Owl eye (the devil is in the detail)

Owl eye (the devil is in the detail)

I am appreciating the little things , as the summer draws to a close and the lovely autumn colours are making an appearance. A walk last weekend with my husband, along an old railway line, was brimming with late summer colour.

As I gaze out of my studio now, I am loving the bright colours of the rudbekia , which have been flowering now for weeks.

Then to be able to watch the bees in all their busyness , gather from the nasturtiums , wow, how a bit of sun makes everything shine


And so detail is what this blog is all about, I like to paint some things in precise detail and people often comment on the eyes of the animals and birds I paint. Here is a detailed close up of an owl's eye...it might help to show you how I do it and you could maybe transfer those skills then to other animals ( altering the size a colours of course!)

So as always I sketch out the eye first.

And I look very carefully at an owl's eye so I understand what I am painting.



Here it is close up


First I add a pale wash of yellow ochre.

Then while it is still wet enough, I add a darker shade , cadmium orange.


I take out the area that you can see is lighter with a clean damp brush.


Then I get darker again, perhaps adding a bit of red brown to the orange.


Now I can start on the pupil with cerulean  blue.

You see I am hinting at the landscape reflected in the eye here.

Then I go over that with a mixture of sepia and indigo. I leave parts of the blue

showing through.

Then I go around the eye, and make sure it sits properly in it's socket .

I like to paint the rest of the owl loosely in paynes grey and lots of water. 

 Have fun, get out your smallest pointiest brushes....and see what happens x


Back to blog

1 comment

I have really enjoyed making the most of what the changing season has to offer how I love Autumn, the owls eye is full of the ever changing Autumn landscape vibrant colours make him so alert, you capture that so perfectly.
I am going to try and follow your tips to give my eyes the alert alive look, sometimes they just don’t pop!
Thank you another great blog tutorial, thank you for sharing

Diane Hayward

Leave a comment