|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.