The white Snowy Egret walked slowly through the shallow, dark water of Assateague fixated on its prey, allowing me to go unnoticed. As I watched the beautiful white bird at work, I couldn’t help but notice the way it stood out against the colorful blue-violet water, providing dramatic contrast of light and dark. A broken pattern of the bird’s white reflection was created by the slight breeze over the large body of water.
The lifted leg exposing the egret’s rather large, brilliant yellow foot not only adds a splash of color but helps indicate movement and adds interest. The redness of the upper bill, in front of the eyes indicates that this is early Spring and breeding season (normally it’s a brilliant yellow like the foot). These combined elements of nature along with the serenity of the scene compelled me to paint Snowy Egret Slow Walking.
Some of the painting challenges included continually working on darkening down the water in the foreground, enough to create a nice transition to the soft, subtle background. This process started with filling in the water color surrounding the egret, which allowed me to create and keep a mid-tone water color that would allow the bird to “pop”. From there I could work in either direction (light or dark). When working on the dark water in order to not have the shadows look too severe, subtle blending had to be done to soften the edges of the ripples. With the background water, too much definition looked unreal and I found that a greater sense of depth developed with simplicity.
I hope you find pleasure in viewing my painting of this elegant Snowy Egret. Fortunately, these wonderful birds have made a comeback and can be viewed in the wild throughout a wide range of territory here in the U. S.
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