Printmaking Update: Barn Owl Engraving

My adventures in printmaking continue with my newest print of a barn owl sitting in a moonlit forest. I wanted to see if I could make a print that would pay respects to the engraving traditions that have been around for centuries.

The idea for the barn owl flowed naturally from two projects I recently completed. The first was the owl I painted in my wall mural and the second, my last print of a “wind-up” crow. I was torn between emphasizing surrealism, as with my crow print, and emphasizing realistic detail.

In the end, detail won out.

Here’s a little jog through my process in pictures and, by the way, see the finished product in all its glory in my Etsy shop:

First I sketched the image using royalty-free photographic references I found online. I sketched directly on the resingrave plate.


Next I began to carve. The pink color is a pastel sharpie marker I used over the plate so I could see where I was carving.

In the process of carving

Eventually, I was able to proof them. the first proofing, not pictured here, showed that the prints were too dark. I needed to work on the gradations, which is is still a huge challenge for me in this medium.


And finally, the finished product!


Finished Owl Print

I think this may be my last traditional, realistic piece for a while. For my next blog post, I will tell you all about a new body of work I’m creating for an exhibition next year here in Germany. Hint: I’m drawing on all my latest obsessions – the mechanical, the nature-inspired, the connections between things… Stay tuned!

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