Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel

My road trip has gotten a little off track I must admit, and over the past week I was keeping an eye on Glenella guesthouse while the owners had 3 days off.

This was due to the impact of all the surrounding bushfires in the Blue Mountains and only a few guests were booked in.

This however gave me a chance to get into some painting while it was nice and quiet, albeit raging bush fires 15km away. More on this in a future blog.

So I was enjoying painting in Gouache but I couldn’t get the detail I was after so I went to the local art shop and asked for some new brushes for detailed work.

I was then told I need professional brushes and they were unlocked from under the counter. I felt like I was buying a diamond ring when they were presented before me to admire.

Top two brushes were normal price brushes and the bottom two came at a price tag of $16 each which was not as bad as I was expecting. 5/0 and 3/0 Raphaël Kolincky France brushes.

New Brushes

So armed with some new brushes, I thought some detail work was in order, another squirrel since my other one was going to Germany.

Back in August 2015 I traveled to Canada with my sister for 3 weeks. We had just hiked to the top of a hill and were looking back down to Lake Louise at the Fairmont resort where we were staying for a few nights.


This squirrel runs up my sister while she was eating a nut bar and started looking all cute.

Then lightening fast it runs up her leg, she freaked out and drops some of the nut bar and the squirrel runs back down her leg and picks up the food.

So the pencil drawing is of a golden mantled ground squirrel eating a tiny bit of my sister nut bar in Canada.

Pencil outline

This was a new challenge for me trying to paint lichen on a rock and make it look realistic.

Rock undercoat

I started to paint in the order things would grow, starting with the rock base. I then painted the black I could see under the lichen and then the yellow lichen its self. Lastly adding shadows from the squirrel and this took around 5hrs

Rock and lichen

Next I moved onto the squirrel undercoat with some basic colours or black, yellow and burnt umber.


I had a few things on that day so this painting took me two days to complete, I guess the super detailed I’m trying to create means a lot more brush strokes to get the fine hairs.

This painting has a lot of detail compared to my other squirrel and I’m liking the lack of background as the subject stands out a lot more.

I also like the story behind how the squirrel got its nuts. I think this kind of background story and location adds to the painting, its not just a squirrel eating.

Thats why I like painting my own photographs I know where everything is taken and what the weather was like, sometimes I remember smells. Other times I remember how I was feeling on that particular day or what the squirrel did next.

To me its not just a painting it’s a whole story of events leading up to this one snapshot of time.

Cascade Golden mantled ground squirrel

Have you had any animals steel food off you?


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