Painting The Owl: Who's Caught Who

 

The painting is prepared by painting gesso primer on the surface you use; I use 600g paper as I find it very good for detail. Next draw up the image and transfer it on the paper using a water colour pencil. TIP: By transferring the image you can place it any where on the surface, this way you get the image in the right position, if you are painting use a water colour pencil as it does not leave marks.

 

Start painting the background making sure that you paint up to the image with an even coverage. I normally put the darker shades down first as you can see, here I used raw umber with carbon black, don't use black only as it makes the painting flat.

 

Next add the background colour, you will notice the dark colour adsorbs the lighter colour this is the effect I want, as I require subdue light effect.

 

At this stage start adding light to the back wall and texture to the floor area. TIP: To create timber effect put down the darkest colour first, and as you are putting down the colour, use the brush to get a light/dark combination then use lighter tones as a wash over the top. To finish off, place shadows and light effect.

 

As you can see the background is coming together with shadow and light, very important. The light intense is governed by how many layers are applied and note the light is not all over the wall but blends into the shadow and dark tones.

 

Next stage, start on the subject, using the same technique as before, darker colour first. Make shore you cut in right to the images edge so you get a clean edge.

 

Start filling in the subject. To get texture on the bags, use different colours in a semi wash form over and over, building up the layers.

 

Add detail and shape using light and dark, notice the contours in the bag, this is done by blending dark to light, then applying a highlight.

 

Start painting the owl's eye first as it helps you get the correct size and you feel part of the painting when something is looking at you.

 

Here is a close up of the eye, notice the light effect in the eye.

 

Start feather effect using acrylics then gouache over the top for detail. TIP: Do not rush this stage, this is very important.

 

Finish off the detail on the owl and mouse, ready for the final highlights and shadows. This painting is about light coming through a window on a moon lit night, so being delicate is important, as you can see.

 

The finished painting "Who's caught who"

 

"WHO'S CAUGHT WHO" Barn Owl and Field Mouse
By Ross Franzi

LIGHT EFFECTS USING NATURAL LIGHT

I love painting wildlife, as I am very passionate about the environment and each piece has a different story not only about the wildlife but its habitat also. This piece is about my grandfather's shed and what is in it including great texture and incredible light. Every painting has four vital parts; (size and shape, light and dark, texture, and composition), here I am using soft light with very dark background and strong highlights. Note the time of the day or night is very important as it gives you not only the light intensity but also the correct colours to use, in this case I have used raw amber with carbon black, the reason I chose these colours rather than paynes grey was due to the light source, the colour of the wall and the browns in the floor. When you do highlights, don't just use white try others like unbleached white or naples yellow this makes it warm and soft not flat then add your white. For intensity and sharpness in detail use black versus white, the stronger the intensity, the sharper the detail I will give you an example (stronger the light coming from the sun darker the shadow of the object). As I tell my students it takes time and a lot of practice, so don't rush it and you will find it starts getting easier. This painting will be part of an exhibition going to the Agora Gallery in New York on the 07 May 2009.