Mystic Owl series

I wasn't quite sure how to title this, but I did a series of paintings with an owl, and I really pushed the background to be loose, free, and... well... "mystical". I wanted that feeling I get from an owl to come across in the image.  If you're interested in the process of making a painting, then this post is for you.  I've got lots of in-process photos of various iterations, and some video!  Fun.  :)

The final image is a full sheet (22" x 30"), but I started with a smaller image, (15" x 22"), building the texture of the wings with a granular technique, using Raw Umber.  I then cut the shape with the background.  You can see the first two steps here.

I eventually layered the image up to this more complete stage--

I'd not gotten this granular technique to work before this owl, and so spent some time working on the backs of old sheets, etc., as I tried to get a handle on the process and make it repeatable.  It requires  A LOT of Raw Umber, daubed/ applied very thickly into a pre-existing wash.  Then I dribbled water/ watery pigment into it, tilt the board, and let the water paint for me, creating all those wonderful rivulets.  Here you can see some of my process--

I played with the image over the next week. I was not particularly satisfied with either attempt, although I liked bits and pieces of each.  However, my sister took a series of photos and videos of the process, which was fun  You can get a sense of how I'm doing the background in these.  I'm using a spritzer bottle a lot, to move the pigment, with lots of playing with gravity.  :)  The resolution of the video is small, so it doesn't blow up too well full screen, but it works well in the boxed videos.

Here you can see the two images I worked on.  This first one sort of reminds me of Totoro.  :P

In the end, this final one I'm sharing was the one I was happiest with.  Again, it was a full sheet, so pretty big by my standards.  Very exciting to work that big.  Haven't done that in a while.  I only remembered to take some step by step photos part way through, but I though I'd share what I've got, as it's focused primarily on the final stages, and sort of supplements the steps you've seen earlier, from the previous two iterations. 

And, the completed image! :)