I painted this owl in the summer of 2010 and I wish I still had it.
I didn’t have my own designated studio then, so as often as possible I’d paint outside. It had gotten so hot, my water soluble oil pastels melted in the sun.
I should’ve moved into the shade, but I’d convinced myself I could finish this painting. I just didn’t want to walk away until it was done. And, of course, that led to a huge, ugly mess.
I got so frustrated with my owl that I smeared paynes gray acrylic over the entire piece. Very quickly, I realized I’d made a big mistake. I wiped off the paint with a rag, but it had already turned into a sticky mud. I felt like I’d never be able to paint anything I liked ever again, so I grabbed my spray paint and splattered red all over my canvas.
That’s when I saw the outline of an eye… and I went with it.
I sketched my owl’s outline with chalk, then smushed on white acrylic with my hands. There was a giant oil paintstick glop I couldnt cover up, so I added a circle of origami paper, which became the belly.
The painting happened fast, without thinking.
It was the kind of painting I try to replicate, but can’t, unless I’m deep into the process.
A few weeks later, at one of my first gallery openings, a young girl saw this owl and pulled a chair up to the painting so she could stand and look at it, eye to eye. She fell in love with this owl and ended up taking one of my in-person workshops.
Now I wish I could give that young girl this painting. But the original was stolen during another gallery exhibition (a big lesson learned).
This painting needed to stand out and my hope is that its story will continue on and on, so I’ve made this owl available as a print in my shop. She’s a reminder to have courage and be brave enough to follow your dreams.
I’m sharing more of the successes, failures and lessons I’ve learned over the last ten years as a creative entrepreneur and full-time artist in Business For Creatives.