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'In any land what is there more glorious than sunlight! Even here in the desert where it falls fierce and hot like a rain of meteors, it is the one supreme beauty to which all things pay allegiance ... The chief glory of the desert is its broad blaze of omnipresent light.'
-John Van Dyke

Monday, January 27, 2014

Arizona Critters

Two new little watercolors were inspired by our backyard animals. A pair of Great Horned Owls has been hooting at night until about a month ago. They were often both sitting in one of our Eucalyptus trees, hooting at each other. Their voices are so deep and powerful that I can feel them 'in my gut' like basses from a boom box.

I started the painting with the darks to keep the confusing pattern of the drawing under control. I could have used inks, but I'm hoping to pick up some of the darks when I wash over them. They should then blend and soften somewhat. That will require a delicate touch to avoid smearing and mud. This is not the traditional approach to watercolors. The last step shows the addition of the background of very free-flowing pigments to counteract the tight rendering of the portrait.

watercolor of a Great Horned Owl inspired by a photograph by D. Barret

The owl now looks like cut out and pasted onto the picture. To finish, I need to loose edges and blend some of the background into the portrait to integrate the two elements. If done successfully, the lost edges will also make the head appear rounded. I think it's done, but I will return to it tomorrow and maybe tweak it a little. I like the way the background turned out.

Yesterday I also finished this little guy, a Harris Antelope Ground Squirrel.  For some reason google refuses to upload him without turning and flipping the image. But that's OK, he found a home with one of my collectors right away when I posted him on facebook.

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