Beach Stone Curlew

The Story Behind the Painting

I decided to continue along with the bird theme as this gives me a never ending source of material that I seem to be collecting on my adventures around Australia.

This pencil drawing is from a photograph I took at Corella Dam, Queensland west of Cloncurry.

It was a very windy day which was making photography hard as the cold breeze was coming off the dam, straight into my face. My eyes were watering and my fingers were getting cold against the metal of my camera in the last few hours of daylight.

I was a little uncomfortable as there were plenty of sharp rocks where I was trying to kneel and take good photos of the birds. As I was camping well away from other people and remaining fairly still the birds didn’t seem to be bothered by my presence.

Corella dam was full of wildlife and I must have photographed around 20 different types of birds in that two weeks I camped there.

I’m sure you will see many birds and landscapes from this collection in future paintings.

My Painting Process

Pencil outline, where every artwork starts from, sourced from my own photos.


I thought I would try a sand technique that I’d observed in an oil painting my mother has hanging on her wall.

I loaded an old toothbrush up with wet Gouache and masked off an area I didn’t want to paint. I should have masked off most of the table too as my first flick didn’t quite hit the target I was hoping for. The second attempt I had too much water and created a big blob of water that I had to sponge off with a paper towel.

I then added some larger stones and a few shadows with a small paint brush to add a bit of variation.


Next I thought I would try and add a water background, this I must admit I haven’t got the hang of yet. Saying that, I have only just started painting in Gouache after about 25yrs lapse, so this may take some time to acquire the skills I’m looking for.


After my wishy washy background I started on the birds undercoat, which will give you a good idea if tonally things are going to work out or not.


I usually start with the birds eye and work down towards the feet adding more layers of feathers as I go.

If I was to paint this again, I would soften the water so it’s not as much of a distraction from the bird.

I guess this one will not make the top 20 for my exhibition sometime next year at Glenella Guesthouse in Blackheath, where I’ve been staying for the past 6weeks and hopefully have my first exhibition.

I’m hoping to exhibit originals and prints for sale at the end of 2020.

This painting did end up flying to Philadelphia, USA.


Gouache Colour Palette

I use Winsor & Newton Gouache on Arches France Watercolour Paper, 300g Cold Pressed.

My painting come from my own experiences that I have lived and photographed while traveling. By reading this blog, you as a viewer can now hear The Story Behind the Painting. Where, when, what was happening while I was photographing the wildlife.
If you want more details about my adventures checkout my travel blog website www.ChrisOsborneAdventures.wordpress.com 

Enjoy, Chris Osborne

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