Owl in watercolour

First of all if you like owls go to this blog: http://owladay.wordpress.com/ Wow!

My owls is a bit different, but I had such fun painting it that I wanted to share. I must thank Debra from Http://paintmyphoto.ning.com for a wonderful source photo. If you haven’t found Paint my Photo, it is really useful for images from people who actually want you to use their photos. Obvioulsy not only photographers are happy about it (that’s not a criticism, just a fact).

So, I wanted a barn owl in profile. I really liked the bird in profile, as part of a pair I had painted recently, and thought it would work on its own. I also had a palette full of pretty colours from painting my friend’s dog – a sign of a good session is when my palette is still clean and fresh. When it is muddy, it reflects my muddled thinking. Note Christmas table cloth for a festive touch!!owlblog2

I used quin gold, quin sienna, purple lake, purple diazopan (whatever), sepia, maroon and a bit of yellow ochre. I was painting in the evening, so really tired. I needed a guiding sketch to get me going. If I had a bit more energy, I would paint without a drawing. I felt a few white spots on the background would give the owl something to look at, so I sploshed some masking fluid on. I was patient to let it dry – really annoying when you put your best brush in it!! At this point I had a cry, as my gum arabic had spilt in the bottom of my painting bag – that stuff sure is sticky and it is still there now. I think I might just throw the bag away.


So here I started on the owl’s eye and moved to other bits, keeping it loose and runny. I thought I would try to be quite pale and soft, but the colours had other ideas.


Then had fun with the background – very washy and tipping the board to blend everything, then a little salt for texture and to give the owl something more to look at.

After more work on the owl, I covered the poor chap with kitchen towel while I splashed lots of colour on his head and wing. I had lost his beak a bit, so I am afraid I cheated and used a little white gouache to get it back and then I thought, let’s make it look intentional and used a little on a few feathers around the place.

I let it dry (okay, blasted it with a haridryer, as patience is not my thing), rubbed out the pencil, removed the masking (lovely, just like peeling off PVA glue from your fingers at school) and then stopped and went to bed.

owl3webWhen I woke up this morning, I was still happy with it – not always the case. So, I have taken a pic and sent it to my friend B – her husband had a barn owl as a child, so I think this one may be destined as his Chrimbo present. Actually, I want to keep it for a while for us, so I may have to paint another. I want to try painting watercolour on canvas, so I think this may be the project for it. AND my palette is still clear – so no mud in my brain.

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