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Making of the Floral Affair Oil Painting

Variegated fairy wren painting shown in home like situation
"Exclusive Groomer" shown in a home setting

Being a keen photographer, I love going to places and collecting my own references for my art. I spend a lot of time in Australian bushland waiting for those perfect moments that help me complete the story that I am trying to create on my canvas. This blog is about the making of my original oil painting “Exclusive Groomer”. I am sure it will help you connect with my painting more deeply.

Collecting references

It was an Australian winter of 2021, and the rumour was out that some bird watchers had spotted a white winged fairy wren down at Oakey, Queensland
image of the Oakey town in Queensland Australia
Just another day in Oakey, Queensland, Australia

Preparing the background

scaly breasted lorikeets photograph I clicked and used for my painting reference
Bit of research about birding hotspots and other bird species in the area and I was on my way there with my camera. Excited I arrived at Oakey and pulled over at my first location. After spending almost two hours walking around in pure disappointment, I decided it was time for me to move on to my next location. I was walking back to the car when I heard some movement in the trees. On closer look I spotted these scaly breasted lorikeets sharing love, looking after each other, going on about their daily chores. I carefully moved closer to them capturing amazing poses at a time making sure I wasn’t disturbing their daily routine. Fun fact of that day… scaly breasted lorikeets were not even on the list of birds I was chasing that day in that area. So, while I usually create my composition first and then chase the references, this was the other way round.

Creating the composition

I usually spend a considerable amount of time composing my subjects to make up a story. However, on this occasion, I had been very lucky and my models had been really kind enough to give me a beautiful story along with a great composition. While I was happy with the composition, the background of the photo reference I had clicked was very busy. I love to keep my main subject in focus so I decided to get rid of most of the leaf clutter and replaced it with a beautiful bokeh background showing lake in front of the mountain. Doing so helped me give birds the attention they needed and created beautiful depth in the painting.

Painting process

I did reduce leaf clutter substantially, but I still had to deal with plenty of leaves between the foreground and the background as the setting was on the gum tree branch. Leaves also needed to go out of focus with the increasing distance from the foreground. Having so many leaves to paint between the background and the foreground at different focal points, I decided that it will be impossible to blend the background nicely if I tried to paint leaves and background at the same time. So, I painted the background first and waited for it to dry completely prior to starting painting leaves.
variegated fairy wren original painting work in progress
'Exclusive Groomer' work in progress
I gradually progressed starting with the most out of focus leaves first and then layering the leaves in focus on top of them. Once that had dried out, it was time for me to bring branches and birds to life. I always paint my subjects in focus with numerous layers of oil colours. This helps me achieve lifelike three dimensional appearance as light subtly bounces off all under layers. Last layers of final deep shadows and highlights add good contrast to the painting, which is what really brought my birds to life.
variegated fairy wren original painting work in progress
"Exclusive Groomer" working on bird details

Materials I used for this painting

I decided to do this painting on a 16 inch x 12 inch size surface which seemed like the best size for small sized scaly breasted lorikeet. I normally paint my subjects on linen or polycotton canvases, however, this is the only size that I have done all my paintings on Ampersand Museum grade Gessobord. It’s a very smoothly primed surface board with 1.5 inch cradle to support it. Its smooth surface allows for finer details to be rendered beautifully, especially useful for my style of art.

Exclusive Groomer original painting finished
"Exclusive Groomer" finished painting
I make sure that all art material I use is of top notch quality to ensure that my paintings will live for centuries to come with minimum fading, cracking etc. Selection of colours for this painting included oil paints made by some of the most well-known and reliable brands in the industry, namely Williamsburg, Old Holland, Michael Harding and Langridge.
exclusive groomer original painting shown in home setting

Finishing off the details

This is always my favorite part. This is where I can see my painting come to life. While floral affair is a smaller oil painting, it did take me a while to complete the details. All the leaves, fine dew droplets on the flower and the bird feathers consumed a lot of time. But I think it was well worth it. You can see the result; I absolutely love it!

What’s available

Exclusive Groomer original painting shown in it's original framing

Please click on the image above to see the availability of the original painting and other items made from this painting.

Original painting is beautifully framed in satin finish Megawood black colour frame. It was professionally framed by Kenmore Gallery, my local art gallery / framer.

This painting is also currently available as open edition paper print.

Want a custom made painting?

If you would like a similar wildlife or nature painting in a different size, colours etc, please feel free to use the below link to contact me. I would love to hear from you.


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