For This Burrowing Owl, the Eyes Have it
The burrowing owl by Denise Santos is the newest addition to the exterior wall art collection at the Donna Fiala Wellness Center in East Naples. Photos by Denise Santos
The charismatic burrowing owl is the newest addition to artist Denise Santos’ celebration of “Larger than Life” Florida birds, gracing the exterior wall art collection at the Donna Fiala Wellness Center in East Naples. The impressive seven-foot tall roseate spoonbill was Denise’s first in a series at this location. Now a five-foot tall burrowing owl stands proudly greeting children and their parents as they make their way into the fitness center. Both birds are depicted in a large-scale artistic way that seem to fit naturally on the walls of the fitness center. It is the type of art that is best enjoyed outside rather than the inside of a gallery.
Standing five-feet tall, the owl seems to follow you around with his gaze.
Visitors have commented that the fivefoot tall burrowing owl seems to give you the uncanny feeling of looking at you as you pass by. In real life the eyes of burrowing owls are firmly set and can’t move, but they compensate by having very flexible necks. They are able to turn their heads almost all the way around – up to 270 degrees. In the case of paintings where the “eyes follow you,” it has something to do with the elements of shadow, light and perspective. The most famous painting where many have observed “her eyes follow you around the room” is the Mona Lisa, “as if by magic they follow you around the room.”
Denise is working on her third addition for the Donna Fiala Center, which is scheduled for a fall installation. Though not firm, she is thinking of the beautiful reddish egret.
Goodland artist Denise Santos is known throughout Marco Island as the “dolphin whisperer.” She has made it her art project to look for the “lost dolphins” of Marco Island and give them new homes and restore them to their former sparkling image. Those dolphins were her original “larger than life” collection.
For more information about Denise Santos’ artwork, visit: denisesantosdesigns.com. Cool Facts About Real Burrowing Owls:
9-inches tall, the size of a water bottle.
Native to Florida.
Mate for life.
Only owl species to nest underground.
On the Florida threatened species list.
Photo by Jean Hall