Night Owl

Sharing with you my first painting I attempted following Juliette Crane’s on-line classes! I was very excited about this because I do adore her work. The fairy tale mood she projects through her cute whimsical characters appeal to me. It’s a different kind of “kawaii” as it’s not quite Japanese-style anime but still sweet and innocent. After having practiced drawing my whimsical animals, I was ready to roll with the heavier stuff!


As typical of mixed media paintings we build our background based on layers of paint and collages. Juliette, in her video, gives us a methodical step-by-step demonstration and chats us through what materials she recommends whilst giving us sound advice about what to do if something fails. Anyhow, the first step was to brush three or four of your favorite colours across your paper with a sponge brush. As recommended, I used an A4 sized Bristol paper. Paints used were fluorescent red (ARA), pink, teal (both by Rangers), Titanium White and Payne’s Grey ink


Also added were some tissues as collage. Although normally glued with acrylic medium, Juliette suggests using white acrylic paint too. That’s quite interesting because, let’s face it, the binding material behind acrylic paint is of course acrylic medium! Just to experiment I went for ARA’s metallic white. Another interesting thing is that Juliette prefers to cover all the white areas of the paper whereas other artists like Tracy Verdugo’s tells us not to be afraid of leaving whites in! There is of course no right and wrong, it’s just personal taste.

Draw the Owl

I had to practice drawing an owl again on a small sketchbook before transferring my idea on paper with a light-coloured soft pastel. Then I set about painting the owl first before deciding what to do with the rest of the painting. The face was the usual blend of Antelope Brown and Titanium White. For the head and wing, I mixed some of the teal with fluorescent yellow and white, and with my finger applied the colour. Apologies for the difference of colours in the photos; it’s because they were taken with different times of the day with natural light.

Emergence of the Owl

Painting the Rest

  • Juliette adds a ground on the bottom of the painting so I thought of doing the same. I was also going to incorporate trees. Whilst she also painted the background red, I decided to go for purple though.
  • At first, I painted the ground in white but the teal showing up from underneath made it look more like a beautiful sea. Abandoning the idea of trees, I then decided to add a moon instead!
  • One of the most useful suggestions made by Juliette is to make the eyes closed if you’re not confident with drawings eyes yet. And thus I did but also because it would look as if the owl were being dreamy. Another cute idea she has is dabbing a bit of “eyeshadow” on the eyelids to make the animal look more lively.
  • It’s also a good idea to have a satay stick or even just a palette knife with which you can scrape paint surfaces whilst wet. This adds to the texture as seen in the moon.
Getting There!

Embellishing the Painting

Just added a few little details. In the video Juliette suggests adding a few details like feathers on the owl. That’s a great idea actually and I may well use that, i.e., adding flowers or hearts on my creatures or in the hair of my Little One. Here I used the white Relief Paint for the feathers to add texture. I further doodled in some details on the wings with my Molotow white acrylic marker and went for a bit of bling with some glitter glue on the eye lashes and the green part of the head. And now, I think I’m done!

What a fun and informative tutorial that was! Like other lessons, I picked up a lot of tips and ideas, and it’s so interesting to observe the methods as to how the painter arrives at the stunning results. Each have their differing styles and ways which makes creating your own all the more exciting. I’ll definitely be following more of Juliette’s classes too!

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