Great Blue Heron: Acrylic study

Day four of the six-day art challenge with the theme “blue,” which I narrowed down to “blue-feathered birds,” was a difficult one for me. Not because of the subject nor the medium – I had picked out a great blue heron to do and had my acrylic paints in the perfect colors already – but my back decided to act up in a most uncomfortable way.

A good sketch to start painting

I was actually quite excited and enthusiastic about this painting in the early stages. First, the sketch went smoothly. The paint went on evenly for the sky, then I started painting the sea with three or four shades of blue to give the appearance of waves rolling in from the horizon. I painted the handrail after that, and was even more pleased with how well it resembled weathered wood.

Great Blue Heron, acrylic sketch n 11 x 14 inch primed paper
Great Blue Heron, 11 x 14 inch acrylic on paper study, prints only

Painting the great blue heron

Painting the heron proved to be not QUITE as easy as I anticipated. I mixed shades of the blue-gray, dabbled a bit of brown in some for the neck, and still was not satisfied as my back began to really hurt. I didn’t want to drop out again, since I had dropped out of the “green” challenge a couple weeks ago when my second piece needed more work than I had done in one day. Then, I had the idea to lighten the sky and see if that made the colors and shades on the heron work.

An easy solution – repaint the sky

It did! I felt like I dodged a bullet there. I started to do a little more on the heron, then noticed the white of the paper showing around the bird’s feet. Ugh – I hadn’t painted close enough on the wooden railing. At this point, I said , “Good enough!” and scanned it for the challenge then went to lay down for two hours.

As I was laying down, I decided I would NOT finish this piece. Instead, I will be doing it again, in oil paint on a traditional stretched canvas. Since the stretched canvases don’t scan as well as flat canvases, panels, and paper do, there will be no prints of the painting to come, nor any of the fun little accessories with the painting printed on them. So, the oil original will truly be an original, and the only prints will be of this acrylic study on paper, available through my Pixels store. (After some thought, I am now offering up the original acrylic sketch to purchase through Daily PaintWorks.)

I’ll try to post the fifth in the blue-feathered bird series tomorrow, depending on weather – satellite internet gets fussy during thunderstorms.

2 thoughts on “Great Blue Heron: Acrylic study

  1. I love this bird. I also painted one from a photo I took at the fishing pond we go to often. I got within 5 or 6 feet of it and it was fully stretched standing over 4 feet tall. I captured the reflection as well and then stepped away slowly. I painted it later and liked the results. Thanks for sharing – love the colours!

    1. I.V., thank you for the kind words! I took a look at yours as well, and like it. I did not get to see the bird I painted in person – I used a lovely photograph.

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