The Mobs Watching

The Story Behind the Painting

While I was camping at Biloela, I was busily setting up my swag tent and hammering in the tent pegs, when I spotted some movement in the field next to me. Since I was low to the ground my view was a very limited, so I stood up and saw a pair of kangaroos in the long dry grass.

I stood observing them, while more and more heads started to appear looking back at me. It’s not until you see animals in there true environment that you realise how well camouflaged they are. The roos or wallabies that I normally see in the Blue Mountains national parks are the same brown colour but easy to spot in fields of green grass or bushes.

I hammered the last tent peg in, then rummaged around the car for my camera. With camera in hand I took several photos of the roos in the late afternoon sun. It was a magnificent setting, the sun was illuminating the roos with a golden light, which were casting long shadows in the Sienna dry grass. After a while they carried on about their business of eat the parched grass a mouth full at a time.

My Painting Process

I was looking through my brushes and realised that I only really use 3 brushes for my style of painting, as its very detailed. Usually a 3/0 brush, a 5/0 brush and a slight angled one.


So I gave myself a challenge, to use 5 different brushes for this painting. Since I had 12 brushes I’d never even used in my painting box I thought it was about time to change this.
I only bought them because they looked different and may come in handy one day, Well that was today.

What did I discover ? Well that I have some excellent brushes I should have been using all along. My new favourite brush is the long thin ones used for painting long grass.


As always, I first start with the undercoat, in this case it didn’t take very long, because the subjects were so tiny. I was only looking at painting two tones, mid range and shadows the lights were left white.


The grass undercoat and shadows were next, this I should have made much darker. It was hard to paint lighter grass on top of a very light background.


I started using my new brushes for the grass which were excellent apart from the white paint drying way to quick.

At this stage I was feeling a little bit frustrated and defeated, the grass was becoming too dark and muddy.


I started to work on the kangaroos when I got stuck on the 3rd one, as he wasn’t behaving properly.

I was just about to give up and put this to the side, thinking that it wouldn’t make the exhibition, when the doorbell chimed.

It was the kitchen installer, stopping for a chat as he drove past mums bed and breakfast.
Conversation started about my artwork and I decided to show him three of my works that hadn’t made it to the framers yet.
upon seeing the kangaroos, it reminded him of his property and said I must finish painting it.

So sometimes that’s all you need, a little confidence boost or a push in the right direction to keep you working.
It may seem that you’re failing but others can see the potential in the work that you have already completed so far.
Never give up…


So after I put my head down and finished the kangaroos I reworked the grass with a much wider colour range. I also doubled the amount of detailed work in the kangaroos and reworked the faces of the first three kangaroos.

Over all I’m very happy with the results from this small letterbox shaped painting of a kangaroos that I spotted while setting my tent up.

It has now become the header for my webpage until I paint the baby turtles.


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 www.ChrisOsborneAdventures.wordpress.com 

Enjoy, Chris Osborne

One Comment on “The Mobs Watching

  1. Pingback: Three finches | Chris Osborne Art

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