I’ve been very drawn to owls lately. I love the way they look, and the many ways that they can be distorted and stylized but remain recognizable. So naturally, my last visit to Plaster-Fun-Time had me painting an owl bronze. I wanted the owl to look metallic; lots of owls are brown, but I don’t really like brown, but I wanted it to still be in the the same color family. I decided since the owl was heavily stylized already anyway, I might as well paint him gold and brown.
Originally, the owl had a lot more dark bronze and brown on him, but when I asked for a pearl finish, I received far too much finish, and the owl turned WHITE!!! Ah. I was silently distraught. So I took the owl home and began experimenting with acetone and rubbing alcohol and paint thinner in small specs on the bottom to see how best to remove this finish!! No method was perfect, because they all wanted to take the paint off, but I settled on non-acetone nail polish remover because it took the paint off the least, but still took off the finish. So I got some cotton balls and soaked them in non-acetone nail polish remover. Then I pressed the cotton ball onto the surface of the owl WITHOUT WHIPPING. That’s very important, because whipping took off the paint, but if I dabbed and pressed without rubbing, the nail polish remover would only take off the finish. But it was a slow process and the nail polish remover was not super potent. So I worked at it until I felt I had restored a decent amount of saturation to the colors. Thankfully, the owl retained a metallic sheen in the golds. The pearl finish, still partly visible on the finished product, makes the owl look more rustic and on the neutral side. It sort of helps to tie the colors together, actually. I’m actually surprisingly happy with how it came out, after I had to bring it back from the brink of disaster.
I protected the owl with a slightly glossy car-enamel top-coat. Now he’s ready to hang on a wall!