Barn Owl II


Oil on Birchwood Panel | 24″ x 16″


“I can never predict how an artwork is going to make me feel, but despite the ruthless nature of a bird of prey, there’s something calming and gentle about this one. From the first brushstroke it promised to be a beautiful composition. The creamy golden tones, delicately lit, and all the brighter against the dark black night. Eyes like marbles, glassy and dark, but full of expression. If you look closely, you can see a tree against the darkening skyline, reflected in the eye.


I painted the feathers in the same direction as they lay, starting with the lowest and largest wing feathers, sculptural and strong. Working my way up to the softer, downier feathers on the body and head. The complicated markings layering on top of each other. The heart-shaped face had to be painted with lots of layers, to create those minute, fluffy feathers without losing any of the depth. I set timers to make sure I don’t overwork such a delicate area, taking regular breaks and remaining mindful of when to stop.


Owls have always been one of my favourite subjects, but I believe it’s no exaggeration to name this piece my best painting to date.


Painted from reference taken by Simon Litten.


I paint using the “wet on wet” technique, which means I build up the layers of colour and texture in small sections at a time. Not waiting for the paint beneath to dry, but pulling my brush through the wet paint, creating clean and precise marks.”


Availability: 1 in stock

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