Recently on a clear sunny day I went to the creek near our home to paint rocks and water. When I climbed the ledge to the place where I planned to set up I saw a large blue heron standing still, looking down at fish trapped in a small pool of water, one that was created from the streambed drying up.
The heron saw me and took off, flying low over the creek, but it stopped further up, not too far away and stood on rocks. I moved as quietly as I could to a large flat stone, sat down and took out my paints, palette, brushes and small sheets of watercolor paper. Keeping my eyes on the heron I sent it a silent message that I admired it and was only there to paint. Slowly, I put water from the stream in a plastic container and began to make a quick wash drawing of the heron before it flew off.
Surprisingly it stayed around, changing its position occasionally, but not too often, as obliging as any professional model could be. It was lovely there with the sun on my back, in communion with this wonderful bird who posed for me, outlined against a dark woods.
There was a gentle breeze that grew into a strong gust of wind and although I’d weighted each painting with small stones the wind picked them up. Three of them tumbled face down in a nearby pool and a fourth blew high into the air and tumbled out of sight. I chased after them and put fresh paint on the ones diluted from being in water. Through all of this the heron remained. Later I took a break and lay on my back on the warm stone and watched clouds gather over the creek. When I sat up the heron was gone. I’ll look for it again, maybe later today.