This cold late autumn evening, patience and punctiliousness will pay off for the city’s silent sentinel. Waiting and watching with a raptor-like gaze is routine for this unsociable animal. Territorial and versatile in its habitat, the sentinel’s mantle of fine plumage allows it to swoop undetected to harvest unsuspecting prey. However, while British Barn Owls are active mostly at night—especially at dusk and before dawn, the British Burghal Warden is fully operational during rush hour.
Ordained with absolute authority he can be respected, feared and merciless. A pedantic praetorian of the streets, he is often armed with an unassuming black biro and small standard-issue notepad. Usually found near double yellows or reds, the warden has excellent vision and an uncanny sense of precise meter expiration. Assertive and often ruthless, the warden is frequently part of a large moneymaking machine surreptitiously called something like the Glasgow City Council. Unlike the British Barn Owl, the traffic warden is not endangered.
The Warden, 2016, oil on canvas rendering depicts a parking enforcement officer on location in the vehicular epicenter of Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow’s George Square. Resplendent in his distinguishing regalia, he contemplates his next move in front of the magnificent, imposing city chambers.