Camino Friend

The Story Behind the Painting

In 2018 I walked 900km from France across the Pyrenees through Spain along the Camino de Santiago, Frances way. Walking the Camino has been one of the highlights of my life, after losing my farther a few weeks before I carried some of his ashes with me to the coastal town of Muxia. This is where I parted with his ashes and now he can go fishing every day which I know he would love been an avid fisherman.

I met some amazing people along the way and we shared some incredible stories, while walking through some stunning scenery. Each night over a glass of wine, more stories and jokes were told with plenty of laughter and smiles. As each day progresses the kilometres grew, my skin became more tanned and the camino family grew. The bonds became stronger, emails and social media accounts were exchanged and your worries melted away.

My photograph of Gabe was taken a few minutes later than the photo below. If you can imagine him walking down the hill and standing about the middle of this photo, just before the plowed field to the right you will be in the right spot.

‎⁨Castrillo de Cabezón⁩

I have always wanted to paint the photograph I took of my friend Gabe because it just has a stunning backdrop and one of my favourite parts of the camino. Gabe had recently purchased one of my limited edition Camino prints and a second order of greeting cards I was about to package up and send over to the USA in the morning.

This got me thinking, could I surprise him by doing a speed painting in a single day and post it off with his greeting cards a day later.

I learned today this same Image I was about to paint has been on his university website for the past 3 years as the preferred Image out of a selection he submitted.

My Painting Process

Outlines drawn up around 9pm then I started painting the sky just before bed. I left my desk setup ready to paint first thing in the morning.

The sky was painted with a light wash of blue gouache and the clouds were created by removing the gouache with a paper towel. I also use some white to create more volume to the clouds.

7:35am Photographed artwork in better light and started painting the following image.


Next I started working on all the fields in the distance trying to show the patchwork of colour each crop creates.

One third of the painting finished progress looking good Time 8:28am.


I started on the undercoat for the grass verge ready for the detail of more grass and wild flowers later.

Time to work on Gabe and get all his backpacks, poles and accessories painted. This is the beauty of working from an iPad you can see all the details by zooming in.

Time 9:27am.


Close up showing the fine details and the struggle I have trying to paint an accurate face this small, one dot of paint trying to represent a nose or a smile. Time 9:28am.


Now a second under coat trying to get all the shadows in the grass verge on the right hand side. Where on the left hand side I have added more detail with grass stalks and more crops in the fields.

Time 10:35 This almost looks finished but the next detail stage takes ages.


I stop for lunch and have a little walk outside to adjust my eyes from working so close and also to warm up in the sun. It’s winter in Australia and I don’t have the wood stove fire going so the temperature is only 15 deg inside the cottage. Two jumpers laster I’m feeling somewhat comfortable.

I place a few sheets of paper on my artwork to mask out everything apart from the road. Then I load up my stippling brush with paint and start flicking paint to create gravel and stones along the path. I do this a few times with different colours.

Now time to add all the grass and wild flowers, people ask how do I get such detail ?

Simple thousands of strokes of paint with a rigger brush, this is why the next stage takes a few hrs to paint a few inches of paper. It’s all about time spent on layers of paint, I also re visit the path and the fields.

I also add a little arrow of stones that some people place along the way, not actually in this photo but its a representation of the journey along the way.

Time 4:06pm.


I pack all my artwork up and run over to open the Possum Parks gift shop for an hr then have a chat around the campfire with some of the guests staying at the caravan park.

The I scan the finished artwork as you can see there is quite a difference from the iPhone photos to the final scanned image. The scanned image is closer to the original colour but a little light on the blacks.

Super happy with this painting of Gabe on the Camino in 2018 location, ‎⁨Castrillo de Cabezón⁩.

Time 5:58pm amazing what you can achieve with a deadline and a bar of chocolate.

I hope you enjoy my camino paintings as much as my Australian animals and landscapes. The camino is still such a big part of my life and when people visit my gallery and see the camino paintings they ask about it.

Apparently most people know someone that has walked or going to walk the camino or wish they had.

Life’s short, don’t live with regrets go complete your to do list. The camino is one of my biggest achievements and best things I have done in my life and I think I might just do it again.


Gouache on Watercolour Paper

I use Winsor & Newton Gouache on Arches France Watercolour Paper, 300g Hot 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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