Barred Owl: #1-4

My friends Tyler and Shanti asked me to paint some pictures of birds for them. I agreed to do so, as long as they agreed to just tell me that the final paintings were good, regardless of their true quality. (Kidding, I didn’t make them agree to anything.)

The first (largest) painting they wanted was a painting of a barred owl. On second thought, I probably should have started with the smallest painting, and progressed to the largest, so I could have that much more practice before getting to the big one, oh well.

First, I sketched the image to see what they thought of the general composition.

I felt like I went too strong on the shadows around the wings (they look like crab claws) and I didn’t do enough to define the satellite-like depth of the Owl’s face.

Tyler and Shanti were ok with the general composition, so I made my first painting.

In this painting, I felt like the feathers were neither specific enough, nor abstract enough. They seemed to land somewhere in-between, and felt unsure as a result. I did a better job with the depth of the face, but exaggerated the shadows on the feathers beneath the wings. In general, I just felt like this didn’t feel three-dimensional enough to me. It felt like the dimenstionality was exaggerated and wrong.

I felt like I did a better job with the feathers and dimensionally in the second one. Unfortunately, I hate hate hate hate what I did in the background. I also don’t like the posture of the bird – it looks like the branch is cutting off his feet or something – not like he’s sitting on a branch.

Not happy with the painting, I decided to have a little fun, and gave him a mustache.

Then I started on the next version. Shanti said that she liked the second one, and when I pressed her for any changes, she suggested making the eyes larger.

Well… I certainly made the eyes larger. All in all, I’m pretty happy with how this one came out. I got a little too intense on the rings in the face (it looks a little bit like Emporer Palpatine), but in general I guess I am ok with it. The eyes feel like they got too large, but ah hell… who knows.

Anyway… that’s the barred owl. Next up: Red Bellied Woodpecker.

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