An owl commission came in last week for a saw-whet owl. There’s always a bit of pressure with commissions as you never know whether the magic will appear at the right moment. After a little bit of a shaky start this little chap came together well. I wanted to keep the intensity of the eyes and everything else a little loose. Very pleased - let’s see if the customer likes it as much as I do.
Today was one of those days where I completely forgot how to paint. The rest of the bird was terrible but the head wasn’t too bad.
I’ve been working larger on the last couple of paintings. Having seen my sunflowers up on the wall at Post Road Art and visiting the North East Watercolor Exhibition I can certainly afford some more paper real estate.
Going large has it’s own problems. Getting too tight and detailed is one. Not using a big enough brush and ending up with lots of little dabby strokes is another. Also the larger space allows you to put in much stronger color. In fact it needs it otherwise things look very washed out.
So this eagle looks pretty good to me. I may revisit and soften up some edges but it’ll depend what it looks like in the morning.
Edit: Great news! This won the People’s Choice award at Marlborough’s Post Road Art Center Open Exhibit. A nice Christimas present for me and I’m sure I’ll be stocking up on supplies from them with the prize money. Many thanks to all who voted and Randi et al at the Center.
It’s been a while. Lots happening here at Cuff and Clamp towers and the paint brushes have been lying idle. I’ve made a resolution to be more attentive to my facebook ‘Paint Colorful Birds for Fun Page’. This is a very laid back and, yes, fun page and deserves a bit of love. This week - herons!
Thought I’d have another bash at storks as I didn’t get quite where I wanted to with the last try. Better but there is still something eluding me.
Edit: No. This chap is good. Took a couple of days to get under the skin.
Very happy to paint these little chaps. The contrast between the black and white and the sun on their feathers always cheers me up.
It was my birthday this week and I treated myself to a set of oil paints. I've been looking forward to this for a couple of months and after a trip to Post Road Art for some paints, medium and solvent it was off to the hardware store for cheaper things like gloves, oil soap and hand cleaner. In total I spent around $150 which is more than I planned but I couldn't really strip it back any more.
For my first time out I thought it best to stick with something I know so of course it was an owl! Very much a voyage into the unknown here and I just jumped straight in with a few bits of knowledge I've picked up from reading various blogs.
First a charcoal drawing and an underpainting in burnt sienna thinned with Gamsol solvent.
Looks ok so far. Now in with some paint.
This is mostly burnt sienna, ultramarine and yellow ochre with a quick try out of the background with prussian blue. Still fairly happy here. It's very strange not dealing with water and I keep smudging things as I'm not used to the paint drying so slowly. I do have to say it's nice to actually know what value you're putting down on the canvas rather some elaborate guesswork with watercolor.
Further on now - this was the second day. Things seem to be coming together. The dark feathers are going in well and the face is looking good.
Almost at the end now. The background has gone in simply - it's my first try so nothing fancy. The eyes and face have had some more work. I still need to soften up some edges here as he's a bit garish. The body feathers and wings are probably not going to see much more work - I don't want to mess things up, The rocks definitely need something doing to them but that can wait until tomorrow.
So all in all I'm pretty chuffed. I can't say I like oils better than watercolor. Watercolor does have a lot of charm that you just can't get with oil. But I think this has some potential. and it was a fun birthday present.
At least I think this is finished. As usual I'll keep him on the easel for a couple of days until I'm happy that no touchups are needed. Due to travelling and other happenings t's been a couple of weeks since I painted and it took me a little while to get back in the groove. I like the end result though - not too cute but with a certain perkiness. He's up for sale in the usual place.
A few intermediates. Unusually this one was done over two days. Not sure if that helps.
This was the status at the end of yesterday. I usually don't put in the eyes so early on birds but I was having a little trouble with values so put them in so I could judge the rest of the plumage. Happy so far.
Quite a bit further on here. The feet have gone in - always a bit tense here but they turned out fine. The branch is in and I tightened up the feathers around the face.
The final thing. I beefed up the wing feathers to give him a little more zing and added a little interest into the background. Job done.
Back from Vermont and I have a long list of barns to paint. But in the meantime I fancied an owl. He'll get finished off tomorrow.