The story of a painting....

The story of a painting....

I thought as today was a cold Saturday in February and I have spent all day painting I would show you the stages from beginning to end . I am no photographer but I have tried to show you the stages. Sometimes I get so engrossed that I forget to take pictures but I have tried my best.

Firstly I sketch out the out line. I need a guide to hang the colour on and I need the proportions of the owl to be right then I feel comfortable to start.

Next comes the eyes....always the eyes. I want the owl to be alive however mad the painting gets in the end. The eyes have to be real, therefore they need light and  texture.

I leave the white of the paper to be the highlights and mix cadmium orange in with the lemon yellow and yellow ochre. I also add some darker parts to the edges

The outside of the eyes first.I like to use a lot of water to get happy accidents happening even in small spaces

Then I move onto the beak while the eyes dry . This is cerelean blue and indigo leaving the white section to show the light and wetting the edges to it looks a bit like feathers.

Now I add more to the edges of the eyes so they sit in their sockets. I rarely use black this is cobalt blue mixed with burnt umber to give a very dark dark.



Now I add the the pupils and the owl comes to life.....The edges are my dark mixture and insides are different blues and water . Adding and taking away until it looks at me...magic!

Now the fun begins.....

I wet the whole page and add the background colour

and now I add lots of color, flicking it on, splashing it, just having fun really. Layers build up and I just have to be careful around the eyes. I don't always succeed!

Often my owls go under the tap, this one did and I have a new layer to work on ..

back to splashing and flicking, adding and taking away until it's where I want it to be. I think by this stage I had forgotten to take many pictures. I had Been flicking and throwing paint at the picture, Dropped brushes on the floor. Dipped paint in my tea and generally made a big mess in my studio but the suddenly at one point I think this is done...( or in some cases this has gone too far!) But here he is my newest owl from beginning to end....



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I love to see step by steps like this – you have such a variety of subjects I wonder where you get all your ideas and references from ?


What a wonderful share. It is fantastic to get an insight into how you produce theses wonderful paintings. Thank you so much!


A wonderful insight into your thought process, Rach. Would you mind if I shared this with children at school?

Andrea Morrisroe

Owltastic! Thank you for sharing!


What a handsome chap. Think I might just knock one of these out tomorrow while I cook Sunday lunch …. NOT! You make it look so simple Rachel. Thank you

SUe GIles

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