Matt Gaberell - Great Horned Owl

8/21/20231 min read

Great Horned Owl painting titled "Fierce" finished in early August. The painting is on a 48 inch by 30 inch gallery wrapped canvas in acrylics. This was painted as a 25th wedding anniversary present for my wife . The collage above shows varying phases of my painting process. For this painting , because of its size, I started with a projection to get proportions correct. My next step, as with all my paintings, is to do an under painting in burnt sienna. This under painting is important to help me to see the shading, feather direction, etc where my darkest darks and lightest lights should be. Next I do the rough in painting of the eyes in the base color and the paint the rest of the dark tones in the picture. After eyes and dark tones I start a process of layering, glazing, layering and glazing colors, to refine shapes. Once I have this base in I start to define the feathers. I the feather painting process to be both maddening and therapeutic, depending on the day, and my confidence level. Finally when I am at a point where I feel good about the feathers, I retouched the eyes, added detail and highlights and whitest whites.