Watercolor barn owl in flight paint along tutorial and demo

Hello my friends, thank you for coming to read this post today. I am very glad this barn owl is turning out the way I interpreted it. It was fun to experience a lot of trying to finally able to get the effect that I like. As I am looking at it with my desk top now, I realized that it is good, and I hope you feel the same way. The way I used a first layer of yellow ochre and then put a layer of water and then put in the sepia to disperse it for a first for me. I thought about it, nice and long. I try different ways, actually maybe cry a little, not really. But I sure went through a lot of paper. I don’t really mind, through the years I really got used to it. I try to do it quickly too. Meaning when a piece of paper is full of failed, lol, I quickly do another pencil sketch and start the process again. Sometimes I get very tired, but when something is not quite right I can’t sleep and I worked late into the night. I realized that is just me, that is how I roll. I know eventually I will have it figured out. I am quite comfortable with failed attempts and it is the process of learning. But now I hope it make sense to all of you. I am not sure if I have seen anything done this way, but it worked. It worked better than putting sepia next to wet yellow ochre, this can be some revolutionary method for future usage, I guess with that much practice I would probably not forget it soon. Let me know if you are able to follow along. And then the intensifying of the third layer is fun, so we could use some quin burnt orange. So please have fun and paint with me. Maybe in a few months we can do another one. I have to say, my husband suggested Karl Marten, which is always a great artist for me to get inspirations. I can see the dispersement of color, so I know that is the way to go. But since his paper are his homemade rice paper, or mulberry, I have to work with what I have. I don’t want to copy cat his method because it doesn’t suits me, but I enjoy his barn owl too. My husband also. But this is fun for us. You can google Karl Marten and compare his with mine, if any of you actually do that, Please let me know what you think.

Ok I promised in the video to tell you about my encounter with owl. I am not even sure if that was really an owl. When we went on our trip to glacial national park. The day after we went on the dobson pass hike I was over tired. So I stayed in the cabin and just let my family went to see the goats. After a morning of painting I decided to go on a walk. The area was beautiful, and as I was in the back of some residential area next to some farm, with some wire fence, I saw a big bird like an owl descended from the sky and got a rat in a ditch. All I can see is big brown wings fluttering and screeching noise, and a lot of struggle. I stood there and watch for a second. I don;t know why but after a very short while, I decided to walk off, now that I think of it, if I were to stay for like 5 more minutes, I would have seen whatever that big bird is with its victim. Maybe I didn’t want to see the dead rat. But I left, so till today I don’t know if it is an owl. My one reserve is that owl wouldn’t be hunting in mid day would it? Someone can enlighten me here.

So now on to the color used. For the owl body, yellow ochre, quin burnt orange, water, sepia. Claw part is mainly quin orange and burnt umber. Shadowy part of the wings and body is either indigo or payne’s gray. And the background is a mix of some of the color from the body. And I added a touch of red to quin burnt orange for the beak.

Ok tomorrow is graduation for my daughter from college and her husband. So I will try my best to get this post up. I am so excited for them. This summer we have plans to teach my daughter to make some simple quilts. That ought to be fun. But tomorrow I got to see my husand walks into commencement with his graduate college rope, it is orange and black. It will be a fun day. Thank you guys for coming to visit me here. I will see you again soon.

love, Kathy


  • Barb

    I’m so glad I happened across your blog and all the rest of the goodies. There was a time when I painted every day but events in my life have me stalled and struggling. So, I’m going to shamelessly avail myself of your very generous tutorials and hopefully jump start my creativity. Thank you so very much.

  • Ginny Westrick

    I don’t know how I stumbled upon this tutorial of a watercolor barn owl in flight, but I am so glad I did. I LOVE your painting style and your method of teaching is clear and complete. Your brush strokes seem like magic, and I hope that with enough practice, I will someday be able to master your technique. I have been in a painting slump lately, butI look forward to starting to paint again watching your tutorial. Thank you for sharing your time, knowledge and talent with those of us who strive to improve our painting skills!

    • kathy

      Hello Ginny welcome here! Those are very kind words! So glad the style of my painting suits you well! And I hope you can have fun Viking up your paint brushes! Let me know how things go and anything we can discuss! Have fun and I am looking forward to a new friend here! Love Kathy

  • Pamela Burks

    Well like I’m sure you hear all the time, I’m a beginner for year or so now and I’ve tried following many artists but your methods are so much easier and you also help me be ok with all my MANY mistakes.
    Just wanted you to know how much I truly appreciate your time to teach us at, Klub Kathy. Also I love all your stories about being out in nature.
    Hoping to learn to paint my beautiful home of the Appalachian mountains in Va too. Blessings to you and all your family.

    • kathy

      Hello Pam, so glad you leave me a message here. I have been itching to paint a fall tree and water scene. I too like painting outdoor scene, however what i have been doing is using pen or ink or pencil to do a lot of sketching and lightly put water color on the page. It’s very satisfying to me, but I have never seen people doing it that way and it has a lot of darker marks from pen and ink etc. But to me it’s a time to relax and take in the beauty around me so I do what I want lol. I am so glad you liked my paint along. I hope you keep in touch and let me know how you are doing. Do it at your time frame and truly enjoy the relaxation and learning. Thank you.

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