Lotti Brown Designs

-- Artist & Designer - Author & Teacher of Drawing Your Way --

barn owl

Behind-the-scenes of an artwork: Fireweed Barn Owl

artworks, behind the scenes, drawings, inspiration, nature art, bird art, wildlife artCharlotte BrownComment

Taking a behind-the-scenes look at one of my colourful British Birds artworks: my Fireweed Barn Owl.

Fireweed Barn Owl - Artwork by Lotti Brown

I'm so lucky that where I live in East Yorkshire is a great location for barn owls. They seem to love the huge, flat fields, ditches and hedgerows, where there must be plenty of little mice and voles to be found.

Barn owl (from a local bird-of-prey centre)

I often spot a barn owl in late winter, or early spring, when dawn comes late and dusk comes early, and the owls are out around the clock to feed their young.

I love to watch them quartering the fields, or skirting along the line of the ditch, hunting for their prey. They will suddenly swoop down into the long grass, and you are left to wonder for a moment whether they caught something. And then they re-appear again, either weighed down with a meal, or perhaps with no reward this time.

Beautiful, snowy-white feathers

Barn owls can quite often be seen in daylight after a wet spell, too, as their feathers are not very resistant to water. Therefore they try to avoid hunting in the rain. Lovely to see them, but it does mean they're very hungry.

It's always a thrill to see them. So the owl was one bird it was simply essential for me to draw...

Owl drawn in fine-line black pen

Adding colour to my owl drawing

Completed owl drawing, in colour

I wanted to put my barn owl in with these beautiful Rosebay willowherb flowers (also sometimes known as 'Fireweed')...

Striking Rosebay willowherb flowers

Beautiful Fireweed flowers

As one of the owl nesting boxes is close to patches of these vibrant pink flowers, it felt only natural for me to put them together, in a moody, night-time scene...

So I set-to, drawing the flowers too...

My Rosebay willowherb drawing: black fine-liner

Coloured drawing of the Fireweed

Coloured drawing of the Fireweed

With the drawings coloured-up and completed, I scanned everything into the computer, ready to create the artwork in Adobe Illustrator...

Original drawings, scanned into the design program, and ready to start creating...

The next step is to create the basic composition. I am able to duplicate, flip and rotate the flowers, to create more from my original four drawings...

Composition complete for my barn owl artwork

I always start creating on a plain, brightly coloured background, so that the individual elements all stand out well, and I can see any stray marks or dots more easily.

Once I have a basic composition, I start to tweak the colours. In this piece, I kept the colours fairly true to the originals, simply brightening them up so that they would look suitably 'night-time' and also dramatic against the background I had in mind...

Tweaking colours and adding a background

I used one of my hand-painted fabrics behind the owl, to give the night sky some colour, texture, and a sense of mystery.

I will quite often use these fabrics as backgrounds in my artworks - but they don't often feature quite so prominently as here! So do let me know if you like it!

I'm happy with my barn owl artwork - I like the idea that this is what the local barn owls are up-to by night! 

Completed barn owl artwork

Showing some of the detail of the artwork

Buy It

Art prints available at my online art store, here...

The design is also available as a cushion, bag, duvet cover, notebook and more here…

More about other designs in my bird art collection here...

All intellectual property rights in my designs and products (and in the images, text and design of this website) are and will remain the property of Charlotte Brown. Any infringement of these rights will be pursued seriously.