Glow Worm Tunnel Newnes

The Story Behind the Painting

Back in March of 2019 my twin cousins were visiting Australia and it was finally my turn to play tour guide in the Blue Mountains. Trying to show them as much as possible in a few days we headed out to Newnes Plateau just past Lithgow to see the glow worms. We spent a few hours walking among some stunning ferns before heading into the depths of the dark tunnel only illuminated by my touch and the twins phones. Once in the middle of the tunnel we turned off all our lights and as our eyes adjusted to the darkness we started seeing the walls begin to come alive with light from the glow worms.

Tunnel Exit
Glow Worms

My Painting Process

Always trying to paint something new and create a variety in my work I decided on painting a landscape on black paper to add to my black label collection.

I started by painting the tunnel walls and the moss growing up the side of the rocks. Next I added the twins, one in shadow the other in sunlight at the entrance / exit depending which way you walked.


Once I started painting the stones on the floor the painting was starting to looking like a night time scene under the glow of a full moon, which I rather liked. This looked like the twins were walking into a dark tunnel where in reality it was the opposite they were walking out of one.

This has definitely given me some ideas for future tunnel paintings and full moons.

I think in hindsight that I should have painted the outside of the tunnel first that way I could light up the inside of the tunnel and create depth more easily.


Next it was time to paint some of the ghost gums and background foliage. I think it’s also important to notice the details of fallen trees and a few at odd angles.

I just love how there are ferns hanging in shadow from the roof of the tunnel. I was going to add some bats here but wasn’t sure if I’d seen them in this tunnel or another one which I visited recently.


It’s at this stage that I realised that I haven’t painted a large group of ferns before. Painting things for the first time always worries me because you never know if it’s going to be easy or difficult. A cluster of ferns I’d place on the difficult side of the scale after this little experience.

What I discovered from painting the ferns is you start from the back and paint the darker ferns and the shadows. This gives you a base to work from and adds depth to your paintings.

I started adding more natural litter on the ground with fallen leaves and dead ferns, also some running water.


After you have a good base you can then start adding ferns in sunlight and individual leaves.

At this stage I realised that the inside of the tunnel was looking a little dark and more light was needed on the rocks and moss further up the walls.


Everything was just about finished and looking pretty good, now I just needed to add the glow worms.

In reality the glow worms were much deeper into the tunnel where it was darker, but for the sake of an interesting painting I placed them closer to the entrance.


Last of all to make it a little more personal for the owner of this painting I added her initials. Then had a total blonde moment and could remember her name because I had her initials back to front.

Once I had them painted in the correct order I double checked to see if I had put my dinner in the microwave and not back in the fridge as it was getting late. The joys of getting old…

SR in the middle of the painting.

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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