Barn owl with background ( learning to take the rough with the smooth)

Barn owl with background ( learning to take the rough with the smooth)

The nights are drawing in and the weather is getting much colder. I tend to paint along with the seasons and relish the changing colours and moods. We have had several days of bright autumn sunshine , and a trip to Norfolk at the weekend to catch up with family, was a real treat in the sunny weather.

Devon hasn't looked too shabby either.

Now some of you may remember I went through the process of entering competitions in a blog a few weeks ago. Today an email pinged into my in-box informing me the results were out.

Now for the disappointing part of entering competitions, I wasn't selected ! It does feel rubbish, but it has happened before and will no doubt happen again. I do feel a bit frustrated that although you pay a fee, send them off in good faith, there is no explanation of where you fell short of the criteria, which I think may help me in the future...but hey ho


My three pieces will stay here with me. Ready for sale, or cards or who knows ?

So I need to pick myself up, pick up my brush and carry on

So I have returned to an old favorite , an owl, with texture and background, something to take my mind off things today 


1. Draw a simple sketch of the owl, I think I used Pixabay as a reference here.



2. Now the eyes, I want there to be so much life in my owl's eyes. So there are many layers and colours in them. You need to leave some of the white paper showing through .



I like to fade the edges of the white with a tiny bit of water, and take out some colour under the pupil to show where the light hits the eye too. It takes a lot of practice and a steady hand and my advice is to try it and when it looks right stop.Many a painting has been messed up by over fiddling ( mine included).


3.I repeat and work on the other eye. Take your time and have a break if you start to loose concentration. A barn owl also has lovely colouring around the eyes and the beak, I want these to look realistic and for the painting to get looser the further out I go.



4. Now I want to add a dark, wintry night sky and I want to get looser as I go. Lots of water and lots of lovely indigo paint, I also want the owl to be a part of the night so I want lost edges and texture. I used some cling film around the owl , and then my advice is to walk away, let the paint and water and clingfilm do it's thing



5. Now as I am good at giving advice but maybe not taking it. I probably didn't leave the painting long enough , it is best to leave the clingfilm overnight but I fiddled, I wanted to get on with it so I added some white acrylic snow, I painted out a moon using clean water and then paper towel to blot it away, even some gold ink on the feathers. have fun but be warned I have ruined many a painting by going too far . Keep standing back and look at what your doing



I like to think of it as controlled mess, anyway have fun x



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I love your work, touch, craft! It’s beautiful & inspired me. I painted a bit myself, before children! Now in my 50’s I am picking up a brush again! So Thank You for all your shares❤️! Just Beautiful!

Sonya Thompson

Those judges were blind! Have been were you are re competitions. I do agree, it would be helpful for a brief commentary to be attached to return work.I’m not sure the “rejection” hurts as much as feeling so invisible. All that said, I adore your work and hope to one day buy more than a set of cards from you! Thanks for taking us through the owl process.

Cheryl Clougg

I absolutely love all that you do! I can tell your work comes from the heart through your hands, just wonderful and fresh!

Linda Mack

Brilliant as always 😊 and don’t be hard on yourself re the competition pieces, it just wasn’t what they were looking for on that day no reflection your work is not good enough. Always be proud of what you produce it’s stunning, the Mona Lisa isn’t the most attractive painting but made it, you xan to so never give up 😊

Diane Hayward

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