Saturday, February 16, 2013

owl obsession

I am over my short obsession with owls, although I may make a few more owl ornaments now and then. It was the combination of the ornament idea and the bad left wrist that got me started painting.  I came across a really impressive barn owl photograph while I was studying owls for the ornaments. Since I needed to rest my wrist for a while I thought I'd get out a canvas I had from a painting I started, but abandoned, many years ago. I had some acrylics on hand- around this time last year I bought a few paints thinking I might try painting again. Pottery, though, is pretty time consuming so it didn't happen.  I chose acrylics over oil so I wouldn't have to deal with paint thinner inside the house.
 Thing is, I never painted with acrylics before- paper mache stuff when I was a kid, school projects, or pottery signs, yes, but not an actual painting.  About half way in I thought an acrylic painting class might be a good idea.  I was having such a difficult time with blending because the paint dries so fast.  About three-quarters in I looked up "acrylic painting" online.  Right, you mix a medium in with your paint to extend the drying time.  I knew that 20 or 30 years ago.  I decided to go on as I was, without the medium.  Figured it was a little late to change things up.  This thing took a lot longer than I thought it would but I don't know if I would have had the patience to rest my wrist otherwise.  For you owl experts- I know, I know, I left off the stripes. There were some subtle stripes here and there on the wings and tail.  I should have incorporated them as I was painting.  My plan was to get to the stripes once the feathers were done, but at that point I was afraid of messing up what I already painted. Despite my lack of expertise with acrylics I am fairly satisfied with it, though it's too intimidating-looking to go above the sofa where I originally planned.  (Bird of prey right behind your head.)
Back to the clay.  First I have some glazing to do, though.  These are small sample tiles for a customer who wants 6 inch tiles to go around a fireplace.  My customer was trying to nail down the glazes/decoration and it seemed to me that she needed a sampler to choose from.  I may attach Velcro on the backs to mount on a board so she can see how the colors work next to each other.

And here's Miss Billy.  Perhaps she finds the sight of turtles stranded on their backs fascinating.  The turtles had a wash of iron oxide applied with the excess wiped off.  Now they are on their backs while the wax on the heads and limbs dry.

Glazed and ready.  I gave them a dip in the glaze bucket and now they are waiting for the rest of the stuff to get glazed so I can fire.

She's really a smallish cat.


  1. Those turtles on their backs just made me smile. Your painting is really nice, my mom wanted me to be a painter so bad, like her brother, but I just don't feel it, I like to play with watercolor every now and then but that's about it....

  2. What a wonderful painting, you're done more then well.

    I also love the turtles, their cute and fun.

  3. Your owl painting is lovely, though I agree about the placement over the couch decision. We never had acrylic painting in my art school studies either...maybe that's the next thing I'll do, though I use them for lots of things, but not an actual painting. The turtles look lovely, and welcome back to clay slowly! Meow to Miss Billy from my 2 who are doing Kitty Olympics right now.

  4. Tracey, the upside-down turtles made me smile too. Part of me wants to start painting again, but I remember in the past I felt weird about selling paintings- too personal or something.

    Gabi, thanks, and I hope the turtles turn out well, as I have a customer waiting for 2 of them.

    Hello Barb, I was drawn to that photograph because it was so powerful and spooky- a little too much so for comfort maybe.
    If I had read up on acrylics before I started I'm sure the painting would have gone a lot better. I still could have used some classroom instruction, though.


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