Well as I have mentioned before, I’m staying at Possum Park, Miles after returning from Maryborough where I currently have an exhibition running from 12 March to 2 May 2021.
As part of my daily routine I walk or ride the 3.6km circuit around the old ammunition bunkers and on this occasion I spotter some hairy caterpillars. These two were having a feed on one of the small eucalyptus trees, creating a nice pattern as they munched away.
It wasn’t until I got back home and looked at the photos that I noticed I had number 2 bunker in the background, which places this artwork nicely at Possum Park.
I decided that the painting would look much more balanced with just a single caterpillar being the centre of focus. This also draws your eyes to the bunker in the background.
At first I wasn’t going to include the bunker but then changed my mind as this will be a location piece if someone visiting Possum Park purchase the artwork. This all adds to the story of my artworks which the owner can now share.
I used Naples Yellow to achieve an out of focus affect but it dried before I got chance to add the bunkers.
I’m struggling with washes in this hot weather but the effect still turned out rather well, and I’m sure in time a get better.
Nice light washes of greens were added next to give an idea where the grass and shrubs would be.
Once I started painting the leaf the background seemed to look more out of focus, which I was happy with.
This leaf seemed to have a light blue sheen on the top, maybe from the oils or sky reflection, I’m not sure. What I did like was the caterpillar chewed edges to the leaf and the interesting shape it created.
Next I started working on the caterpillar body segments, creating nice round shapes. This enable me to place the hairs on its body and get the right angle they should protrude out.
Also this enabled me the create a repeating pattern per segment
The shadow was added next with a darker green wash.
The very time consuming part, all the hairs which needed to be just the right paint consistency. This is the 3 little bears of painting to water ratio.
Too much paint and you get blobs, not enough and paint and it dries on the brush.
Too much water and you get a very faint line.
Too much water and paint and you get a thick lines and blobs.
Eventually you get it right and then realise its the wrong colour.
I create a layer of black, then white hairs, then at slightly different angles create more black and white hairs.
The shrubs under the leaf needed to be a little out of focus but not as much as the bunkers and also darker to make the leaf stand out.
All framed up and for something different I placed it on a black background as I really wanted the paper to stand out and draw your eyes in.
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
I like your stories behind the painting. It adds to the image!!
Thank you. There is something about Possum Park that is magical and I think I’m creating some of my best work here. I love telling a little story about each artwork, it’s a little bit of extra work but I think well worth it for the viewers.