This week before Halloween seems a good a time as any to begin work on my barn owl. This bird, who goes by the name of Owlivia at the local Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center, is paired with an Aynsley teacup (circa 1939) filled with trumpet mushrooms. I love the woodland magic of this combination – now to try and do it some justice with paint!
Loose sketch in oil.
Loose dark background.
Blocking in the owl.
Blocking in the table, feet and mushroom perch.
more tomorrow ( I hope) … the chainsaws are coming….
The chainsaws were only intermittent today and I was able to really start laying in some details in my owl and work on the appropriate background contrast to really make her glow. In the white of her face there are lots of other hues – lavenders, blues, greens, ochers and rusts. It’s these subtle variations on white that create depth and volume and vitality.
Chainsaws came back for a few days to finish off the oak so I wasn’t able to complete the painting but at least I have the owl standing on a mushroom now instead of a pair of oversized gulab jamuns!
It started with that gorgeous barn owl, “Owlivia” from the Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center. I knew I wanted to include her in my birds & teacups series so I took lots of pictures when I had the chance. Then I had to scout out a perfect teacup. I thought should be a in a woodland theme, maybe ferns or branches but when I saw the mushroom teacup by Aynsley of England (circa 1939 -) I knew I had found the perfect whimsical compliment to the owl. At first I arranged pink oyster mushrooms in the cup and while I love the color, I wanted to see what a stronger form would look like. In the end, I prefer the king oyster mushrooms which will help to make a more interesting composition.
Mushrooms turn out to be pretty fragile to work with ….I ‘d better eat them up quickly!
How exciting to run into the great volunteers from WERC – Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center and their amazing birds at Los Gatos Birdwatcher!
These birds either had an injury that meant they could not be released back into the wild or they had been imprinted by humans (as was the case with the acorn woodpecker who would be attacked by her own kind). These birds now serve as educational ambassadors in the community at schools and the like.
What a privilege to see these fascinating birds up so close and so glad I could take lots of photos for future reference. I’ve already picked up a mushroom teacup for the barn owl.
WERC’s friendly volunteers. Did you know that owls can’t move their eyes?
Great Horned Owl