We don't always see Great Blue Herons down at our local lake but always look out for them as they are often close to the path that runs around the edge of the water. This allows a quite close approach and as they are usually used to seeing people walking by, I can be sure to get some excellent references as they go about their lives. This bird had taken a pause from fishing and was beautifully back-lit by the early morning sun. After a quick sketch, I began this slightly larger watercolor when we got back home. I used gouache for this study since I had the paints out on my desk but kept the washes thin so as to build up the correct tones. Being slightly more opaque than my usual watercolors, I found the color built up rather quickly so it didn't take long to finish. Size is 12 x 9 inches (30 x 23 cm).