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17 AM 16428/19
Reuben Oates My Boobook 2019
Acrylic on Belgian linen
1220 x 610mm

Living on acreage in Mountain River my whole life and being surround by nature and the wildlife within it, has shaped my love and passion for Tasmanian Native animals. From the time I started painting at the age of 9 through to now, I have fallen in love with elusive and mysterious nature of the wise Boo Book owl. From my experience it is a rare and beautiful sight witnessing the intense yet stomach warming gaze of a Boo Book owl. Although they grow to no more than 36cm long, they still manage to carry the stern, mature and powerful nature that every owl possesses.

'My Boo Book' follows a series based around an unforgettable encounter I had in August 2016. Whilst driving home one night, only a few hundred meters from my driveway, I struck and grounded a Southern Boo Book with the left side bumper of my car. I was instantly heart broken, to think that me of all people, would injure a animal that I have loved and respected for so long. I stopped my car instantaneously. With my fiancé in the passengers seat of the car, I've shrieked, "I just hit a Boo Book!". I grabbed what ever I could find in the car to wrap the owl in. I sat cradling the owl in my lap as Sheridon drove us home. I contacted wildlife rescue immediately. After securing the injured bird in a comfortable dark place over night I took him to the vet the following morning. The bird had a suspected broken right wing, this meaning the bird would most likely not survive. After not hearing from anyone regarding the owl for a few weeks, I received a phone call from wild life recuse. My Boo Book was alive and well and had fully recovered from his bruised wing. Absolutely electrified, I arranged to collect and release him where I had injured him weeks earlier.

I think back to that unfortunate and unforgettable night and wish I could have avoided hitting the owl in the first place. This particular event has inspired my art as a whole immensely and has made me more in touch with nature and myself.

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