This painting is from a photo I took two weeks before I quit my job and started my new life of adventure. It was a November 2017 and I was walking in Glenbrook National Park on a summers day and the noise was deafening. I noticed something on a tree and I was about to witness something amazing a cicada breaking out of it’s shell, I was speechless and in awe of this miracle of nature.
If you would like to read the rather amusing blog I wrote on this cicada then click the link below, else just continue onto my painting process.
I made a time-lapse video of the cicada emerging from it’s shell which you may have seen a few years ago, if not click my YouTube Link below.
A few months ago I tried something different and painted a green tree python on black paper for my cousin and wanted to try another animal.
Painting on black pastel paper is a total different experience as you only have to use a minimal amount of paint unless it’s a transparent yellow.
I started painting an outline of the cicada shell with white and raw sienna.
I was already liking the look of this painting with only about 10mins work.
I couldn’t help myself and I treated myself to two new paint brushes at a cost of $4 each. These enabled me to paint super fine white hairs on the cicada’s body.
At this stage it almost looks complete but I knew that I had a long way to go. Initially I thought for such a small panting I would have it finished in about 5hrs but I think this was the 5hr mark.
I started working back on the shell and this must have taken me another 3hrs. It’s a little hard to calculate my time as I was looking after the Archery and camping park and seeing to guests and their needs.
A close up that I like to do to show the scale of my work.
Cicada shell almost finished with just a few legs to complete.
After finishing the legs, I worked on the body working forward to the lower wings then the upper wings.
I started painting some burnt bark as a back drop but it went horribly wrong and the black paint mixed with a little white gave it a sheen. The more I started to work this painting the worse it got, even adding colour didn’t save it.
After almost having a nervous breakdown, I had to re thinking my options. You get to a stage where you are really happy with your work as I think this is one of my best works and then you do something that turns it to crap.
You can invest so much time into something and seeing it go down hill is really hard to take. Especially posting your progress on social media and knowing that people are watching and expecting each painting to be better than the last.
I decided to add a little water and see if I could lift the paint off, that didn’t work but it did blended the black paint into the background and create a flat look.
I’m so glad that I managed to save this painting, I then jumped into the car and went to get it framed before anything happened to it. Next Wednesday you should be able to see the final artwork.
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