Sanderling Strut ~ Light and movement add energy!

Sanderling Strut by William R. Beebe, 12 x 18, Oil on Board, $2400

Sanderling Strut by William R. Beebe, 12 x 18, Oil on Board, $2400

Wet sand, a blue sky, and a bright afternoon sun, all helped create very strong reflections of the little, white Sanderlings as they chased the surf.  

I chose to paint the Sanderlings in a realistic but simple style.  I decided to go with the flow and carry the style over into the water and throughout the painting.  

Sanderling Strut (detail shot) by William R. Beebe

Sanderling Strut (detail shot) by William R. Beebe

Streaks of color indicate movement and reflected light.  I kept the painting smooth to help create a glassy surface, but some layering of color was done, using a palette knife, to develop the reflections.  

Sanderling Strut (detail shot) by William R. Beebe

Sanderling Strut (detail shot) by William R. Beebe

The birds are in focus and depicted strutting their stuff, while the fractured reflections help capture the energy of the scene.  

Having a darker background helps make the sunlit birds pop.  Their dark shadows and white reflections also add contrast to the composition.  

Besides the light, the movement and the colors, the formation of the Sanderlings appealed to me.  The lone one on the right is contemplating a different path, ready to veer off back to the water.  Is he the leader?  Will the others follow?  Or will he realize he’s alone and rejoin the others?  

I’m enjoying painting shorebirds for my upcoming inaugural exhibit in Duck, NC, at the Greenleaf Gallery in June.  I’m currently working on a painting of a pair of Gulls, which will round out my body of work for the show.  

Thank you for your interest in my art and for following my blog.  I continue to photograph birdlife, constantly in search of new painting material.  I’ve set up albums of photographs of a variety of birds on my Facebook Page.  Some photos will become paintings, others I shared because I found them artsy or amusing.

Please check back soon to see the unveiling of my Seagull painting!  It won’t be long. 


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