre-installed float mount frame on the back making your artwork appear to float .5" off of the wall. These look great framed or unframed.
The following sizes are available:
8x10, 11x14, 16x20
"See Me" 16x20 Acrylic on panel.
My art has always been about showing the light, the love, the connection to nature, and the reflection of positive inspiration, and good in the world, and in ourselves. In a way, this painting is no different. But, this time the message is a personal one about me. I wanted to dig deeper, be vulnerable in my artwork, stretch my artistic style and voice, and use art as my form of a time capsule and journal to record this moment in my life. I welcome you, as the viewer, in.
I am not the voices in my head, I am the observer of those voices. I am strong and weak, I am hopeful and fearful. I am positive and negative. I am peace and rage. I have light and dark thoughts, and it is up to me as the observer to choose which voice is louder, the voice I listen to.
These past 5 weeks have taught me. If I just keep quieting the undercurrent pulling me down, shutting out the sadness, uncertainty, the anger, she doesn't go away. She gets persistent. She is me. Two sides fighting to be louder, when really each just wants to be heard.... and is desperate to be seen. "See me!" they both cry. Look, really stop and search, and see and feel, and BE me. Be strong enough to hold the weakest part. Be hopeful that listening to the fear won't derail you. Be positive that the negative just needs to vent. Be at peace that the rage isn't all of who you are. There is no light without the dark after all. Keep the faith that you are vastly and fully surrounded by the love of your God and your Universe. In the mirror, I see both the light and the dark, but only the light can be reflected onto that chair or wall, or other human being -- the inner shadows are absorbed by me, and by others. Visit and love those shadows Julie, they get lonely too. See all of me
I will be selling prints of this painting soon.
The original is not for sale.
Outdoor Lab Foundation
Julie Leidel shares news and musings on inspiration for her artwork.