Original Painting Medium: Pastel
Scientific Name: Cygnus olor
Mute swans are frequently seen on small lakes in parks and private grounds across Europe. I wished to portray these beautiful, white, majestic birds against the-deep blue of the pastel paper.
Native to central Asia the mute swan has been reared in a semi-domesticated state since the time of the Ancient Greeks. In England all mute swans belong to the Crown, a relationship extending back to the 12th century.
The males are an especially impressive sight when in pursuit of rival males. Curving the S-shaped neck onto the back and raising the wings to make themselves appear larger, they appear to glide without effort and with great speed across the water.
The female is known as a ‘pen’, and her downy young are able to swim immediately but will often climb onto the parents backs to rest. The grey-brown cygnets generally remain with the adults until the following season.
Over the years numbers of swans have declined as many die of lead-poisoning through accidental ingestion of lead weights lost or discarded by anglers. One recent survey found 228 such lead weights per square metre of sediment.