Pale Headed Rosella

The Story Behind the Painting

Whenever I go for bush walks I always come across burnt out trees and thought this would make a nice subject to paint one day.

So I went for a walk behind my cottage at Possum Park where I’m currently staying looking for a nice burnt tree stump to paint.

I came across a few burnt stumps but they weren’t what I was looking for as I wanted something with interesting shapes. Then just when I was about to give up I came across a wonderful stump and photographed it from many angles. As you can see it has lots of shapes and I have only just painted the very top, so expect more painting of this tree stump in the future.

I was initially going to paint a little wren perched on the tree stump but decided on a parrot with its tail hanging down would look much better than something so small.

My Painting Process

I’m still trying to perfect an out of focus background known as bokeh effect like you get with a camera. This time I thought I would try it by saturating the paper and letting the paint bleed as much as possible.

Because I didn’t want the blue background paint leaching into the bird I added masking fluid. I wouldn’t get a nice pale yellow if I was trying to paint over blue sky as it would mix and create a green, so I needed a white base.

The masking fluid is a latex and just lifts off once dry but repels paint washes very well.


The background dried very quickly and I would have preferred it a little darker. I always forget it dries lighter once it soaks into the paper.


Time to start working on the burnt bark charcoal which can have quite an interesting colour range..


I started painting the dead unburnt tree using layers of grey and raw sienna. As my brush was drying out I noticed how differently the paint was behaving on the paper.

This was creating a smudged rough look as the paint was dragged across the paper grain.

I think I accidentally discovered a new technique to paint wood grain using an almost dry brush.


Where the paint created its own grooves in the paper I made theses into cracks in the tree stump.

lots of layers of very light paint and slowly adding a little colour of blues and more browns created a realistic look. I used a larger flat brush to rub across the dry gouache then I transferred this to the paper.


Close up of the bark with all the knots in the wood grain.


Last thing I painted was the pale faced rosella, unfortunately I just got stuck into it in one sitting without taking any progress shots.

I also like how the birds yellow head and blue body is a mirror image of the blue sky and yellow dry grass.


Finished artwork framed and ready for my exhibition in September – October 2022.


Gouache and Watercolour Paper

I use Winsor & Newton Gouache on Arches France Watercolour Paper, 300g Cold Pressed.

My painting come from my own experiences that I have 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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