Gra­ham Lock­ett

Worces­ter­shire, UK, Snowy Owl, oil, 18 x 24" (46 x 61 cm)

International Artist - - Art Challenge - Con­tact De­tails Email: g.lock­ett09@bt­in­ter­net.com Web­site: www.gra­ham­lock­et­tart.co.uk

My In­spi­ra­tion

As some­one whose main leisure ac­tiv­ity, along with my art­work, is walk­ing in lo­cal coun­try­side and when­ever pos­si­ble in the up­land and coastal ar­eas around the coun­try, I get plenty of in­spi­ra­tion from na­ture. Much of my work is based around the land­scapes and wild an­i­mals I en­counter when I am out on these walks. Some of the most re­ward­ing and best-re­ceived paint­ings I have done are of birds so when my daugh­ter asked me to paint a snowy owl for her I took on the chal­lenge with en­thu­si­asm.

My De­sign Strat­egy

This paint­ing was to com­ple­ment a pre­vi­ous one I had done for my daugh­ter of a wolf, which had a red- based back­ground and a busy blue-grey main sub­ject. For this paint­ing I chose the same can­vas size and was able to use a green-based back­ground and calmer main sub­ject to give a sharp con­trast be­tween the paint­ings. The dark back­ground needed to be soft and dis­tant and the white owl cre­ated a stark con­trast to give the paint­ing im­pact. I am a real­ist painter at heart but still like my work to look like a paint­ing not a pho­to­graph. I wanted ar­eas of de­tail and worked looser and soft­ened oth­ers for con­trast and depth.

My Work­ing Process

I pre­pared the can­vas with ex­tra coats of gesso primer and a good sand­ing down, so it was smooth and easy to work on. I did a de­tailed sketch in pen­cil, which in­volved mea­sur­ing for ac­cu­racy of the key fea­tures. I put the back­ground colours down with thinned paints and then blended them with wa­ter­colour fan brushes as the soft­ness gave the smooth­ness I wanted. The owl was then added with light­est colours first and steadily built up with lots of lev­els of blue, pur­ple and green-grey com­bi­na­tions. The fi­nal phase in­volved putting on the strong white high­lights, the eye de­tail and the leaves in the back­ground.

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