Here’s owl number three – a barn owl.  The color’s actually a little brighter than it appears in this photo.  As I continue working on this series, I get more used to the colored pencil/solvent combination.  But it continues to be a learning process, mostly about the different pigments, as some brighten and smooth out with the solvent much more than others.

A few years ago I went to the winter CHA show in Anaheim and was introduced to Faber Castell’s Polychromos water color pencils.  When I got home I bought a full set as well as the matching full set of regular colored pencils.  I’ve use the colored pencils and really like them, but the watercolor pencils remain untouched.  I was a bit intimidated at how bright the colors got when I dampened them.  Now I’m thinking that working with them and a damp brush may be very similar to this process with the solvent, and I far prefer Polychromos to Prismacolor pencils.  I remember also that the Polychromos watercolor pencils have a wonderful quality – once you moisten the pigment laid down on the paper, the color becomes fixed when it dries.  So layering should be a snap.  I’m eager to give them a try but am somewhat reluctant to change pencils in the middle of my series of nine owl drawings.  So, for now at least, I’ll continue in the same manner.

As far as this drawing goes, I’m quite happy with the plumage but wasn’t able to achieve what I was trying for in the background.  He’s perched on an opening in the side of a wooden building, but since I didn’t get enough texture on the brown wood I’m not sure that it’s clear what it is.

I remember all the barn owls who would roost in the old well house where we used to live.  Pretty much any day, you could see one sleeping in the rafters waiting for nightfall.  And seeing the fledglings in the spring was a special treat.  I think barn owls with their heart-shaped faces are among the most beautiful of owls.

All of these owl paintings pose the same problem.  On the one hand, the moon says that it’s nighttime, or at least twilight.  So there is too much light coming from the front illuminating the owl.  I have very liberally utilized my artistic license!


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