Watercolor painting of a Great Horned Owl in a Ponderosa pine tree by Janet Tarjan Erl.

Nocturnal Hunter

Medium: Watercolor, Image Size: 19″h x 27″w, 1990.

I painted this Great Horned Owl perched on a contorted branch of a Ponderosa Pine tree. I’m not sure if these complex branch clusters are natural occurrences for Ponderosa Pines or if they are caused by some kind of disease, but whatever the reason, these twisted branches sure make for dynamic settings, especially for this owl. I saw this tree in Yreka, California.

To do this painting in watercolor was tedious because painting the bird and pine needles required using Miskit masking fluid to block them from being painted as I painted the background. The Miskit acts as a water-resistant film, so the watercolor doesn’t paint the paper. I slowly masked out the pine needles with the Miskit by masking out a hundred or so needles, and I would then do a light wash of light green. I would continue masking another hundred or so needles, and I would do a slightly darker green wash. I would repeat this process and do successive washes that were slightly darker each time until all the needles were painted. I then painted the bird and the branches. Afterwards, I rubbed off all the Miskit which is like rubber cement, so it comes off. The needles then had a lot of variations in colors and shades as of the progression of washes and masking added up to the final image.

Original is sold.

Note: Image Watermark of Copyright and/or Website are NOT on the Original.