The Owl Project – Not all things go as planned

Not all things go as planned seems to have been the theme for the last week of my life.  Internet was down for several days, dealt with terrible customer service trying to get said internet back up and running…work was really busy and artistically, everything was either taking much longer than anticipated, or just wasn’t working the way I wanted to.

So, what’s a girl to do – take a deep breath, assess the situation and move forward.  Here are couple cases in point.  I decided to tackle a bunch of paintings yesterday that I had pen work completed on and thought I’d start with the backgrounds.

I thought a crimson background would be really impactful
I thought a crimson background would be really impactful
The final product, with green background
The final product, with green background

When I started with the Barred Owl, I was really thinking a crimson background would be really impactful.  So, I went with it, let it dry and when I was getting ready to start painting, I just wasn’t feeling it.  I took a step back and tried to visualize where I wanted the painting to go and decided that a green background was going to work better.  And I went with it – happily, the end product was what I’d hoped it would be.

With that painting under my belt, I decided that I would move on to the Short-eared Owl painting.  I’d worked on a lovely cerulean blue background that I was really happy with, but when I looked at the actual pen work and subject I was about to paint, I still wasn’t happy with it.  I’d been struggling with the sketch from the beginning and never felt I’d really got the proportions and jizz of the bird right.

First attempt at the Short-eared Owl
First attempt at the Short-eared Owl

I had two choices, either plough ahead and finish what I’d started or go back to the drawing board.  This time, I scrapped the entire project and went right back to the sketching phase again.  I found a new reference photo and pose for the bird that I was much happier with.  The image was transferred to the gesso original board (there is some satisfaction in covering up something you are really unhappy with) and the pen work is complete and ready for paint.  new short-eared owl sketch©new short-eared owl penwork©

Lessons learned – trust your instincts and be patient.  Sometimes it’s going to take longer to get the project completed than you’d hoped, but if you take time, step back and assess and follow your gut, you’ll end up with a product that makes you happy.

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Peleegirl

I'm an avid birder and naturalist, with the good fortune to work as a park interpreter. I get to spend every day in a beautiful park, so no matter how challenging, all I have to do is look out the window and the natural world is there to greet and soothe my soul.

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