In the 1960’s and 70’s when string paintings were at the peak of their popularity more string owls lived on wallpapered and wood paneled walls inside houses than real ones lived outside. I never took the craft up. The strings  in the crowded areas reminded me of tiny spider legs. The nails were tiny and unless you hit them dead on the black velvet would twist around the shaft and pucker everywhere. Then the string, or in this case yarn, had to be pulled completely taunt or you’d have a sagging bird. All those crisscrossing strings gave me Vertigo, especially when it got to places like around the eyes where there were so many of them it was like a spider convention at The Sheraton. This was way too precise of a task for a free-form, spontaneous artist such as myself. I felt the same way about Spirographs.

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As ubiquitous as they were there were way too many little spider leg lines for me and you had to adhere too strictly to the rules.

Whether fashioned out of string, metal or ceramic the owl is one of the most iconic birds in art.  Although I collect string owl paintings I prefer my owls in more solid form. I have owl cups, …

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… an owl radio,…

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… an outdoor metal owl…


… and a zillion other forms of owls. I even have more owl string art.


I think my black velvet owl string painting is one of the best looking around, bare bones and to the point.


The disadvantage of owning a string art owl is that keeping him clean is nasty business. Black velvet  is hard enough to keep clean without 12,000 little worms stretched across it. The next time you see string art at someone’s house take a good look. The little nails are like barbecue pits around which families of dust balls gather. So, no barbecues at my place, no owls on the wall, just a nice string painting, wrapped back in plastic, going back to nest in a rack in my garage until the next time I need a good look at the First National Bird Of Kitsch.


5 Responses to “Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Owl String Painting”

  1. Tony Massey

    I played with Spirograph and made string boats when I was a kid. I haven’t thought about them in years. Thanks for another great trip back in time