Plein Air at Myakka River State Park

Sunday morning was chilly and windy, but the sun was shining.  I arrived early, and pulled out the jacket that I keep in the back of the car, just in case I get cold while standing at the easel.  While waiting for a friend, I walked around in the area near the concession stand, and took a few photographs of the marsh area.  A snowy egret was fishing along the edge, and I also saw a little blue heron splashing around in the shallow water.  Many vultures were gliding high above the lake.  I decided to paint the marsh and the snowy egret - a favorite subject - and found a shady spot under a tree.  My new easel is light and easy to set up quickly.  I opened my backpack which was filled with supplies for painting with gouache - a type of opaque watercolor - and two watercolor journals.  My plan was to make some quick sketches with the gouache, just to capture the simple shapes and beautiful colors of the marsh.  Although the egret kept moving around, it stayed in the same general area, and I was able to sketch it into my painting of the marsh.  Time went by quickly and I had to move my easel after I realized I was standing in the sun.  I finished two small paintings and I went home with some nice photos for studio paintings.