Awesome Possum

Painting by Niya Christine

#52/365 Paintings

So shy, so shy. And polite too.

As a baby he was the last to eat—allowing his brothers and sisters full cuisine before taking his share. His mother protected his share with a wry smile. So much like herself she had to protect his bashfulness. Now as a big guy he has a problem. Possums will eat just about anything on the ground. They are not picky. Grass, insects, fruit, worms, slugs, mice, snakes, even sticks and a fish here or there. But our guy he will only eat vegetables, dog food and cat food. Why? Because he ends up in long deep conversations with mice and insects. They help him contemplate his internal world and compare it to what he’s experiencing in life. He is in fact a bit of a philosopher/po-tosopher/possumosopher — that is, a mixture of possum and philosopher. He asks questions like, “Mz. Fly if you have so many eyes, how is it that your friends and family don’t see the swatter coming?” Or to the mouse, “Since you eat everything in sight all day long, why are you so small? And with so much access to nibbles, why don’t you make delicacies for your friends? You really need to open up more—share the love.” Sometimes it takes days of hanging out with the ground bearing creatures before the possum says such things. But they always stir up massive conversations that roll through the nights and keep everyone warm and laughing. So you see why, our shy, introverted possum, is so super awesome?

The last I heard he was nearly a family pet on a farm. He wore everyone out with laughter as he scrapped up the excess dog food on the porch while give them that sweet, precious look you see here. I’d adopt him is a second!

Owl in Love with Sparrow

Mixed Media by Niya Christine. Copyright

#47/365 Paintings

The owl let out it’s large talons, skidded on the dirt for a split second before scooping up the sparrow for dinner. The sparrow in his panic rolled several times before the snap of a wing and then dent of a pupil. He was done for. There was nothing uncertain about that. He dazed off as the great owl flew him to her nest. The sparrow had grown very weak. She pushed him aside as she prepared a small pocket of twigs around his body like a placemat on the dinner table. With her huge beak she pulled him from his non-broken wing. It confused her why she took care like this—not to hurt him, since she had just pummeled him and was about to eat him. He looked at her then from his torn up eye as if to say, “please… this hurts, go ahead.” It happened then. And she couldn’t tell you why this sparrow in particular. But she suddenly wanted nothing more than his wholeness. She pulled up the softest twigs she could find to support his wing. She fussed over him all night long. A red tail hawk tried to swoop in to eat him and she obfuscated him with one swift kick. What was she to do? She only destroyed tiny birds. She had no idea how to fix him. She put her body over him with special care that he breathed and kept him warm all night, hoping by dawn he would be whole again. She imagined the great adventures they would have together. He had a hold of her heart good!

In the morning she woke with a start. A shimmer of hope and happiness. She lifted her large wing and gently moved the twigs aside. She wriggled him. But it was no use. He was gone.

So this is how the great owl fell in love with the sparrow and kept him in her heart to this day.


Project notes: This piece is the result of the multimedia class that concluded today (mentioned in previous posts). I’m thrilled to have learned how to do this. My technique is the opposite. Simply draw and paint, I’d forgotten about so many fun things like charcoal, gesso, pastel and more. I love how the images emerge and layers and layers later they introduce themselves as the characters they are. There will be more of this style in the future, I’m sure.