24" x 28"
We are fortunate to have bird enthusiasts among the collectors of our art. One couple, who already own paintings of a great blue heron and a pelican, recently asked for another bird. They sent us snapshots of a couple of birds, one of which was the yellow-crowned night heron. Kiry got excited about the night heron because of its dramatic markings and glowing eyes.
We consulted the photographs we had taken of yellow-crowned night herons in their natural habitat. We found some good photos in our collection, but we needed more. We consulted Richard’s cousin, Paul Mayer, an experienced birder, and leader of birding expeditions. Paul’s pictures supplied the missing material we needed.
We had a lively discussion over the composition. We agreed that motion would bring the painting to life. So, we planned a composition that would show the bird wading out of the reeds. The bird’s motion causes ripples to form on the glassy water. Soon our bird will freeze and stand eerily still, just waiting for a crustacean or insect to come within striking range. Fortunately for us, the yellow-crowned night heron, unlike other night herons, forage in the daytime as well as the night. To make an action painting of most night herons, we would need to paint the bird in the dark.
We also agreed that the sun’s glare, toward the top of the painting, would give the viewer a sense of distance. And the dark shadows on the upturned leaves of the pond lilies create a circle of dark patches that echo those on the heron’s head.