Autumn Barn Owl Painting in Himi Gouache


Himi gouache painting of a barn owl with an autumn theme, surrounded by mushrooms, foliage and acorns

It's been feeling very autumnal rather than summery in the UK, so on a wet weekend I decided to do an autumn themed gouache painting of a barn owl. I have an idea to do an owl painting for each season, and eventually make them into a set of four postcards.

I used the Artfly Himi gouache set I reviewed here. As someone who has never got on with gouache particularly well, the Himi paints have completely changed my perception of the medium. I've previously only used gouache for detailing watercolour or mixed media paintings. I haven't done solely gouache works because I thought it was tricky to use.

I find the Himi paints lovely to use, although I do perhaps use mine a little unconventionally. I work in a similar ways to watercolour going from light to dark. I also use thin washes. I think the paper plays a part in how well this works, and the Hannemühle Britannia block worked perfectly for me.

On the light parts of the owl I layered thin washes to give the appearance of feathers and left the white of the paper instead of relying on layers of light gouache. I have found sometimes I can muddy the lighter colour layers, which is probably my heavy handedness, so this works for me. The lighter speckles on the owl I did do light over dark.

There are some lovely greens in the Artfly set that you can mix to get a natural palette. Mixing natural greens is a bit of a weakness of mine, so I like the fact I can get some nice olive tones with these paints. I also love the strength of the reds for the mushrooms, they really pop out.

Products used -

Hannemühle Britannia watercolour block 

Artfly Himi Gouache 56 colour set

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