|"The Fisher King" 20x15, colored pencil and ink on Bristol board.|
When thinking about a title for this piece I was first throwing around "marsh queen" or some such thing. Then "fisher king" popped into my head. Herons obviously eat fish, which is where I was going with it at first. But having read and written a paper on T.S. Elliot's The Wasteland in college, and having been a fan of Arthurian legend for many years, the name really struck me.
Accounts of who exactly the Fisher King was vary, but generally he is the guardian of the Grail, a wounded king whose health is linked to the health of the land. As the king is wounded, so too the land. He is also a very mysterious and enigmatic figure, and the great blue heron was always that for me. As a child growing up on a lake, I would often see a heron standing on the end of the dock. But if I even thought about going outside it somehow knew, and it would spread those huge wings and lift itself into the air, vanishing around the point.
This is a bird I photographed two years ago in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. You can see some more images of the bird I drew this piece from in my post "Heron Yoga"