I’ve always had a fascination with birds (and animals in general – if I wasn’t here at Ringling I’d be pursuing some sort of animal science, like veterinary studies or marine biology). One thing that I love about Sarasota as opposed to where I grew up in Pennsylvania, is the number of of large birds that roam around down here. Up in PA, the most we had were vultures and the occasional hawk, owl, or falcon. Down here, on the other hand, I find it difficult to go a day without seeing some sort of wading bird. In fact, the only one that I’ve seen in both PA and Florida on a normal basis are herons. Great blue herons, to be specific, can be found across a large portion of North America.
I’ve always loved herons – they’re very graceful birds. I ride my bike three miles to campus every day, and I pass a few ponds, as well as the one at my apartment complex. There’s always a variety of bird life around, and I often see white ibis, gulls, cormorants, spoonbills and herons taking up residence there – making them perfect places to stop and observe, and make some sketches.
I’m no painter, but wildlife painting has always interested me and I figured this would be a nice opportunity to get in touch with the local wildlife and try something new. So, I decided to paint a great blue heron. Here’s my painting (I apologize for the poor photo quality), as well as a photograph of a heron that I took by the gulf.
I hope that someday, when I have more time to work outside of my major, I can take both of these interests further and get some formal painting instruction, as well as possibly volunteer at wildlife sanctuaries to help troubled birds firsthand.