Kingfishers Afternoon Bath

The Story Behind the Painting

I was photographing a baby budgerigar making lots of noise tying to obtain food off its parents. This green slither of feathers was funny to watch as it kept alternating between two holes in the tree.

As I watch the budgie begging for food, a flash of feather passed in front of me and landed in a tree to my left.

This beautiful specimen of a bird was perched on the branch looking rather fluffy having just had a bath in the nearby creek. After a quick look around, he got his photo taken and within a few seconds he was gone.

This is the first time i’d seen the red-backed kingfisher, as I normally see azure kingfisher while kayaking on the Nepean River

The location was at Mulga Camping area in Bladensdale National Park just outside of Winton.

You as the viewer with only see the bird and the branch it’s sitting on. When I look at this painting, I will hear its call, the flapping of its wings, which was more like a buzz. I will remember the 4 days of friendship I made with Will who cycled from Melbourne to Darwin to see his girlfriend. I’ll remember thousands of moths that took flight as I walked through the tall grass and kangaroos hopping away in the distance. I’ll remember the smells of other people cooking dinner or singing with guitar around a campfire.
Hopefully my art will trigger some of your own memories of seeing kingfisher’s or other similar birds.

Kingfisher after his bath

My Painting Process

As you can see the pencil outline has a reduced tree branch, I didn’t want a restricted the view of the kingfishers beak.


I love painting the small birds as they are much quicker to complete but I still try to retain a lot of detail.

The detail in this kingfisher called for my smallest brush 10/0

Starting at the branch which I was rather pleased with, I then moved onto the eye, beak and head. I always like to add a little blue to the birds eyes, to me this makes them come alive.


Sometimes when I concentrate on a painting too much I forget to photograph the progress, as was the case in this painting.

Even though there is no reference you can tell its a small cute little bird. I used all of my different tubes of blue on this kingfisher. I think a little splash of red-orange on its back draws your eyes down the full length of the bird and back up the tree branch to the eyes and beak.
I like this circular anti clockwise pattern when viewing the kingfisher.


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

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