Bushfire Galah

The Story Behind the Painting

The location was the same as my previous painting of the kingfisher at Mulga Camping area in Bladensdale National Park just outside of Winton.

Walking around I spotted a pair of Galas in a tree, these are fun to watch as they like to climb, jump and just muck around. I guess they didn’t get the memo as they didn’t want to perform today, maybe because it was way so hot.

Galahs in tree

As you can see the landscape was very dry and most of the creeks had dried up, with very little if no rain at all in the past 8 months.

You can definitely see where the saying comes from, Australia is the sunburnt country. The soil here wasn’t as red as I was expecting though but I’m sure it will make a nice painting one day. I just love the bent tree in this shot, I must have taken about 40 photos from different angle of this one tree.

Such a sunburnt country

Painting Process

I was considering painting both the galahs but I always get worried if I’m going to stuff the second one up. In the end I took the conservative approach and just painted the one on the single branch.


I main tree trunk was casting a shadow on the tree stump that the galah was sitting on, so this gave it a very dark shadow in the mid day sun.

As I was painting this I was also watching and listening to the bush fire appeal concert on the TV outside.
When I came back inside I looked at the shadow in a different light so to speak. Seeing all the bushfires and burnt trees on the TV I decided to change the shadow to a burnt limb.

This was exciting because it gave me an excuse to use a little extra colour in the trees burnt bark.

The other side of the tree was a light grey and covered in little bore holes. I love the detail and this tree stump had plenty. Any surface you paint isn’t a uniform colour, it has light, darks, shadows, reflections, stains and bird poop. All this detail has to be captured to make the painting look real in my opinion.

Saying that, I do admire people that can load an oil painting brush up with different colours and within one stroke have all this detail down that takes me hours to do in Gouache.


The galah has a rather difficult eye to paint, as its made up of lots of skin folds. I always like a challenge so this was rather time consuming to paint. The face and chest of the galah was a bright pink and this was also interesting to paint as most animals have been brown and greys.


Next I paint the grey feathers which seemed to give me a little trouble as they kept looking a little muddy.
I overcame this with mixing black, white and a little blue.

After watching Alice Coopers excellent performance on the TV I came back to finish the tail feathers, which ended up a light shade of brown that I wasn’t happy with.

There seemed to be too much contrast between the dead part of the tree and the burnt part. So I decided that the dead part needed a little more fire damage to make it look like the same tree stump.


The next morning I gave the painting the once over and dulled down the brown tail feathers and added a few more shadows, then signed my name.

Watching the bushfire concert and deciding to paint a burnt tree stump gave me the idea to name this painting the Bushfire Galah.


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

2 Comments on “Bushfire Galah

  1. Another great painting, you are so talented, hope you sell a few although it will be hard to let them go.
    Keep up the good work, it will all pay off

    Like

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