Sunlit Pelican Basking in the Glow ~ Going ashore for a little R & R!

Sunlit Pelican Basking in the Glow, 14 x 16, oil on board, by William R. Beebe

Sunlit Pelican Basking in the Glow, 14 x 16, oil on board, by William R. Beebe

This Brown Pelican is having some down time after some time at sea; flying with his squadron of fellow pelicans, dive-bombing from high above for fish, and riding the air currents just above the waves to the next hot fishing location.  It can all be exhausting for a juvenile bird such as this!

I decided to paint him taking a little breather on the beach, just after coming out of the water and before he decided to lie down and rest in the sand.  He was a magnificent bird.  The morning sun was hitting him head-on, lighting up his long, already weathered beak and putting a twinkle in his eye.   

His brownish-gray feathers were fused with sunshine, giving him a golden glow.  Water dripping from the pelican’s webbed foot hints of wetness along the sandy shore.  The bird is out of the turbulent water and close to the dry stretch of beach he seeks.  

I had fun being spontaneous with the paint, employing some Impressionist techniques, and being ever mindful not to overwork it.  As I mentioned in my last blog entitled Spreading My Wings, I worked the yellow base coat of paint into the white water of the surf.  This created a warm tone that I carried throughout the painting to give it an overall feeling of being sun-drenched.  I focused in on the bird with more refined detailed brushwork, and concentrated on creating strong lighting.  

As I sit around and watch the paint dry, I’m finding that this painting makes me happy.  It takes me back to that special moment of witnessing a Brown Pelican up so close on the beach that sunny day in Duck.  It was one of those life moments that helped me find direction with my art and solidify my growing interest in painting birdlife.  

Thank you as always for following what I’m up to with my art and where I’m going.  I just started working on a close-up of an Osprey perched on the edge of its nest.  The twigs are all interwoven and entangled, the Osprey is screaming for food and its feathers are ruffled.  So it may take a little while before I finish, but I’ll keep you posted!


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