The final four of my holiday sketches! I know you were hardly able to contain your excitement. Truthfully, the sketches look better in real life than in the scans, but they aren't shabby in the scans, either. And this time, I remembered to use thumbnails instead of large pictures, so the page should load faster.
After observing the heron on the dunes, I went down to the visitors' center. It hadn't opened yet, so I shared the vista with a couple from Kansas. He was using a powered wheelchair to get up the multi-level ramp to the look-out. Seeing nothing strike my immediate fancy, I headed toward the center's ramp to the beach. They had a similar idea, and got there first. The ramp goes to the beach, but not to the water. This worked out nicely for artistic purposes, as the gentleman left his chair on the paved platform and, with the help of his wife, limped out to one of the benches to better view the Gulf waters. This sketch shows the chair, with footprints leading away. A dune hides the destination.
It was getting close to 8:30 when I finished the wheelchair sketch. I chatted with the couple, and then opened my cane/seat so that I could sit watching the beach as it came alive with color and people. This beach scene shows a handful of intrepid bathers wading into the still cool waters stretching into the horizon.
Remember that heron sitting at the top of the dunes? When I went back to the beach, it (or possibly another heron. I don't know one gray heron from another) had moved near the water.
First, it was standing in the partial shade of a picnic table canopy. The canopies are just slats, and at so early in the morning, the canopies threw stripes on the sands. I was able to get closer this time, sitting at the next table over while looking at the black-striped heron. The black on gray was fun, and I decided to leave the picture in the graytones I first rendered it.
After about ten minutes, the heron broke free of his prison garb in order to hunt along the water's edge. Gulls and plovers fluttered out of his immediate reach, so he struck a watchful pose, waiting for some smaller critter to forget caution. I also left this one black and white.
Thanks for taking the time to look at my sketches. It was a great experience, the first of what I hope will be many day trips just for the sake of sketching.