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Painting BIG Owls In The Backyard

The Guardian. 2.5′ x 2.5′ // Oils, origami paper, acrylics, chalk, pen, pencil, spray paint, inks.

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Lately, I’ve been painting owls in my backyard on BIG canvases

I’ve had these large 2.5 ft square canvases laying around for a while now.

I had tons of fun squeezing out large bottles of acrylic paint and squishing the color around with my hands. Each canvas became a giant fingerpainting project.

Now that I can paint in the backyard again, I got inspired to add my owls. And not just any owl.

I’ve always wanted to recreate my She Stands Out owl (the original painting was stolen from a gallery show a few years ago). But when I tried to repeat the past owl, I froze. I did alright getting the owl’s shape and color, but I could not paint the eyes.

Since I always get uptight focusing on just one painting, I painted four similar owls.

By the time I got to painting the third owl, I didn’t want to stick to the same dark background as before, so my palette really lightened up and everything started to move and evolve.

When it came time to start on the eyes, I chose my least favorite canvas.

This is actually the first canvas I started. It’s funny the one I was most attached to, became my least favorite.

I kept to my favorite colors, but switched up my supplies since I was working so big. It didn’t make sense to use a pink paint pen for the cheeks or a stabilo for the details (it actually melted in the sun). I realized could cover so much more area (and had way more fun) just blobbing acrylics and black ink instead.

But I still didn’t like my white owl.

So, I dug deep into my supplies and pulled out a can of dark blue spray paint that I had never used (a new supply always wakes up my creativity).

Spray paint is the perfect thing on these big canvases and really helped to ‘cut out’ my owl from the background.

Little by little, this new owl came together. And while it carries a lot of sentiment from the original owl, she really stands out in her own, new way, carrying the light with her.

I’m calling this new owl, The Guardian. I hope she inspires you as much as she inspires me.

Happy painting!


Juliette Crane

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  1. I absolutely love The Guardian. She’s beautiful. And I want her.

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