Friday, April 16, 2010

Spencerville Heron (oil on canvas 5 x 7 in.)

14 April finds me in Spencerville in the late afternoon of a pleasant sunny day, so I clambered down on my favorite side of the bridge, downstream from the Mill and the weir.  We waded to catch Mudpuppies here in the summer of 1996.

Today a Great Blue Heron is fishing, beside a rock quite far downstream.  It stretches its neck very straight and tall,and points its beak inone direction for a few minutes, and then in the other, holding the beak horizontal and casting a sharp eye into the water.  Suddenly in one motion it turns, crouches, and strikes.  When it stands again the small prey is already swallowed.  I watch it for several minutes, magnified through the camera which I steady on my painting stool, and then it spread grey blanket-like wings and lifts up, circling once before heading farther downstream.

My concentration is released from the Heron and now I hear Robins laughing and Redwings singing "burgalee". The breeze has freshened, but it is still soft and warm.  Tufts of grass are bursting in vivid green explosions from the flooded bank, and the tiny green leaves of the maples still let most of the sky thruogh. The trees along the banks are tilted and rearranged by the river and the more I looked at them, the more fantastic and mysterious seemed the scene - so I decided to paint it.

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What do you think of this painting, and what do you know about the subject that I have painted?