Sunday, 27 March 2011

Short Tempered Swan

Short Tempered Swan
Watercolour on Paper
24cm x 34cm (9.5" x 13.5")

They appear serene as they float on the water, but on the land, they are ungainly aggressive bullies - bovver boys in ball gowns. I have been at picnics and barbeques where they’ve tried to muscle in and steal all the food. Their PR people probably invented the story about them being able to break a man’s arm with their necks just so we are less inclined to put up a fight. This one was bashing on a glass door - demanding access to the kitchen. 

The most difficult part of this painting was the background. I didn’t plan it sufficiently. The first attempt looked like a dark halo around the swan's head. (You can still see the remains of this). It made the painting look like a cartoon. If I was starting again, I would use a completely different approach.

The red marks on the bill are not supposed to represent blood. They are not a cheap attempt to make the swan look as though it has recently carried out a grisly murder. It really had an irregular pattern of red markings on its beak, but I don’t always notice this sort of detail until I draw or paint something.

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