“Utah” is a Great Horned Owl I photographed at the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge and used as the reference for this painting. It was done in acrylic paint on 24″ x 12″ canvas.

I took continuous photos throughout the process to create the time lapse video at the bottom of the page. As you can see, I generally work in a “layered” approach – slowly building up the colors on the canvas.

Great Horned Owl

In order to attain natural, rich tones, I utilize complementary red/yellow colors to achieve the darker tones in the green background. I airbrushed the red and yellow tones in first to lay the groundwork for the shadow areas. The green overlay naturally turned into a rich, dark evergreen tone when applied over the red underpainting.

Laying in the details of the “in focus” pine boughs helps to achieve the depth that you see in the background to help the eye focus on the main subject… “Utah”.