Trying something new - Painting Wildlife, and birds

Amy Jo and I have been enjoying the National Wildlife refuge in Ridgefield WA, which is not far from our home (just a few miles away).  I guess I got inspired to try my hand at some wildlife painting.  Typically I haven't thought about painting wildlife, but driving around this place and seeing so many different animals - mostly birds - in their natural habitat is thrilling.  I love nature.. love learning about it, reading books and watching nature shows.. and of course being out in it.  

This great blue heron was sitting perfectly still perched on this wonderful branch - lit up wonderfully by the sun.  However, he was very obscured by many branches in the way.  I took several photos, from different angles trying to get a clear shot.  I was able to get a pretty decent shot of his body, but I had to use other photo references of a heron I shot earlier to get his head.  

We also went back again to get more reference shots of the water, and the shore.  I think this one turned out well. 

This is original pic that insired me. 


Shore line, pretty close to where the Heron was sitting..