Wren Your Friends Different

The Story Behind the Painting

The red backed wren was photographed at Australia Zoo last year when I was walking around Bindi Island. I was watching the lemurs, when a flash of black and red wizzed past my head, narrowly missing me. In bird terms it was probably miles off, as it settled on a near by post.
The other two blue wrens were taken from inside the bird enclosure, and one of them was having a shower under the garden sprinkler.

Wren at Australia Zoo

How these little bird paintings came about you may ask, well it was by accident really. As you can see below is a full sheet of Archers cold pressed 300g paper, once torn into sheets you get roughly 6 A4 sheets and two small strips left over.
The A4 sheets I can use landscape or portrait, and the strips seem to work better as landscape, when painting animals.

I tore the paper down into some smaller almost squares and I found that these would be good for little birds, where my photos were not that clear to paint from. I also wanted to create some smaller artworks for people to purchase at a reasonable price, unfortunately the professional framing cost was almost the same for a small artwork as it was for a large.
In the end I went the opposite direction and gave people the opportunity to purchase 3 smaller artworks for the same price as a larger one. This also gives people another frame size to choose from to hang in their house.

Arches watercolour paper 300g cold pressed

My Painting Process

The pencil out line is drawn as a start point, and I’m already wonder if I should draw leaves on the ground or would they be too distracting.


The first thing I painted was the feet, but at this scale it was very challenging to get a lot of detail.

I decided just to add a light wash as a shadow, this grounded the wren on the bottom of the page without having to add too much detail.

Then using blocks of colour I paint an undercoat on the wren.

Next I moved on to the tail where I spent a lot of time getting the two feathers right.


I worked on the eye, which is unusual as a general rule, this is one of the first things I normally paint.

Happy with the birds eye I moved onto the head, breast and wings. Then I changed the colour of the feathers under the birds eye about 3 times as I wasn’t happy with the colour. They were almost metallic and I was having trouble achieving this, in the end adding a little white seemed to do the trick.


A close up of my wren painting I just finished and then noticed a few minor highlights I was missing.


Finished wren ready for framing at Art Plus in Bundaberg.


Out of the three birds this is the most detailed, I used my super fine 10/0 brush for most of the birds fine feathers. Even with all this detail it was a rather nice bird to paint.


I’m rather impressed with the finished artworks, framed up in this beautiful frame.
I will definitely create another triptych in the future and maybe it will become a nice pair hung side by side in someone’s home.


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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