Just about done with the owl portion of this big (24 by 72-inch) hand colored photo. But I want to put a little more complexity into the background, which, in the original photo, is buttery smooth from being out of focus.
I like the bright yellow eye, which is pretty accurate to how thr owl looks in real life.
Here’s an early look at a large (24-by-72-inch) hand colored print I’m making. The image of is a Great-horned owl that Noah and I encountered at Fields Oasis during our recent eastern Oregon adventure. The bird sat remarkably calmly as we approached around the rim of the small pond. Only when we got close could we see that the owl was hanging on to a rabbit it had caught, which explains why it wasn’t quick to flush.
Here’s another view of the owl, with a clearer look at lunch:
Both photos shot with the 36-Mp Pentax K-1, which gives enough detail to print a single image really big. So I thought I’d crop it down to a wide pano view, as you can see, and try a large black and white print to color. It came out with startling detail, including the interesting texture in the bright yellow iris of the owl’s eye.
This is a test print on cheap paper (it might be shelving paper, I can’t remember where it came from). Which is good, as the printer, which needs cleaning, threw a couple ink splatters. Fortunately they missed the owl, so I can fix them in the coloring process.
I’ve only just begun the coloring, with a couple quick layers of acrylic medium and a wash of ultramarine blue and some olive green on the out of focus background.
I’ve been on kind of a tear lately with photos from the woods. Our local forest, neighborhood clearcuts and all, makes a lovely subject for landscape photography, and I’m deeply enjoying making black and white images to take back to the studio and color.
As you can probably make out, I’ve been loading up the brush with more paint than usual, stretching the boundary of traditional hand coloring into something more approaching a painting on top of a photo. The photograph is definitely still there and still vital to the image, but I’m less shy about coloring over areas with abandon.
Here’s a look at that one on the right. Don’t mind the glare — I shot it on the ground outside, which means I’ll soon be re-shooting it a little more carefully:
Lots of paint piled up on the foreground ferns and other undergrowth. I’m not quite inventing things, just simplifying areas of color, and reinforcing shadows and highlights to give that area more structure.
Every now and then you’ve got to pull out just about everything you’ve ever printed and re-organize it. This came about when I realized I had accidentally submitted images to a show of a print that I had sold a year ago. (Fortunately, it was rejected….)