Stalking Through The Night

The Story Behind the Painting

Last year I walked around Bundaberg Botanical Gardens and photographed various birds, turtles and lizards, including the Great Egret that inspired this painting.

Bundaberg botanical gardens are free to walk around and has some wonderful wildlife. I would recommend purchasing a small bag of food from the cafeteria to feed the turtles and lizards in the lagoon.

My Painting Process

I have been wanting to paint this great egret for a long time, however with a light undercoat the egret looked more like a white faced heron.

I was originally going to paint this on a white background but in the end thought it would look much better on a black background and already had a frame made up.

Once I has happy with the egrets face I started working on the background foliage undercoat. This was going to be a challenge as I hadn’t worked on this many leaves before. Also I started to include a few hidden animals in the background.

Lots more leaves were added as I was trying to hide the little green tree python.

I always work from photos and try and copy them as close as possible, however this painting was a little different. I was adding extra leaves and branches that were not in the original photo and this made things a little harder.

Having most of the background finished I started working on the reflections in the water. I was a little worried at how bright green the leaves were becoming but I thought once the white feathers of the egret were finished the leaves would not be as prominent anymore.

I tried to make a mirror image of all the branches and foliage in the reflections with some slight ripples. I was quite happy with the results so far and know I will improve with each painting.

I accidentally added a little more water than I should have while painting the larger feathers and discovered a new technique that produced some rather convincing wing feathers.

Time to match the egrets white body in the water reflection and give the painting the once over and make all the leaves and foliage more realistic.

This is when I thought it would be a good idea to add a few more hidden animals in the painting. I was happy with the result and placed the painting in a frame ready to sell, then realise I’d made a mistake.

I had forgotten to paint the hidden animals reflections in the water, so had to take the painting out of the frame and add the reflections.

Framed up for the second time, also with the addition of two sets of initials of the people that are purchasing the final painting.

One of the branches looked like the letter “P” so I added and second one next to it and this now represents Possum Park, where I’m currently staying as the resident artist and where the purchasers camped for a few nights while visiting my gallery.

This artwork has something special, within the background it references five other of my other black label paintings. This has given me an idea for a future black label series.

Left hand side reference paintings

Right hand side reference paintings

Gouache Colour Palette

For my Black Label collection I use Winsor & Newton Gouache on Black Colourfix Art Spectrum Paper.

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

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