Thursday, January 1, 2009

"Eurasian Eagle Owl" 12-31-08

Another bird of prey you say?? "YES!" say I!

Well I decided that I'd concentrate on birds of prey amongst all the other nature stuff I'm painting. It's great to concentrate on a particular subject for awhile; you'll learn more information as you read about it, visit locations where it can be studied in real life and ask questions of those who know more than you about your subject.
This little (3.5"x3.5") watercolor painting is a warm up for a larger painting I want to do in oil. I am working from photographs by my photographer friend Gene Witkowski (of Buffalo) from when we went to the Sterling Renaissance Festival three years ago. (wow has it been that long??) After that I became a full time artisan there but never had time to go visit the acts and see the owls or joust first hand. So now I use the invaluable photos. The oil painting I'm going to do is a full size pose of this owl named Boo, sitting on the gloved hand of his owner Jenn, who did the bird of prey show.

She told me he was an African Eagle Owl, now that I read about the Eagle Owls, I've learned he is indeed an Eurasian Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo) and that the ones found in Africa would be smaller and greyer as he is. I wondered because as I read about them it says they are brown mostly, and mine was not. Another fact I never knew, our Great Horned Owl is an Eagle Owl, Cool!

Below shows my set up as I worked, I put a masonite drawing board on top of a tv tray table and this is where I plunk myself sometimes to work near the woodstove. Ahhhh, you can't beat that heat when it's freezing outside! I limited myself to my field palette of watercolors and yes, I had to use the reading glasses! An invaluable tool when working on tiny paintings!


Carol Creech said...

Hi Mary - and Happy New Year!

I love the owl paintings you posted. This gray Eagle Owl is just beautiful. You have captured such a great expression. And it's such a small painting! Do you find it harder to work smaller like this?

Mary McAndrew said...

Hi Carol!
Happy New Year to you too, I think we're going to accomplish a lot this year!
To answer your question, yes it is more difficult to work smaller. It's a whole other challenge, making your marks relate to the size of the piece, using tiny brushes and I do need the reading glasses when I do this. I found the hardest part was the pupil! I'm not satisfied totally with it, but perhaps it's better for it NOT to be too perfect?
The nice thing about working small is that you can complete it in a shorter amount of time. This is good for me when I feel a little distracted by many things and just don't want to dive into a large painting. Also it's not as expensive to sell to people who love your work.
Thanks for the comments!

Carol Creech said...

Hi Mary,

Yes, indeed - I think we will accomplish a lot this year! And I think that the pupil looks fine - I had to really look closely at the eyes to see what you mean. No too perfect is sometimes the best! And being able to sell something less expensive to folks who like your work is not something I'd thought of. Great idea!

Tracy Hall said...

Hi Mary
Your owl is lovely and I enjoyed readig about your trip to the UK :) I look forward to seeing your eagle owl in oil too.
Happy New Year and thanks for visiting my blog - its nice to meet you!

Mary McAndrew said...

Thank Tracy,
I have visited your site before and love your work. I was going to send you an email today! So glad you beat me to inviting you to look at my blog! I have several blogs but this is my main one. My website is in need up updating so I usually send people to my blog! It'll be great to chat with you, take care,

Tracy Hall said...

Oh bother, well, send an email anyway!!

Your classes sound like a lot of fun. I've never tried to teach anything, I imagine it's quite a challenge but fun at the same time. Good for you for doing it and finding the time (which might be the major challenge!!)

Bob Eggleton (Zillabob) said...

Very nice!! I like watercolors myself as well!! Goauche is also nice and both are a tad easier to clean up than oils.

I'll get back doing 'scapes. Just been very busy with commissioned work. Sucks the energy and time out of me.

Mary McAndrew said...

Hi Bob,
I never really tried Goauche..but have some white to play around with my watercolors. I like to work in many medias...the problem with that is, I'll get onto one (watercolors) for a long while..then I long for the others!
I'll have to keep checking your blog, looks great!

shubhadarshini said...

I love your owls. Great work. All the best Shubhadarshini