These beautiful wading birds capture my imagination every time I see one. I would love to pinpoint exactly why but can’t. At times, I am awed by the sheer elegance of Great Blues as they take off for flight. Other days they seem to be playing hide and seek. Strutting along the edge of a body of water, they appear arrogant and snobby. I keep chasing them around different bodies of water with my camera. As I click, click, click with the camera, these herons get a little more familiar and I think of more ways I want to paint them.
The wing span is amazing as this Great Blue flies off over Kentucky Lake. He was fishing on the shore until our boat got too close and he took off. I’d like to watch the take off in slow motion as the wings open the legs bend to push off. As he gains altitude, the legs straighten out behind and he tucks his long neck down with his head and beak in line with the legs. Its a majestic sight. I haven’t painted one in this position yet but will soon!
This guy looks decidedly grumpy. The scowl on his face is priceless. He didn’t move as I snapped photos but looked like he’d like to tell me what to do with my camera. He’s probably next up on the canvas. I can’t resist that expression!
The painting above was inspired by a Great Blue I encountered on the beach at Alligator Point in Florida. He was hanging out with a few brown pelicans, some Black Skimmers and a gang of Laughing Gulls. After a few minutes of looking out at the water as the sun was going down, he turned and arrogantly sauntered off into the sunset. His beautiful blue head and lighter blue back feathers became more vivid against the back drop of the orange sky reflecting on the sand as the setting sun slowly dropped.