07 October 2011

Painting in Progress: Owl

I've been inspired to paint lately. I finished working through my first box of 20 canvases and am currently working on box number two. I have, let me count, 20 of my paintings currently hanging on my studio walls (it will be one less very soon, as I've sold one of them! Yay!). I also have several paintings in various stages and one finished piece that I haven't hung yet. Woo!

Today I've been working on an owl painting. Why an owl? Well, let me give you my very scientific reasoning: I googled "what should I paint on my canvas" and in the first result link that I clicked, the answer was, you guessed it, an owl. So there ya go. Google inspiration.

Since I have a massive supply of yellow ochre heavy body paint, I decided to use it for my background color. I started with a huge canvas that I trash picked last month. It had a half-finished pastel and graphite image of a long skinny guy walking under a moonlight sky. It was interesting and I should have taken a photograph, but, oh well. I just covered the whole thing with yellow ochre and let it dry.

Next, I sketched in the basic outline of what I thought an owl would look like and painted in the shape with titan buff soft-body paint. Now to work on the background.

In addition to a large quantity of yellow (baby poop) ochre, I have a bunch of ancient modeling paste. I figured I'd put it to good use by pulling out one of my trusty templates from The Crafter's Workshop and my palette knife. I added large circles with modeling paste, as seen here:

(Oh, and the red up in the corner was a test run of Quin. Red fluid acrylic that I just dripped onto the canvas, let it run a bit, then laid it flat to dry overnight.)

Next, I wanted smaller circles, which I forgot to photograph, so I altered my large stencil with painter's tape to make a smaller circle and added those with more modeling paste. Brilliant! I was thrilled with how well this worked!

Once the modeling paste was completely dry, I mixed up a blend of yellow ochre, iridescent medium, glazing medium, and water. I mixed this up in a used prescription pill bottle which worked amazing well! I just shook it up and get to work painting over the whole background. I love that the background now had this monochromatic awesome texture thing going on, but it was still a little too, well, yellow ochre for my taste.

To correct this, I used another pill bottle and shook up a watery gesso mixture, which I painted over the whole background, including the red drips as seen in the earlier picture. Much better!

Now it was time to start the owl, and I have to say, I'm happy with the way it's coming along. I used: white, burnt sienna, and quin. magenta paint for my color palette. I originally painted the eyes white, but decided a few minutes ago that quin. nickel yellow was the way to go. They are crazy bright, but I'll decide how I feel about them in the morning. I still have to add the black part anyway.

The next thing I'm going to do is use a darker brown, burnt umber mixed with burnt sienna, most likely, to add more definition, but my light is bad now, so I'm calling it quits for the evening.

Here's where he stands right now:


  1. you sold a painting!!! moira, i think it would be fun to see the other 20, or is it 19?, paintings you have on the walls. great beginning on your owl.

  2. Very cool owl painting...and process!


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