"Night Traveler".......Blue Heron in Flight

"Night Traveler".......Blue Heron in Flight

This painting has been drawn up for a couple of months and I just haven't had the time to get started on it until today.  This will be the fourth one in my "Golden Moon Series".  I usually start out my painting process by deciding on my colors that I am going to use.  Because this is a great blue heron....he is going to be gray toned but I really don't want to just use gray.  So while I am going to allow myself to use Payne's Gray I will be infusing it with other colors that I am seeing in the image.  I have several different tubes of Paynes Gray and each one has a different color tone....some more blue in color and some more neutral gray.

I tend to be a huge fan of Daniel Smith Watercolors...their purity in pigment is unsurpassable. Lunar Black is a wonderful color of theirs due to its properties in granulating.   

I tend to be a huge fan of Daniel Smith Watercolors...their purity in pigment is unsurpassable. Lunar Black is a wonderful color of theirs due to its properties in granulating.   

These are my usual brushes that I use for painting.....½" Cats Tongue, #6 or 8 Kolinsky Sable. a 3/8 wedge by Robert Simmons and a #8 or 10 synthetic round by  Robert Simmons.  Students always ask me whats the difference between a natural hair vs a synthetic fiber.....A natural hair brush will hold more water and paint thus allowing you less going back and forth to your pallet. I like to use the synthetic brush for my lifting and techniques.  

These are my usual brushes that I use for painting.....½" Cats Tongue, #6 or 8 Kolinsky Sable. a 3/8 wedge by Robert Simmons and a #8 or 10 synthetic round by  Robert Simmons.  Students always ask me whats the difference between a natural hair vs a synthetic fiber.....A natural hair brush will hold more water and paint thus allowing you less going back and forth to your pallet. I like to use the synthetic brush for my lifting and techniques.  

Great Blue Heron Image that I am working from.  i spend a lot of time studying my photo for my color selections.  I try to infuse as many colors as I can when painting.  I think it helps to the drama and excitement of the painting.  

Great Blue Heron Image that I am working from.  i spend a lot of time studying my photo for my color selections.  I try to infuse as many colors as I can when painting.  I think it helps to the drama and excitement of the painting.  

I am working on Arches 300lb cold press paper.  Here I have laid in my first few washes.  I tend to pre-wet my paper and drop my colors in while the paper is still glistening.  

I am working on Arches 300lb cold press paper.  Here I have laid in my first few washes.  I tend to pre-wet my paper and drop my colors in while the paper is still glistening.  

A Close up detail of the herons face.  Birds are like people...they each have a different personality in their faces so I try to reflect that in each of my paintings. I have used Daniel Smith Quin. Gold for the herons eyes and on his beak.  I have also dropped in some Quin Sienna and a little bit of Quin. Rose.  

A Close up detail of the herons face.  Birds are like people...they each have a different personality in their faces so I try to reflect that in each of my paintings. I have used Daniel Smith Quin. Gold for the herons eyes and on his beak.  I have also dropped in some Quin Sienna and a little bit of Quin. Rose.  

I continue to build up my grays.  When I am painting these images I have to keep in mind that my background will be black so I am constantly thinking about where I am placing my darks.  On the head of the heron I wasn't too worried about this because I will have the golden moon in the area behind his head.  

I continue to build up my grays.  When I am painting these images I have to keep in mind that my background will be black so I am constantly thinking about where I am placing my darks.  On the head of the heron I wasn't too worried about this because I will have the golden moon in the area behind his head.  

Close up of the wing detail.  I have been dropping in some American Journey "Taylors Flamingo Pink along with Cerulean Blue to enhance my gray colors.  

Close up of the wing detail.  I have been dropping in some American Journey "Taylors Flamingo Pink along with Cerulean Blue to enhance my gray colors.  

Around the eye area going into the beak I have used the Lunar Black by Daniel Smith.....you can see how it does some wonderful granulation.  

Around the eye area going into the beak I have used the Lunar Black by Daniel Smith.....you can see how it does some wonderful granulation.

 

Here I'm spending more time deepening the values in the wings.  You can see the beautiful granulation that is beginning to happen with the colors.  

Here I'm spending more time deepening the values in the wings.  You can see the beautiful granulation that is beginning to happen with the colors.  

OK...a good time to share some issues that come up from time to time.....I am coming back in with too much water and it is pushing the pigments to the edge of the paper.  Where the paper is dry reacts like a sponge and it will pull the pigments of the paint to the edges causing an outline look.  In some cases I will leave this but there are times when you really don't want this outline look on your painting. 

OK...a good time to share some issues that come up from time to time.....I am coming back in with too much water and it is pushing the pigments to the edge of the paper.  Where the paper is dry reacts like a sponge and it will pull the pigments of the paint to the edges causing an outline look.  In some cases I will leave this but there are times when you really don't want this outline look on your painting. 

When using 300lb paper you really have to let the paper dry before going back into your work.  The paper may feel dry to the touch but if the paper is still cool to the touch then it is still wet.  Leave it alone and let it really dry before going back in with another glaze.  If you go in when the paper is still damp it will lift your pigments and cause the area to become muddy looking.

When using 300lb paper you really have to let the paper dry before going back into your work.  The paper may feel dry to the touch but if the paper is still cool to the touch then it is still wet.  Leave it alone and let it really dry before going back in with another glaze.  If you go in when the paper is still damp it will lift your pigments and cause the area to become muddy looking.

Stay tuned for further progress............