Barred Owl

This commission piece was a real challenge for me. I usually like creating dynamic compositions. The perched Barred Owl as a subject does not easily lend itself to that goal, so I had to inject that energy into the composition. The centered and vertical placement of the owl is contrasted with the diagonals of the tree trunks in the background. Those trunks range from a detailed depiction in the middle ground to less detailed, abstracted tree forms in the background, suggesting a greater sense of depth. The green branch the owl is perched on creates the most abrupt change in line direction, focusing the viewer’s attention on it and the owl. On the owl, I decided not to depict the soft blending of the feathers, but instead chose to stylize them by carefully rendering each with an individual clarity. The greyed-out warmness of the owl’s white feathers, along with the burnt orange feathers, contrasts with the cooler background colors further drawing the viewer’s focus to the owl. The contrasts of line direction, color, and value help to create dynamic tension imbuing the composition with energy and excitement even though it is a static subject.