This was a lot of fun to paint, but I took my time with it. I felt that it needed very lifelike branches to work, so I drew them in, then painted them carefully in numerous layers. I started with a very light wash of burnt umber, which remains the dominant color, but other light washes of cobalt blue, burnt sienna, and some others were added one at a time to try to develop some good texture on the larger branches. But even the finest branchlets have multiple washes.
The heron was another story; that was done very freely, and he looks just a wee bit scruffy as a result, but I like it. The water and sky washes are deliberately subtle. The bird is the standout in terms of contrast, but my favorite? The branches.
Arches 140lb notebook paper, 7×9.5″