Mischievous Juvenile

The Story Behind the Painting

I good source for birds and frogs is my friends archery and camping ground just outside of Gympie, Unfortunately they sold their business so I will no longer be able to photograph beautiful wildlife there anymore.

Property Dam

So I was down by the dam looking for some waterbirds to photograph and found a family of magpies and a rather amusing juvenile sitting on a wooden seat, so here is the story.

After watching the magpies for awhile the juvenile captured my attention as it seemed to be fascinated by the old seat. It would hope onto the seat then the back and finally back onto the ground. Then it would wander around a few times go underneath and then seem to repeat the process. Whenever its parents came by it would just play dead.

Once I got back to my studio, which is really my kitchen table in the cottage, but I wanted to sound more successful lol. This is also the only place with enough light to paint, let me explain, I live in the old explosives building with double brick walls and tiny windows surrounded by large trees. So as you can guess the light is very limited at best and on an overcast day it’s almost impossible to paint after midday.

So once I was seated at my vintage kitchen table straining my eyes on a slightly overcast day I decided it was time to begin painting.

My Painting Process

As mentioned many times before I always start at the head. The beak has so much detail even at this young age. It didn’t have all the scars, chips and cuts thats the adults have but it definitely had plenty shades of grey, no not 50 shades of grey, thats just fiction.

Anyway I think with only a few stokes of the paint with a fine brush I managed to give the magpie a nice glossy eye.

I must admit I really enjoy painting with only white and grey paint it seems to simplify the whole painting process. If I every do some art classes as part of my exhibition I’ll definitely look at painting a magpie or a black swan.

For the head I used almost a dry brush with neutral grey paint thinned with water and then the highlights with pure paint.

The neck I used white paint wash and gradually add more and more paint and less water, giving you a solid colour.

The chest was painted using the side of a chisel brush with almost dry paint, I found gave the best results. Then to highlight the feathers I would use a fine brush and dab white on the ends of each feather.

The stack of dvd’s to the left were so I could try and setup a time-lapse recording while I paint. It wasn’t very successful as I needed to be right above my artwork and not off to the side. A future problem I’ll try and solve one day.

My desk layout when I’m painting, for the last few months I’ve had two sheep watching me paint, these were made by a friend.

Since people have been asking here is a close up of the two porcelain sheep I purchased while at a business course for artists a few months ago. Barbara and Woolliam.

The wing feathers were super quick as they were only a slight white line for each feather.

Painting the feather on the juvenile magpies shoulder took a little longer creating all the little wispy down. I was trying to achieve the light fluffiness of each one.

The white feathers are a little harder because it not just a case of just adding white paint because you will get a very flat look. You still need to add shadow, true colour and highlights to each one.

At the very last minute I decided to paint the magpie standing on a rocks rather than the wooden seat.

It’s not very often that I draw something right out of my head but I thought I would try it for a change and see what was hiding up there in the empty space between my ears .

Luckily for me there were a couple of rocks with the correct dimensions for the magpie to stand on.

So my friends were right after all, I do have rocks in my head.

Finished artwork ready to hang in none reflective glass.

Gouache on Canson Paper

For my Black Label collection I use Winsor & Newton Gouache on Black Colourfix Art Spectrum Paper or Black Mi-Teintes Touch Canson Paper.

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 “Mischievous Juvenile

  1. “Whenever its parents came by it would just play dead.”

    Do you think the magpie was doing that so his parents wouldn’t think he was up to shenanigans?

    “My desk layout when I’m painting, for the last few months I’ve had two sheep watching me paint…”

    I’d love to have to sheep watching me puzzle!

    P.S. The amount of detail in your painting is remarkable, it looks like a photograph.


    • So I did a bit of looking into why magpies lay down and play dead it seems to be they sun themselves to get rid of tics and other nasties.
      I’ve updated my blog to include the two porcelain sheep that I purchased Barbara and Woolliam these keep me company.
      Thank you for the nice compliments, I try to get as much detail in my artwork as possible.

      Liked by 1 person

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