The Return of the Great White ~ Egret in flight!  

Every afternoon for many days it was almost like clockwork, a Great White Egret would fly in from over the treetops, circle the pond and descend to its favorite fishing spot. On this one particular occasion I was ready with camera in hand.  As it banked its wings for landing its right wing almost touched the water and strong backlighting highlighted every feather. My latest painting entitled Great White features this particular bird.

    Great White    by William R. Beebe, 30 x 36, Oil on canvas, $4500

Great White by William R. Beebe, 30 x 36, Oil on canvas, $4500

I was struck by the translucency in the one wing caused by the warmth of the sun, while the other wing was opaque and cooler in color from being more shaded.  In a previous blog I wrote about the challenges of painting white subjects.  I decided to take on that challenge in this painting!

I started the translucent wing with a light orange undertone, worked in some Cadmium Yellow-medium and white to lighten the whitest of the feathers and darkened the shaded feathers while still keeping them warm in color. The shaded wing is defined with shades of lavender and Cerulean blue, picking up reflected colors from the water and sky.

The water completely surrounding the bird was another reason for choosing this composition. The darker area of water is where the eye sees through the surface into the mystery of what lies below, while the colorful water represents the reflection of the sky above. The movement in the water helps create the illusion of movement in the bird as it descends slowly.  

The simplicity of having the white egret surrounded by water reflecting the afternoon blue sky, in my mind, helps capture the serenity of the large bird’s graceful return to a place it returns to time after time. 

I enjoyed painting this large (30”by 36”) bird in-flight painting very much and am looking forward to starting another one very soon.  In fact, it might even lead to a series of in-flight paintings! 

I hope you like the painting and enjoyed reading the backstory on what my inspiration was. Thank you as always for reading my journal and for following my art!  I appreciate it very much!!!


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