Nippers the Owl – September 5, 2016 Progress

I hope that you all spent your Labor Day with loved ones and that everyone who has to go to school is ready for it tomorrow morning! I know that I am as ready as I can get, and have decided to use a few minutes before turning in to write up a quick post of my latest painting. I seem to have spoiled myself and my readers with all of these posts and paintings, but I just had the time and the mind to pick up the brush and practice a bit.

I think that this owl painting has some of the best underpainting I have done yet. I know that it is a bit overworked in areas, but it really isn’t so bad. I also decided not to add highlights with gouache after the fact, this time, because I was better with reserving them. Either way, what are your thoughts?

nippers the owl_painting

My sister took the liberty of giving him a name: Nippers. I think he looks surprised by something. Maybe it is the coming school year. Haha.

On a more serious note, I plan to improve my underpainting as well as leaving highlights. The more I paint, the more I realize that half of the process is reserving those highlights to bring sparkle and life to a subject. I also observe that nothing is as good a highlight as unpainted paper. Going in again with gouache or acrylic just doesn’t do the same thing, in my opinion. I have yet to try using a white gel pen to the same effect, but let’s just say that I am not planning on purchasing one for my collection.

I also need to grow more confident with making more naturalistic backgrounds. I really don’t see myself going the abstract route with my painting practices, so that is another thing that I should really plan out more. However, even here, I got to put in some time with negative painting and gradual transition between colors. I was also quite pleased with using only a handful of colors to do the whole thing. It is for that reason that the background doesn’t seem to be so out of place. The color just ties it in.


  • 1/4 sheet of Kilimanjaro natural white 140lb cold press
  • Paints (M. Graham, Winsor and Newton)
    • Burnt Umber
    • Prussian Blue
    • Alizarin Crimson
    • Naples Yellow

I actually thought I used more colors, but now that I go through the process again, and look at my palette before cleaning it up, it really was all done with just 4!

This paper is really quite good as well. I don’t really see a difference from Arches. Maybe one day I will do a side-by-side comparison.



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