Gang Gang Cockatoo

The Story Behind the Painting

October 2019 I went kayaking with my friend Alison for the weekend, at Dunns Swamp in NSW. This was to be my last kayaking trip in my own kayak as I was selling them the following week.

This has to be one of my favourite kayaking trips and something totally different happens each time I go kayaking with Alison. We have experienced Bushfires, Storms, hail, stray dogs, amazing wildlife and that’s just to name a few of the wonderful trips we’ve had over the past 5 years.

Since we got to camp in the national park over the weekend we got to explore early mornings and also a dusk kayak. These walks and kayaks allowed us to see a wide variety of wildlife and some extraordinary scenery each day.

Kayaking at Dunns Swamp

This is where we spotted our single gang gang cockatoo, it was as curious of us as we were of it. I was amused how his head feathers were blowing in the wind and it just watched us, turning to let us take photos from a variety of poses.
While Alison was taking photos I noticed that she had the same colourings as the gang gang cockatoo, grey pants and a red top, this made me giggle.

Gang Gang Cockatoo

My Painting Process

I knew that this was probably going to be one of my last paintings for my beaks, claws and paws exhibition and I wanted to paint something special.

I’ve really started to enjoy painting branches, and this broken one was no exception. It had different textures and some really nice shadows so this is where I started my painting.

The next important feature was the birds red head and crest feathers. I like them but I don’t think I have captured the wind that was blowing from behind the bird. I think this may have needed some leaves floating past the birds head to give the effect of wind.

A few more tiny adjustments to the head feathers and this is where I packed up for the night. I also left the comfort of mums bed and breakfast and started back on the road camping once again.

Not having the comfort of a house to paint in I was extremely cautious of painting out doors.
This is when I decided I needed to test the water and paint something else outside first, that was the fiddler crab in my previous blog.

I started filling in the feathers on the wings with different shades of blue and greys. I really didn’t want to use a large colour pallet but I still wanted to make the feathers look like they had a nice sheen on them.
This is where adding blue to grey really makes them pop.

The weather was very windy which made painting outdoors quite difficult and people loved to stop by and have a chat, which I really enjoyed. I think this photo is a few days worth of work with all the distractions I forgot to take progress photos.

The last thing was to finish painting all the feathers, then take a close look at them as a whole and blend them accordingly.

A few more shadows added under the bird wing and neck feathers completed the picture.

I’m very pleased with this panting as it was very challenging painting outdoors.

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

Enjoy, Chris Osborne

5 Comments on “Gang Gang Cockatoo

  1. Gang Gags are my obscession at the moment and I have only just come across your page. Thank you, I find it quite helpful. I have painted them in watercolour, using gouache to paint in the white tips of the feathers in last. Also used a red pastel to highlight the red feathers above his beak to make them pop. I am now giving them a try in acrylic paint. I have seen them bred in captivity only and can tell you the male is very agressive during mating season and the owner had to make an armour made of wire netting just to get into the aviary and feed them etc. I was surprised as their facial expression is one of a friendly, totally relaxed bird. (It is a very large aviary with an iron bark tree growing inside it and the nest was a hole in the trunk of the tree.) Thanks again for your assistance.


  2. Pingback: Platypus | Chris Osborne Art

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