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.