Artist Painter Brenda D. Johnson's Wildlife and Nature Inspired Art

Brenda's Blog and Studio Journal features new works in progress and general updates. You can also follow Brenda on Facebook (search Facebook: Brenda D. Johnson Wildlife Art. (NEW!)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Great Horned Owl - Small Works

Great Horned Owl -  I should have this piece finalized by the end of the day.  I have one more 8" x 10" Barn Owl in fight I must finish before days end as well.   I'll be spraying the final coat over five paintings in one sitting before weeks end then off to the framer.

For those not familiar with specifics on this bird I'll add this  information:

Great Horned Owl: Bubo virginianus L. 22" Wing Span 44"
Wt. 3.1 lb. (1,400 g)

Range, North America with exception to some  extreme northern reaches of Eastern Canada.  As in other owls, females average browner and more heavily marked than males. Birds in the western interior region are generally pale and  grayish in tone.  Southwest population very pale  and pacific populations are very dark.

They are found in wooded areas, mountain forest, desert canons, marches, city parks, and urban areas.

One of the earliest spring nesting birds, eggs may be laid in January or February through April. They will use abandoned stick nests of Herons or other Raptors, but will also nest in rock alcoves, tree hollows, building which are abandoned or even sometimes on the ground.
They usually lay 2-3 white eggs though sometimes up to 6.  The young fledge from the nest at 45-55 days old and can live greater than 12 years.  

They hunt at night generally but occasionally at daylight.  They hunt by sound to get a fix on the prey.  Their diet consists of squirrels, shrews, jackrabbits, mice, muskrats, skunks gophers, snakes and much much more!  So, if you have a domestic cat, please beware!  Snoockums could be the next tasty bit on this birds diet.  

Great Horned Owl - On the easel

This little painting is one of two paintings I've been working on for the last several weeks.  Plenty of interruptions, (life just does that).  A little about my method or madness here.  Firstly, it's an acrylic on Amperstand Claybord, 5" x 7".  The background simply airbrushed in.  The drawing over the top of the background then white paint over the subject area.  I don't care to paint the animal in over color.  The underneath color seems to wash out the colors on top. (to me flatten them.)  This method is ever so different than working in oil.  I like working with the wash of colors underneath to enhance the final outcome with oil.  (Flemish, some my recognize as my classical training in oil here)  I do think (time permitting) it would be interesting to try color washes that would read well.  I love seeing paintings with lovely nuances of color showing through.  However, they are generally painted in oil.  Something indeed to think about.  Warm or cool color on the other hand can be washed over the top of the final piece to "Pop or Drop" subject matter.  That's a lot of fun! 

I'll have to admit that I am not following my recent workshop teachings with Terry Isaac on this one.  I really don't like working over mid tones.  Or from dark to light.  I'm often feeling as if I am working backwards with acrylic vs. oil.  

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Bobcat and Cubs

This is an awesome sight!  Bobcat and four cubs!
It's apparent that she has had an excellent year so far to have so many.  This family will return again and again to this site.  The food source and water are there.  The rocks and boulders offer privacy and protection to raise this liter.  This is just one of many who have returned year after year since around 1992.

Many of my paintings of Bobcats have come from this location.   Wild Bobs!  Oh so cool !

I have started a drawing from this group of photo references.   For balance in composition however, I have chosen Mother and two cubs.   I'll be painting this one in acrylic.  I might not start the painting for a month or two, but it goes without saying the passion is there and I am itching to start it.

I've had to put several I've started aside to date for deadlines.   The 5" x 7" Great Horned Owl piece is almost finished.  (I'll post it once complete)  I'll begin this weekend on a 4" x 4" painting of a Saw Whet Owl.   Then it's on for a new deadline.

I've ordered some books from and have a project that is very exciting.  I'll need to research this subject matter completely before I even think about starting the painting.   I'm thinking about doing an underwater scene, something I have never attempted before.   

Jerry and I will be traveling a short distance to Catalina for Kayaking, Snorkeling and such.  Underwater camera gear..... Hmmmmm!   I love how the light rays dance through the water bouncing the most fascinating designs across whatever it hits.  I think it would be wonderful to be able to paint the luminosity of light and abstract design.    Always the challenges that keep this job fresh!