Drought Declared

The Story Behind the Painting

Well this is definitely the most remote I have ever driven on my own, and I was definitely a little uncomfortable and thinking what If’s all the time. Nice freshly sealed road, I thought I was onto a winner and about 5mins later it just turned off it onto dirt, anyway I was up for an adventure. The area was very dry, flat and featureless, for about the next 2hrs I didn’t see a single car but I did spot some emu’s and watched them for about 30mins.

I was so excited when I came across a loan tree that I had to stop and photograph it, unfortunately I didn’t see the kangaroo trying to lay in the partial shade of this dead tree. When I closed my car door to keep the cool air inside it must have slammed and startled the roo as it took off.

I felt kind of bad as it was the only decent shade around the area, I’m sure it came back after I left.

My Painting Process

I love painting trees because they can be so different and have so much character.

A nice simple sky with a few clouds just to show distance and some interest.

An undercoat of Naples yellow for the dirt as this area didn’t have the red iron in the dirties my previous landscapes.


Now all the time consuming brush strokes of dry grass, this is made a little quicker with a fan brush.

I also start adding a little shadow under the tree and some broken branches.


More dry grass is added and this time I started chasing them with shadows and highlights.

This is when I get my stippling brush out and start flicking paint on the ground to represent stones, as its no fun painting each one individually.

More water on the brush = large stones, almost dry brush = fine stones.

I hand paint larger rocks as you can add shadows and highlight to them.

I also added the startled roo as it was hopping away, using the same pallet as the dry grass.


Now the best part of the painting, adding the tree, it had a double trunk that was twisted around itself so I made sure the gap was more visible.

If I remember correctly I used three brushes for this tree, angle then a large rigger followed my a much smaller 0/20


A few more fine branches added in this final image from the painting above.

What I really wanted to show is the difference between the scanned image which is much more true to the painting than the iPhone photos above. These photos are much more contrasty and different colours depending on the time of day I have photographed it.

Another example of this is the sky, I haven’t changed anything from the first photo to the last but see how much colour difference there is between all the photos.

Framed Artwork ready for my Surround by Nature exhibition on 3rd September to 27th October 2022 at John Mullins Memorial Art Gallery, Dogwood Crossing, Miles, 81 Murilla Street, Miles, QLD.


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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