The Barred Owl
This is a challenging bird, but one well worth the effort.
Although the markings on this beautiful owl may seem daunting, once you see each feather as the individual it is, the task doesn’t seem like an impossible one. It becomes more of an interesting challenge. I have found that even with the most intricately patterned bird, if you break down each feather and really look at it, you’ll see that the painting ahead of you is really not that difficult. Reference material is the key to success here. Gather as much as you can. Also, vary each pattern so the end result will not appear too repetitious. Nature does not always stay the same.
For this demonstration I will be using oil paints thinned with Schultz’s painting medium. This medium cuts down the paint’s drying time but will not compromise its integrity. You can obtain the colors I use here from any of the popular companies that sell oil paints, so feel free to purchase your preferred brand.
Please note that I use thinned washes in each of the steps to obtain the desired hue and effect. The final wash is where you blend the colors.
Before you start any painting I suggest marking the pattern on each feather with a light pencil line. This helps you vary the patterns and gives you a better visual reference on the feathers.
Read the rest of this article in Wildfowl Carving Magazine's Spring 2013 issue.