Lowcountry Heron ~ feeling at home with the Spanish-moss!

I was tracking the Great Blue Heron with my camera as it flew overhead, when it turned and decided to land in a huge tree adorned with Spanish-moss. It looked so at home standing on the branch surrounded by the, oddly enough, similar shaped and colored moss. This image always stuck with me and I finally decided to capture the moment on canvas. I call the finished painting Lowcountry Heron. 

    Lowcountry Heron    by William R. Beebe, 11 x 14, Oil on canvas, $1800

Lowcountry Heron by William R. Beebe, 11 x 14, Oil on canvas, $1800

Spanish-moss is associated with the deep south, and now that we live in Charleston I’m sure it will become a more frequent subject in my paintings.  It is a flowering plant that grows in tropical and subtropical climates. Blue Herons often tend to rest in areas where they feel safe and somewhat camouflaged. So even though it was the first time I had sighted a Blue Heron surrounded by Spanish-moss, it was an obvious resting location for this beautiful bird.  

I hope this painting gives you a sense of place and solitude, which I felt while observing one of my favorite birds, the Great Blue Heron.  

As an aside, we had some fun when coming up with a title. Branch Manager, Spanish-moss division was a close second.  ☺  Out on a Limb, Spanish Heron, Blending In, and Cammo Bird were other ones that didn’t make the cut!  ☺

Thank you as always for reading my journal and for your interest in my art. Something Charleston is next on the easel! 


One of the joys of being an artist is having the freedom to follow my passion...
— William R. Beebe
 What's next?  Drawing by William R. Beebe

What's next?

Drawing by William R. Beebe

In the Shallows ~ painting with color!

As a birder, I love photographing and painting birds, especially shorebirds.  But when it comes time to pick a bird to paint, an Ibis wouldn’t be at the top of my list.  However, the bird in my latest painting, entitled In the Shallows, is none other than a juvenile White Ibis!

    In the Shallows    by William R. Beebe, 11 x14, Oil on canvas, $1800

In the Shallows by William R. Beebe, 11 x14, Oil on canvas, $1800

I chose this particular bird and scene to paint for several reasons. The juvenile Ibis has a soft, almost peach colored beak and legs instead of the strong red color of an adult. The rich colors of the bird’s surroundings compliment the bird nicely. Combined with a wonderful setting of mangrove plants and reflections, it had everything I was looking for in my next painting.  

   In the Shallows   by William R. Beebe, detail shot

In the Shallows by William R. Beebe, detail shot

The painting is oil on canvas, 11” by 14”. I worked on developing deep tones and used a colorful palette. I didn’t want to focus on every feather or paint the tiniest of detail, but instead wanted to create a painterly piece.  

Using colors mixed with as little white as possible helps keep the saturation of color needed to create a rich painting. Translucent colors like Transparent Iron Oxide Red, Olive Green, Sap Green, and Burnt Umber all help develop a little bit of depth in water or shades of color on objects.  

Colorful, bright greens are best in landscapes if they are mixtures of other colors, like say blues and yellows. Strong greens aren’t always desired in landscape paintings. In this case, the mangrove plants were very colorful, but the surrounding colors complimented them nicely. 

   In the Shallows   by William R. Beebe, water detail

In the Shallows by William R. Beebe, water detail

Many paintings call for toning down color and using it sparingly. In this case I enjoyed working with more color rather than less. I have drawers full of beautiful tubes of color and sometimes its fun to use them!  ☺

I hope you like In the Shallows which is now available. Thank you for reading my journal and for your interest in my art! It is always appreciated. 

Please check back soon to see what is on the easel!  


One of the joys of being an artist is having the freedom to follow my passion...
— William R. Beebe
 What's next?  Drawing by William R. Beebe

What's next?

Drawing by William R. Beebe

Flying High~ the Great White Egret in flight!

Egrets are often depicted along the water’s edge or perched on a branch, because they spend a lot of time feeding and resting. Since I’ve been working on a series of in-flight aviary paintings, I chose to paint an egret in flight from an unusual vantage point.

The Great White Egret has a very large wingspan of almost five feet. In my just completed painting entitled, Flying High, the wings are outstretched against a dramatic sky, as the graceful white bird soars among the clouds. It is a scene I photographed and always liked because of the strong lighting.

    Flying High    by William R. Beebe, 30 x 30, Oil on canvas, $4000

Flying High by William R. Beebe, 30 x 30, Oil on canvas, $4000

It is a 30” by 30” oil painting on canvas. It is a study in tones. With the exception of the strong blue in the sky and the egret’s orange/yellow beak, there is very little saturation of color. Light areas have subtle yellowish tones to indicate the warmth of the sun. Variations of warm and cool grays were used to develop the clouds and the bird.  

I also applied multiple layers of paint using glazing techniques in order to create a smooth transition between lights and darks. Very little canvas shows through the paint layers, which creates a nice smooth surface.  

The Great White Egret is a beautiful bird with its long S curved neck and all white feathers. It is majestic and graceful in flight and always a joy to watch, study, and paint. 

I hope you like Flying High.  Thank you for reading my journal and for your interest in my art.  I will be returning to my series of Charleston paintings next, and I’m anxious to get started.  Please check back soon to see what’s on the easel!  


One of the joys of being an artist is having the freedom to follow my passion...
— William R. Beebe
 What's next?  Drawing by William R. Beebe

What's next?

Drawing by William R. Beebe

Shore Bound ~ painting a seagull in flight!

My painting entitled Shore Bound was a scene that appealed to me because of the churning surf close to shore, which encompasses the seagull in flight and creates a lot of activity in an otherwise peaceful beach setting.  Two thirds of the painting is calming and the other third is a bit frenzied.  

This particular seagull is coming off the sea and getting set for landing on the sandy shore. I like the way the tail feathers fan out and the wings are fully extended. The yellow legs and feet are bracing for touch down.  

    Shore Bound    by William R. Beebe, 22 x 28, Oil on Canvas, $3800

Shore Bound by William R. Beebe, 22 x 28, Oil on Canvas, $3800

The gull is highlighted from the sun above, with most of the body and wings in shadow. Between the delicate feathers and the motion of flight, much of the detail is lost but the face is in focus and the eye intense.

   Shore Bound   by William R. Beebe, detail shot

Shore Bound by William R. Beebe, detail shot

The upper and lower thirds of the painting were painted with a brush, while the middle third was created with a combination of brushwork and a palette knife. The palette knife is a great way to apply clean thick paint creating texture and movement, which helps give the surf some added life.  

   Shore Bound   by William R. Beebe, water detail

Shore Bound by William R. Beebe, water detail

Gulls always provide me with good birding activity at the beach. For one thing, they are almost always there. They are often scavenging for something to eat. Quite often they can be seen in a frenzy over breadcrumbs being thrown by young children.  When resting on shore their reflections in the wet sand provide beautiful compositions, and when flying low over the water they mesmerize.  

Shore Bound is yet another in my series of in-flight paintings. I hope you are enjoying the series. I find that photographing and painting birds in flight provides a welcomed challenge and I enjoy trying to capture them while in motion.  

I’m in the process of choosing my next in-flight composition and then I’ll most likely be undertaking another scene of downtown Charleston.  Thank you for reading my journal and for your continued interest in my art!


One of the joys of being an artist is having the freedom to follow my passion...
— William R. Beebe
 What's next?  Drawing by William R. Beebe

What's next?

Drawing by William R. Beebe