Mission Statement

This blog journals my quest of art, whether it is a piece of work that is inherent in nature or one created by artists known or unknown or that I created myself. During this search, I have come to appreciate the magnificence and generosity of God who in his infinite wisdom surrounded us with exquisiteness everyday...everywhere and inspired our human spirit to create beauty that feeds our bodies and souls. Come join me on my journey to find art through my travels and my own creative endeavors. Maraming salamat.

All rights to all posts and contents on this blog, including photos and artwork are reserved by jojo sabalvaro tan.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Great Blue Heron

The Great Blue Heron - St. John River, Florida. 2012
by jojo sabalvaro tan
Watercolor on 140# watercolor paper

During our latest vacation in Florida, I was fascinated by the Great Blue Herons we spotted along the rivers, lakes, swamps and marshes. On this trip, we decided to not do the normal theme park activities and instead enjoy the beaches and the water. Coming from the very cold Chicago weather, it seemed logical to take advantage of Florida offerings that are unavailable to us during wintertime at home.

One of the most fun activities we did this time was to take an airboat ride along the St. John River, the longest river in Florida and one of its most important. Here we spotted alligators in their natural habitat and numerous birds. One of these birds was the great blue heron. There was one in particular that was perched on a branch of a tree at the bend of the river. I decided  that I would paint this bird as a souvenir of this experience. The actual bird appeared more indigo than a true blue. For my first attempt, I tried to use a different surface called Yupo which is a synthetic paper. I found that my colors stayed on top of the paper and it did not lend exactly to my painting technique. I decided to go back to my tried and true 140# watercolor paper. I do vow to capture the secret of painting on Yupo as it seems an ideal way to just put down colors and mix them right on the surface.

The unfinished painting on Yupo.
 I really like the effect of less control but I still have to work on my technique.
For brushes, I used #8 Round squirrel and a 1/2" in Flat Kolinsky Sable. I also used a bamboo pen scraper to define some of the feathers.

According to Wikipedia, The Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) is a large wading bird in the heron family Ardeidae, common near the shores of open water and in wetlands over most of North and Central America as well as the West Indies and the Galápagos Islands.

It is the largest North American heron, with a head-to-tail length of 91–140 cm (36–55 in), a wingspan of 167–201 cm (66–79 in), a height of 115–138 cm (45–54 in) and a weight of 2–3.6 kg (4.4–8 lbs).[4] Notable features include slaty flight feathers, red-brown thighs, and a paired red-brown and black stripe up the flanks; the neck is rusty-gray, with black and white streaking down the front; the head is paler, with a nearly white face, and a pair of black plumes running from just above the eye to the back of the head. The feathers on the lower neck are long and plume-like; it also has plumes on the lower back at the start of the breeding season. The bill is dull yellowish, becoming orange briefly at the start of the breeding season, and the lower legs gray, also becoming orangey at the start of the breeding season.