Sunday, February 17, 2013

the Swan

Plumed Elegance
Original oil painting  24x36"
by Susan Roux

It was by accident that I stumbled upon the amazing swan photos I took several years back, when Martine-Alison visited for a month. The day was beautifully warm and sunny and we wondered into the lovely Boston Public Garden. Somehow in the hustle of that busy summer, I'd forgotten that I'd taken them. It was a nice find in my photo library.

The swans were building their nest.

I was mesmerized watching them and I remember staying for a long time at the edge of the roped off privacy railing that had been erected to protect them. As one bird gathered long sticks and twigs that had fallen from nearby trees, the other sat in the nest weaving with it's beak. Some of the sticks were way too large and heavy. They needed to be broken. We would have easily snapped them with our hands, but the swans are only equipped with beautiful feathers on their wings. They had to rely on the power in their strong necks to twist and snap the branches. They worked so hard, pushing limbs against the ground. How I wished I could have gone pass the barrier and snap those large branches for them.

After awhile, they swapped places. It was moving to see how well they worked together in preparation for the little one's to come.

Eventually one left the nesting area for a nice relaxing swim on the pond. I can only assume it was the male, as his display of plumage was quite spectacular. He eventually drifted to a cove where the long reflections of the distant trees darkened the water. It was as though my heart stopped. Such a spectacular scene.

The swan lit up with amazing beauty. I took several photos of him glowing before he drifted back into bright water. I remember that encounter like it was yesterday, yet somehow I forgot about those wonderful photos I'd always intended to paint. Perhaps the time wasn't right.

This is a large canvas, 24x36". It used to be a common size for me, but I have to admit, it's been years since I've painted on this format. My admiration for these swans was still quite powerful and to this moment I remain in awe of what I experienced that day. I needed to paint it large. It just seemed to be the right choice for such an elegant waterbird.

I suspect I'll be painting more of these... It was just too fun.


  1. What a difference a day makes. Great job on the swan!

  2. Wow that is such an incredible experience it sounds like, thanks for sharing it with us. Large for sure.
    peace n abundance,

  3. What an amazing day. You really capture 'elegant' in this lovely swan portrait!

  4. I don't know what I loved more... The painting or the story. Both bery moving.

  5. Beautiful post, Susan....The Swan left me speechless!!

  6. Wonderful story and a great painting Susan! Were you able to get back there later in the season to photograph the parents leading the little ones around the pond?

  7. Lovely painting Susan--isn't it great to discover new painting opportunities in old photo files? Great to see you do a big size too.

  8. L'énergie et la lumière qui règne dans cette peinture atteste de l'intensité du bonheur que tu as eu de peindre ce merveilleux cygne. Au fond de toi cette oeuvre était en gestation.
    J'ai besoin très souvent de laisser mûrir en moi des émotions... avant qu'elles naissent sur une toile. Il y a comme une sorte de décalage avec le temps.
    Après tout une bonne brioche se cuit que lorsque la levure a fait son effet sur elle !...

    J'aime les mots qui accompagne ton billet. Comme j'ai aimé ces merveilleux moments passés en ta compagnie et celle de ta famille.
    Gros gros bisous à toi soeurette.

  9. An honor whose time had come...beautiful tribute!

  10. Beautiful painting, by its color harmony and the graciousness of the Swan. Good job.


  11. un cygne vivant!!! très beau!

  12. un cygne vivant!!! très beau! bises e.

  13. This is beautiful. Really enjoyed catching up with your blog. What a great painting.

    There were so many amazing views - I could have painted many more too
    Edmonton Painters

    Painters Edmonton

  14. Nice page indeed. I love this picture, I give it a big thumbs up.


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