I’ve begun a new series of oil paintings of local birds, and they have become very popular! I have several commissions for more and some great ideas for paintings beyond that.
It’s really delightful to paint the bird form: forming feathers in oil paint just feels so natural!
The first one, at right, is Barred Owl on Noname Road, a Christmas gift for my dear friend C.B. who lives on said road. You can see a step-by step tutorial showing how I made this painting, below.
Our most common owl here in the Moyaone is the barred owl. They have a classic call, in the evening, sometimes in the dead of night. “Woooohoohoo, HOOOO!” They will call to one another across the forest. They are a large bird, with eyes deep and dark. Some think that they can carry away adult cats.
I discovered studying my reference photos that each barred owl has distinct facial markings, giving them unique expressions. One photo of a Florida owl had a rather sweet face. The best local photo I had showed an owl with markings that made it look fierce, even a bit hostile.
The next piece I attempted is a gift for my housemate L, who is moving out after 7 years, and back to a more urbanized area. I asked her what bird she’d miss most when she leaves, and she responded without hesitation: “The Carolina Wren, of course!”
From here, tighten up details and sharpening the shadows lead to the finished piece at the top of this post.
I’s been a pleasure to make these pictures, and their new owners seem pleased as well. I am looking forward to starting on two bluebird commissions. Who wouldn’t enjoy spending time with the Bluebird of Happiness?
Please let me know if it’s helpful or interesting to see the step-by-step process. Please feel free to leave a comment, ask a question or just say “Hi!”