This is my latest pastel painting of barn owls, a commission for an existing client and a job I also enjoyed doing. The pastel artwork was inspired by a recent visit to Healsville Sanctuary. I spent the afternoon at the sanctuary photographing lots of animals, but I went there mostly for the birds. It isn’t often you get very close to eagles and other birds of prey or to some of the colourful lorikeets and galahs we have in Australia, let alone the tawny frogmouths and owls which are nocturnal. These birds are youngsters, which is why they have the lovely fluffy bits over their legs.
As I have been working on birds a fair bit during the past year or so this pastel painting was easier than earlier works of three to four years ago. The spots and variations in the colours through the faces and the lovely expression in the eyes made this a very enjoyable painting to do and the character of the birds is quite strong making it interesting for the viewer – especially if you love owls.
Whenever I start an artwork now, I try to remember what several established artists have said “it is only paper and pastel”. It takes away the pressure you can tend to put yourself under so that the process is far more relaxed.
The faces came out as I expected and I love the colours through the whole thing. I was in such a great relaxed mood when I did the piece and it shows so well in the feel of the final painting and the expression in the owl’s faces – even in my mark making on the paper, I feel.
As this work is a commissioned artwork and already sold, I am happy that it was completed in a timely manner and the client has approved it. Another sale and happy artist!
Dimensions: 30 cm (width) × 42 cm (height)
Ownership: Private Collector