Sunday, May 12, 2024

GREEN HERON

 


I had been hoping to get some better reference of a Green Heron as usually they are a little shy and don't allow a close approach. The few times I have been found one nearby, I had been without sketchbook or camera. Fortunately this time was different. I first noticed the bird when it gave its characteristic call in flight just a little way away then it turned and landed out in the open. I slowly walked directly towards the bird stopping every few meters or so while doing a quick sketch etc. Then when I could see the bird wasn't worried about my presence, I slowly moved a little closer.




Amazingly I got to within 2 meters or so and still not much reaction from the bird. I marveled at the plumage in the bright sun especially the almost iridescent green on its back. Still sketching, the bird stretched its neck upwards and appeared to be peering towards the sky - I think there could have been a raptor above but I didn't want to take my eyes off it. Then after a min or so, it shuffled out its plumage and gave a quick shake settling all its feathers back in place again. I think it couldn't quite make out what I was as it then started to display erecting its neck and head feathers.




Then it turned and slowly walked away while keeping its neck stretched upwards. Unfortunately a loud sound nearby frightened it and the heron took flight circling the marsh once before flying off. It was an amazing experience to be so close to a wild bird like this. I did these paintings in my sketch book mostly from my drawings and added watercolor trying to capture its somewhat complicated plumage. They say that all good things come to those who wait, well that was certainly true in this case! Sketchbook size was 12 x 9 inches.

Saturday, May 4, 2024

MARSH MORNING

 



This is my favorite time of the day! Early morning and the promise of a new day. Here I am in the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in NJ. The reserve was only a few minutes drive from where I was staying and this scene is looking north along the treeline. To my right are acres of open marsh and I had just missed a very close encounter with a harrier when I saw this but plenty of osprey's along the way made up for it. Since all places are different and each have their own special character, I keep these early paintings small when I work as a way of easing myself into the newness. Once I gain a bit of confidence, I can then start to work larger. This one though is another 8 x 10 inch oil on board.

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

MORNING SHADOWS

 



A few weeks ago, I travelled to the eastern shore of New Jersey and stayed in a quiet condo. My main reason was to explore the area and catch up on some of the early bird migration as well as doing some painting when I could. Going for a walk the next morning, I found a well-wooded place nearby where I saw this scene so did a quick painting of it. There was a hint of moisture in the air which I tried to show by keeping the background a little soft then worked on the shadowy trees and the foreground grass. It was the effect of light and shadow that initially attracted me to this little scene and I enjoyed working on this piece. 8 x 10 inches, oil on board.

Thursday, April 25, 2024

WINTER MARSH

 



I painted this painting 'en plein air' working from a vantage point overlooking an inlet into the marsh. It was cold and windy so I didn't spend too long out there! At first, I wasn't that happy with the painting when I got it home but after some time, I realized I did capture something of the character of the place and now I like it a little more. Over the past few months I have been working on smaller oil studies. Towards what, I'm not really sure but I do feel that it is there somewhere in front of me and if I do enough of these paintings, I'll hopefully discover what it is I am searching for. If not, I'll go back to working on other sizes - probably large sky paintings. This one is another 8 x 10 inches, oil on board.

Friday, April 19, 2024

ADVENTURE BAY

 


This view on Bruny Island off the coast of Tasmania looking along the beach was one that took me to a very special place. We spent time exploring and after making a few sketches, we drove down to the end of Adventure Bay and walked the trail to Penguin Island - what an incredible experience! In reflection, I'm surprised I haven't done a lot more paintings of this area - I'm sure I'll get to them in due course though. Frankly, there are so many images in my head that I want to translate into paintings that I'll probably never get to do them all. Oil on board, 8 x 10 inches.

Monday, April 15, 2024

PHILLIP ISLAND SURF

 



When we arrived on Phillip Island, the wet and windy weather moderated slightly. The sun broke briefly through the scudding clouds and we were met with a double rainbow as showers drifted off away across the sea. The wind was certainly bracing and the surf was some of the biggest I have seen! Huge surging waves full of spray and spume rolled in and one could clearly see the incredible power behind each one. Many gulls were offshore and amongst them I could see a few albatross along with smaller petrels etc. The visit was to be a very short one and soon we were off again - this time to see Koala Bears! This painting is an oil on gessoed board, 8 x 10 inches.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

BY THE ROADSIDE II

 


This study was an attempt to do a better job of my first painting of the scene. I am going back quite a few years ago now to when I made a painting trip to Canada. After a long walk, I saw this scene looking across some fields and kept the sky simple in this one as it was one of those rare days when there wasn't a cloud in the sky. I also tried harder with the greens mixing them myself instead of using one out of the tube. I think it captures the day better than the earlier version and I find myself doing many smaller studies often as an experiment but also the fact that I am simply painting my experiences. Another 8 x 10, oil on board.