Nutty the Squirrel

The Story Behind the Painting

Back in August 2015 I traveled to Canada with my sister for 3 weeks. We had just hiked to the top of a hill and were looking down over Lake Louise and the Fairmont resort where we were staying for a few nights.

This squirrel runs up my sister while she was eating a nut bar and started looking all cute and innocent.

Then lightening fast it runs up her leg, she freaked out and drops some of the nut bar and the squirrel runs back down her leg and picks up the food. So I took a few photos and this is what I decided to paint to remember my trip.

Lake Louise, Canada

I was enjoying painting in Gouache but I couldn’t get the detail I was after so I went to the local art shop and asked for some help.

I was then told I need professional brushes and they were unlocked from under the counter. I felt like I was buying a diamond ring when they were presented before me to admire.

Top two brushes were normal price brushes and the bottom two came at a price tag of $16 each which was not as bad as I was expecting. 5/0 and 3/0 Raphaël Kolincky France brushes.

So armed with some new brushes, I thought some detail work was in order. I decided to paint another squirrel, since my other one was flying out of the country to Germany.

New Paint Brushes

My Painting Process

The pencil outline is of a golden mantled ground squirrel, eating a tiny bit of my sister nut bar at Little or Big Beehive Lookout in Canada.

This was a new challenge for me, trying to paint lichen on a rock and make it look realistic..

I started to paint in the order things would grow, starting with the rock base. I then painted the black I could see under the lichen and then the yellow lichen its self. Lastly adding shadows from the squirrel and this took around 5hrs.

Next I moved onto the squirrel’s undercoat with some basic colours, black, yellow and burnt sienna.

I had a few things on that day so this painting took me a few days to complete, I guess the super detail I’m trying to create means a lot more brush strokes to get the squirrel’s fine hairs.

This painting has a lot of detail compared to my other squirrel and I’m liking the lack of background as the subject stands out a lot more.

I also like the story behind how the squirrel got its nuts. I think this kind of background story and location adds to the painting, its not just a squirrel eating.

Thats why I like painting my own photographs I know where everything is taken and what the weather was like, sometimes I remember smells. Other times I remember how I was feeling on that particular day or what the squirrel did next.

To me its not just a painting it’s a whole story of events leading up to this one snapshot of time

Gouache Colour Palette

I use Winsor & Newton Gouache on Arches France Watercolour Paper, 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

Enjoy, Chris Osborne

2 Comments on “Nutty the Squirrel

  1. Love the story of the squirrel, love that you shared the experience with your sister. It’s great too look at each painting that you have done and share the journey of how it originated it makes it very unique. Wish you all the luck in the world with this new career Chris, you have amazing talent. Xx


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