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