It was a cold, gray, wintry morning in Virginia. It was January, 10th, my birthday, and I thought an hour or so of bird watching would be a nice way to start my big day. The lighting wasn’t good, there was a mist in the air, and I figured I wouldn’t see much in the way of birds, but I knew I would enjoy the walk anyway.
My time was about up and even though I enjoyed the walk and the scenery, I was feeling a little down that I hadn’t even taken one picture of a bird. So becoming a little frustrated, I thought I’d wander over to the nearby marina just to enjoy all of the boats, the reflections, and that feeling I get being by the water.
As I was fiddling with my camera I approached the boat ramp. I happened to stop just at the right time, looked up and there was a Great Blue Heron standing in the water on the ramp. He was right in front of me, frozen still, in the hopes that I might not see him.
Many, many times when approaching a Blue Heron they will fly away in an instant upon being disturbed by the slightest noise. This time, maybe because it was my birthday and he felt sorry for me, he froze for a few minutes. More likely the case was that he was so camouflaged and blended in with the grayish tones of the water that he figured I wouldn’t see him.
What he didn’t realize is that his bright white face was catching what little light there was that day, thus rendering his natural camouflage useless. I thought his statuesque pose had a touch of Mr. Cool to it.
I also liked the overall balanced composition with the rocks and water pattern creating horizontals, and the bird, piling and reflections creating offsetting verticals. The curve of the rope in the upper right adds to the nautical feel of the scene, and indicates to the viewer that the scene is most likely at a marina or boatyard.
I have many other scenes of Great Blue Herons I want to paint, but I knew I had to paint my birthday bird. He was just what I was looking for; a classic pose, in the water, with an overall tonal background. I wanted the painting to be mostly about the bird, but also to have his surroundings interesting without being distracting.
Mother Nature has a way of providing natural camouflage to her critters. My goal was to recreate the undercover, camouflaged look of this bird while at the same time giving the bird prominence.
Thank you for reading my journal and for following my art. I have so many subjects I am anxious to paint and share with you! I feel fortunate to have a vision of where I want my art to take me. I hope you will continue to check back in on my journal or sign up for the journal’s RSS feed to follow what I’m up to. Thanks again!