White Faced Heron

The Story Behind the Painting

I was walking around Australia Zoo when I spotted this white faced heron looking for some lunch among the water lilies. I managed to get a nice photograph of the heron but decided to use another photo of the lilies with more flowers.

My Painting Process

This was my second commission in a few weeks and the pressure was on to create something as nice as my last painting.

I always try and make each paining a little different from the last to be fair to the previous client.

A small amount of paint was used to get an idea where the birds feathers would be on the heron. I also worked on the bolder to get an outline of the feet.


Next I started working on the rocks with a little shadow from the heron. I don’t think my phone took a fantastic photo as the rocks almost look white.


You can see from this photo the rock has more cream as I start to add more detail. My favourite rock was the one just below the feet with all the cracks and rough surface.


Now I start to build up the layers of the heron trying to get a nice grey with a slight blue tinge to the body.

More rocks were added and only a few reflections not like my last painting. This was going to have lilies and a few hidden fish as requested from the client.

I could really see this as a different version though, with a few more rocks and maybe a large full moon to the left creating some nice reflections. Idea’s for a future painting one day maybe.


Once I studied my lily photo I realised that the lilies were all at different staged of growth and decay and not all green. It was good to pick this up as I got to be a little more creative with the colours and sizes.


Because the photo I was using as a reference didn’t have a bank, I had to start making things up on the fly. I think the sensible thing to do in this situation is a rough sketch to work from. As it turned out I had a good image in my head to work from and thats all I really needed.


A close up to show the initials DB O’S on the bottom edge of the second green lily under the dragonfly.

As well as the dragonfly there is also a fish hiding under the yellow lily and an eel.


A white faced heron deciding which of the two fish was going to be on the menu first.


Finished artwork framed up in a nice timber frame with a gold insert in none reflective glass.


Gouache and Paper

For my Black Label collection I use Winsor & Newton Gouache on Black Mi-Teintes Touch Pastel Card.

My painting come from my own experiences that I have experienced 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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