Mr Close's Art Challenge

Big picture

The artwork

This painting of a barn owl was painted by an artist called Carl Whitfield, who is a true champion of hyper realist wildlife art – so real we thought it was a photograph in the gallery! Using oil paint on board, Carl uses the smallest of brush strokes, sometimes using single haired brushes to add the most delicate of details.

The detail is phenomenal; it truly looks like a photograph. I never thought it possible to add such fine detail and vivid colours in a painting no bigger than an A5 piece of paper.


The painting was purchased in the Lake District; a place which I simply adore. Living in a rural area, where wildlife flourishes, we regularly see and hear barn owls whilst walking my Beagle, Minnie, along bridle paths and fields. The painting is quite reminiscent of a time when we turned a corner, on one such walk, and came face to face with this beautiful bird. The fact that we saw the artwork in the Lake District; the fact that it was created by a talented Yorkshireman and the fact that it reminds me of home, meant that it had to come back with us to hang pride of place in our living room.

The challenge

Go for a walk and take a photo or sketch of any animal or wildlife that you meet. Then recreate your animal using as much fine detail as you can. Pay careful attention to the eyes of your creature. Make your colours as vivid as Mr Close’s owl painting.