Here I tried to capture the vulnerability of this juvenile great egret. They begin to leave the nest for short periods at 21 days old and at 37 days old they will already be flying 2–4 meters over bush tops. Below the nest and branches are a swamp of alligators waiting for a quick snack.
Learning to fledge… Oil on Linen 11 x 14
This is another painting from the rookery. There were so many Great White Egrets in various stages of growth. I had the good fortune to watch a couple of hatchlings on their first or second day of life. The interplay between parent and hatchling is fascinating. I love painting white feathered birds, they offer so much in the way of color and contrast to the artist.
Circle of Life. Oil on Linen 11x14
This painting was done in a timed 60 minute session. Quick studies can be a very satisfying way of painting. A time limit will loosen up your brush strokes and force you to get the essence of the subject quickly. It is also a great way to test painting ideas, composition, color and value patterns. Craig Nelson wrote a fantastic book on the subject, “60 Minutes to Better Paintings”, it’s out of print but can still be purchased at amazon.com.
This cattle egret was beautiful to watch, she had just checked her eggs, carefully adjusted the nest, fluffed herself up and lay back down for another long sitting. Soon she will be hunting and feeding for most of the day. The calm before the storm.
Calm Before the Storm. Oil on Linen 11 x 14.
I’ve become a rookery junkie. Watching Herons, Egrets, Comorants, Spoonbills and Wood Storks in various phases of nesting, a feast for the eyes! One of my best field experiences to date was at Gatorland Rookery in Orlando with National Geographic Photographer Maxis Gamez this spring. Maxis workshops are fun and informative, he is a great instructor and really knows his photography. I’m going to complete twelve paintings from the rookery. Here is the first study in this series.
Waiting... 9 x 12 Oil on Linen
I love everything about birds except for the poop, we have six Zebra Finches. We started with two but before we new it, she laid eggs. This is the first bird painting I’d like to share. I am an oil painter interested in painting like the old masters and some of the new ones too. Here I thought I would take something very small and paint it large. These are baby Zebra Finches the first day out of the nest.
Just Fledged Oil 22 x 28