ORNITHOLOGICAL ILLUSTRATION: CASE STUDY: TAWNY OWL PAINTING
Of all the work I do, I enjoy painting birds the most. The challenge with any natural history illustration is always to understand your subject, so having a passion for bird watching and nature helps. It is equally important to consider the setting of your subject and therefore studying the habitat or the environment in which your subject lives needs just as much attention as the subject itself.  This level of work is normally taken under commission. The lead time is normally 3 months depending on subject and the size of the painting.
Contact me for more details.

I hope you enjoy looking at my work!

CASE STUDY: TWO EXHIBITION PAINTINGS (PART 1)

TAWNY OWL PAINTING

I am currently working on two owl paintings, which I will be entering for an annual artists exhibition, which normally runs from late May to the end of June. All artwork is submitted via application and submitted around a month prior to the exhibition date. All the work entered is judged by a panel of artists and the gallery's curator. The maximum submission each artist can enter is only two paintings, and each year the standards get higher and the competition between the artists who enter more intense, but so far I have been successful.

Having said that I never rest on my laurells!

WORK-IN-PROGRESS PROJECT

This is the first of the two paintings, which I have just finished. I have called it 'The Winter Tawny.' To complete a painting such as this required a lot of research. I started by creating a digital sketchbook of natural textures —tree trunks, tree branches, lichens, mosses, leaves, etc. I also did numerous drawings of the Tawny owl from different perspectives, looking closely at the feather details and patterns.  It was also important to consider winter light and how it falls onto the trees branches and how winter weather creates a sense of atmosphere.  I wanted the surroundings in the painting to be almost monochromatic so the eye is drawn just to the Tawny.

FINAL PAINTING 40x30" unframed

I work mostly in using mixed media a combination of gouache, arcylics, coloured pencils, watercolour or found materials. But for this painting I decided just to use designers gouache, which is an opaque waterbased paint. Before I started I did a series of thumbnail sketches to plan my compostion, light direction and tone quality I wanted in the final painting. Sometimes, if I am using other materials I don't always stretch my paper, but when working just in guoache I will.  I always prepare the paper at least 24 hours before I start drawing out my composition. Then it is a question of building up the background. I generally work from light to dark, often leaving the main subject to last.