Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Snowy Owl

I don't really know what kind of owl this is but I dubbed him a snowy owl because I put him into a blustery winter scene. This was an experiment done on Fabriano 90# w/c paper. Do you sometimes wonder "what would happen if I did this?" while working on a piece? With watercolor that can be an especially fatal endeavor, fatal at least to your painting. A few months ago I purchased a tablet of 90# paper just so I could play 'what if ' and not feel I had wasted my more pricey paper if things failed.

I don't normally finish a painting in one sitting but as I was planning to try something untried I didn't spend much time with detail. The majority of the owl is watercolor, the highlights on the feathers and the gathering snow on the branch, etc. added with white Liquitex heavy body acrylic. After everything was dry I swept a large brush across the scene with white gouache and splattered on some white acrylic snow using an old toothbrush. I had the fore thought to snap a photo before adding my 'snow' so I could show the before and after. Also I cropped the second image differently to alter the format. I think the final needs more snow splatter, IMO. Or... OMG, you ruined a perfectly nice painting of an owl. Thoughts anyone?

Note: Reference photo for the owl courtesy of Steve Haas
Note 2: Steve has informed me that this owl is also a screech owl in what is called the gray phase. Apparently some screech owls are red, some gray but all the same species.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Red Screech Owl ~ complete

I just completed the finishing touches on my owl painting. I didn't do much more with the owl but did tweak the birch trunk a bit. I added another knot and some white gouache to simulate the look of birch bark. Also I was able to get a more accurate photo. My thanks to Steve Haas for the wonderful reference photo as well.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Red Screech Owl ~ WIP 2

Please disregard the odd shadow in the upper righthand corner of the image. I just noticed it. It won't be there when I post the final.

I think this is close to complete. There is still work to be done on the birch trunk but overall I'm fairly satisfied with my first attempt at an owl. I did run into a problem with the background. In a spot near the owl's head my w/c paper grabbed the paint and created a dark 'blob' that I could not blend nor remove so I decided to go much darker in that area to cover it. I feel I was able to balance this by adding an equally dark area to the birch trunk in the opposite corner of the comp.

My palette consists of Quin. gold deep and light red for the bulk of the feathers, burnt umber mixed with indigo for the other markings on the bird. My background is straight DaVinci Payne's grey and the birch bark is made of up of various mixtures of all this palette's colors.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Red Screech Owl ~ WIP 1

I don't normally paint wildlife but a few months ago I saw some amazing photos of various owls taken by photographer Steve Haas of Michigan and obtained his permission to use some of these same photos as references. This is the beginning of my first attempt at a red screech owl and I hope I can do this bird justice in watercolor.

I've chosen to keep the owl fairly realistic, at least for this version. I want the colors to be as close to accurate as I can make them. I may get more creative with the background, though.