Cactus Flower

The Story Behind the Painting

I was awoken by a phone called from Julie and David the owners of Possum Park, where I’m currently the resident artist. “The cactus is flowering, come and have a look as it only lasts a single day once the suns on it.”

Since Julie loves this cactus I thought it would make a nice birthday present for her in a few weeks time. I decided to combine two photos, one of it flowering and the other fruiting, as I couldn’t decide which would make a better to paint.

My Painting Process

The first layer of paint creates the undercoat and gives you an idea of the mid tones and shadows. I had to imagine shadows on the cactus fruit as the photo was taken on an over cast day. Where as the cactus was photographed in full sun.


Time to add different shades of green and the spikes bases, and to get a more realistic look I started painting all the little scars, ridges and stains in the groves.

I added more detail to the cactus fruit and an imaginary shadow and some reflections.


Next I started adding all the spikes and the the spike shadows. This was a little fiddly and repetitive and the least fun part for me as I find it hard to paint straight lines.


Then the same process was used to complete the bottom half of the cactus.


The last thing to work on was the flower, This took a few amounts of white paint layers as they kept soaking into the black background once dry.


After lots of white layers of paint the petals were starting to look good. I must have painted the red petals quite a few times just to get the colours right.

I had more trouble with the fine details in the middle of the flowers because white paint on a fine brush always dries way to quick. Sometimes the paint doesn’t even transfer from the brush to the paper.


Finished painting in a nice frame with anti 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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