Night Vision ~ alone in the night!

Many a night while driving by wetlands I spot Great Blue Herons standing alone in the dark. Like a detective in a trench coat with his fedora hat tilted downward at the end of a dark alley waiting for his suspect to make a move, the Great Blue Heron thinks he goes unnoticed.

Most of the time Great Blue Herons are somewhat camouflaged, blending into the branches of trees or the brownish gray winter grasses and reeds. In the dark they are hard to spot, unless of course there is a full moon out and the moonbeams hit that bright white face!

In my painting entitled Night Vision, I present a Great Blue Heron being hit by the light of the moon. The heron is surrounded by darkness but he can see as if it’s daylight. He is a predator, keenly aware of any movement around him.

Night Vision    by William R. Beebe, 24 x 36, Oil on canvas, $7200

Night Vision by William R. Beebe, 24 x 36, Oil on canvas, $7200

Time goes by slowly as he has no other place to go. An occasional snooze on one leg helps him rest up after a long day of fishing. He turns and preens his feathers keeping himself both clean and busy.

I wanted this to be a dramatic piece, with the heron’s white face standing out against the dark background. The head is turned as if he realizes that he’s been spotted. His feathers are flared out piercing the night air.

Night Vision   by William R. Beebe, head detail

Night Vision by William R. Beebe, head detail

His yellow eye should captivate the viewer and make one wonder what the large bird is thinking. He is not afraid of being alone in the dark. After all, this is his territory. He intimidates other birds with his size and eats almost anything that moves.

Does the darkness cast him in a different light? I think so. It makes him more mysterious. It makes one wonder what his life is like? Will he stay there all night and continue to sleep on one leg? Will he move to the woods and sleep in a tree to be more camouflaged? Or, will he be active all night and fish with his night vision?

Great Blue Herons continue to fascinate me. I see them almost every day. Just yesterday heavy fog rolled in off the water in Isle of Palms and a Great Blue Heron’s silhouette crossed the sky as if it had radar. The other night two Great Blue Heron’s flew in tandem across the sky as the sun was setting. One let out a call and peeled away like a Blue Angel leaving its formation.

I have another GBH portrait drawn out on canvas, which I look forward to working on sometime soon. His feathers are raised and he has a strong profile!

I hope you like Night Vision! Thank you for reading my journal and for being interested in my art. I sincerely appreciate it!

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