It's been an interesting piece and I've learned some new techniques and experimented with different media. In the main it was painted onto a prepared box canvas using a mix of acrylics by Boldmere, Crawford and Black, and Daler Rowney. Some of the finer detail was then picked out using Winsor and Newton inks and Posca pens.
The poem is three verses long and I chose to illustrate the first:
The Owl and the Pussy-Cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat:
They took some honey,
and plenty of money
Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
"O lovely Pussy, O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
What a beautiful Pussy you are
I decided, for originality's sake, to have the pussycat feel seasick. After all, cats and water rarely mix well. And then I wondered what to do in terms of sex ...
The poem never uses he or she, his or her. The only evidence seems to be the use of the words 'beautiful' and 'elegant', both of which could be applied equally to male or female owls or cats if they have splendid coats or wonderful plumage. I also can't help but note that 'How charmingly sweet you sing' doesn't sound like a lady talking to a bloke does it?
Then there's the fact they get married - so the assumption is that they're one of each sex (this was the late 1800s after all). However, you'll note that it's the cat who proposes to the owl and not the other, more traditional, way round. Perhaps it was February 29th? And it's not made clear who gets the ring from the piggy. In the end I plumped for 'sexually ambiguous'.