Pelican Studying Design

The Story Behind the Painting

This painting sources 3 different photos, the beach and colourful rocks are from Blueys Beach, NSW back in 2013 while on a family trip to Forster.

Peter pelican was taken at Bundaberg botanical gardens while I was trying out my new camera and a 600mm lens 2021.

While visiting my mum we went walking on Kellies beach near Bargara and I spotted all these patterns made from sand by crabs. I always found the patterns fascinating and wondered how I could incorporate them into a painting one day.

As you can see from the photo below it was a very dull overcast day, but after walking for a few hrs on the beach the cloud started to brake up. This enabled the sun to shining through and highlight some amazing colourful rock formations, which really stood out from the turquoise water and cerulean sky.

My Painting Process

Ok so a lot has happened in this painting before I got to take any photographs, I’ve managed to paint the sky, distant headland, sea and beach undercoat. This sometimes happens if I get up early and start painting while I leave my phone on charge. If I don’t see my phone then I forget to take progress shots and I usually forget to eat apart from some chocolate or snacks.

Well that’s not a hundred percent true, I’ve snacked on Christmas hams, fruit mince pies, fruit cake and ice cream, occasionally fruit without the cake.

So I must walk more in 2022… I’m missing the Blue Mountains, as its a little flat around here and there is only so many times you can walk the same 3.4km track.


I enjoyed painting the rocks using multiple layers of paint and the incoming waves as they splashed over the them. They created some subtle reflections as they crept around their base with some white foaming patterns left behind.

As the water receded it created some marvellous tree root patterns in the sand that could be totally transformed by the very next wave that washed over them. Waves are marvellous to watch and the constant changing patterns they make in the sand is mesmerising.

I started painting the larger rocks with a light wash and gradually I added more reds and orange, darkening them in the shadows. After this I started adding large cracks followed by more browns, sepia and burnt umber and much finer hairline cracks.

Once I started adding all the details and the vibrant colours I think this transformed the painting into something rather special. This got me excited and I was determined to paint even finer details.


Now this is where I start getting nervous in a painting when I know so much of it looks good, well thats my opinion anyway.

I know I have to keep up the same standard for the rest of the rocks. These ones aren’t as bright and a slightly different texture but this will also bring the attention to the red rocks.

Also the angle of the rocks and Peter pelican’s beak all point the the red rock in the centre of the painting.

You can see what the undercoat of the last rock looks like, very basic just a hint of where the final colours will go.


So the last rock almost finished and I’m thinking is Peter pelican going to be large enough to get some fine details in. Maybe I should have made him larger will I be able to get a nice range of colours into his beak and eye.

This is my normal process of the thinking when I’m doing an artwork and sometimes you just need to hit the fridge and consume some chocolate.


As you can see Peter pelican, is no larger than my thumb which becomes quite challenging to paint with some detail.

My friends name for pelicans is Peter and now its stuck in my head for ever, Peter Pelican, thanks Kat.

I have a spare piece of paper thats about 2inch long next to my artwork and this is where I test colours and lines before I commit them to the paper.

I also use this to test skies, clouds and in this case little balls of sand made by crabs,


Finished artwork ready for framing, overall I’m very happy with the results and enjoy painting seascapes I think more than Landscapes now.

Thank you all to the people that have popped into Possum Cottage and giving me positive feedback while I’ve been painting this artwork over a week.

I’ve definitely got some interest in this artwork and I think it will be very popular at my exhibition, next September, Surrounded by Nature.


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 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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: