Bundaberg’s Alexandra Park Zoo has a small collection local animals and the best part is it’s free to wander around. If we have family visiting us from overseas this is one of the stops on our tourist circuit, followed by a few beaches and the Bundaberg rum factory, well it was a few years ago.
It was a bit of an overcast day so I didn’t quite get the full effect of the bright orange eyes that emu’s have. At least this one looked like it had it’s hair in order, compared to the last one I painted a year and half ago.
I always like to start with an animals eye, the problem with this is you can tend to make them a little too dark with so much white paper around.
I was hoping to make the watermark a feature of this painting as the placement looked like a bow tie. However when I started painting the feathers it got covered up.
I looked closely at the emus neck and noticed the patches of blue and white skin, this needed to be painted first before any feathers.
As with most animals when you start painting fur or feathers I start at the end and work forward placing the latest feathers or fur on top of the previous ones.
More feathers were added and then I started on the beak, making sure I added plenty of scratches and chips that it had accumulated over the years.
Looking at all my photos of emus, the beaks seem to be so different, also the hairstyles can be very amusing.
Once I have a layer of black and blue feathers down I start added some white ones and a few light brown to show a little bit of dirt.
Now time to darken the beak and estimate the head so you have a solid foundation to place the hair on.
My favourite part of painting the emu was the eye and the hair, as I think these two things along with the beak give it so much personality.
Last of all I just added more fine hairs all over the emu’s head and neck.
Framed up in a simple frame and will add this to my market collection.
So comparing the two emus, the first one I painted in September 2019 and my current one March 2021. I can definitely see the improvements I have made with my attention to detail and my brush work over the 1.5 years and the differences.
I only had 4 colours back then, Indigo, Burnt Umber, Raw Sienna and White.
I now have a wide range of brushes that enables me to paint much finer details and I have more experience with each brush.
My latest emu has also taken me around 2.5 times longer to paint and with that comes more detail and realism.
The funny thing is people would always say “I love the emu it looks so real.”
I wonder what they will think of the new high definition version ?
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