Junction Falls South Lawson

The Story Behind the Painting

Back in June 2017 just before I left my job of 17yrs and sold my house to pursue a life of travel and adventure, I was often found hiking around the Blue Mountains, NSW on the weekends.

This time I was tour guide to my parents trying to show them a collection of waterfalls just after the rains. I try and take them on different hikes each time we head to the mountains. This particular hike was called the waterfall circuit at South Lawson, which a few days earlier when I’d hiked with my friend Olivia.

Hiking with Mum and Brian
Waterfall Circuit at South Lawson

My Painting Process

The first thing that I painted was the sky and maybe went a little too blue as I didn’t have anything else to guide me.

I find it helpful to create a tree by painting the trunk and branches then adding all the leaves to it.

After this I started working on the foreground tree as I only had a few hrs of daylight and thought this would be a good chance to get some fine details into my artwork.


When working on black paper the paint colours work totally different than on white paper, so I decided to create myself a colour chart on black paper to help guide me.

I created 4 light square of white gouache that gave me a 25% paint and 75% water.

Then I created a 2nd layer on the other 3 squares creating about a 50% water paint. then a 3rd layer creating a 75% and finally a think 100% colour.

I then got carried away after creating my yellow and green collection and created a colour chart for browns and blues.


Now I had my colour chart made, this helped me greatly choosing the correct greens for the leaves and all the ferns.

It also helped me work out a light wash for the waterfall mist and the time lapse look of moving water over the rocks.

I started painting the water from the top of the waterfall the way it would naturally fall over the rocks and then down to the next layer. Trying to create a natural look of water and movement.


A closeup painting of the right hand side of the waterfall cascades using a combination of a wet brush to get the water flowing look and a dry brush to get the water droplet look.


Another day spent painting all the water cascading over the rocks at Junction falls. I used permanent white and a little bit of sky blue for the water. Then a few different browns for the rock ledges.

I must have spent a good few hrs painting all the small ferns and the large tree fern on the left of the waterfall.

I like to paint the tree trunks and the branches to give lots of depth before I start painting all the leaves on them.


Looking at the foreground tree it seem to be too closely painted to the background tree leaves. So I decided to darken and soften the edges of the tree and this seemed to seperate them it from the background.

Next I started working on all the foliage on the right hand side of the waterfall making sure I had lots of details in the ferns as I wanted super fine detail in this artwork.


The last part of the painting was probably the hardest trying to get all the water falling over the rocks and still have the rocks underneath visible.

I also spent a lot of time painting large amount of ferns right next to the tree. I paint the ferns one leaf at a time, right hand side then the left.

After this I add a lighter green or yellow for highlights then add a darker green to create a shadow at the top and make if disappear into the background.


I tape my artwork down on to a plastic cutting board that is reasonably stiff and doesn’t buckle if it gets wet.

I was just holding a black matt over the artwork to give a finished look and make sure I’m not going to cut my signature off when framing.

Also apparently its good to see the artist and the size of my artworks.


Finished artwork in a mock up frame as they are still at Possum Park and was not able to photograph it in one until I get back.

This painting has definitely upped my game and I think it is now my most detailed one to date. Hopefully my flowers like it as much as I do.

“Should I paint more waterfalls” ?


Gouache and Pastel Card.

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

2 Comments on “Junction Falls South Lawson

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