'Losing Feathers'

This title is somewhat melancholy, but the composition is interesting because the swan seems to be swimming right out of the frame. The contrast between black around white (no white paint!) is adding up to this feeling. On land a swan is a clumsy, slow waddling bird, but on water it is so gracious, slowly floating with a royal charisma. Elegant is the first word that comes to my mind when I see a mute swan. These largest birds in Europe with their flexible neck and white feathers are a symbol of noble purity. And they are a well loved subject in myths, fairy tales and in art, always surrounded by lots of symbolism. In former days it was customary that people attributed several romantic things to all kind of animals. For instance sewing a swan feather into the pillow of a husband so he would be faithful to his wife. What do you think of a swan that sings a song just before dying ( swan song, mute swans do not sing).
This mute swan has lived canal in a canal near my house for years, together with his female. Swans can live for about 20 years and stay faithful to each other for life. This new spring I found it heartbreaking to see the male swan all alone. Sketching at the waterfront you wonder what might have happened to his dear ‘wife’. It was really remarkable that after two years of absence, the same swans appeared together again (I recognized them by the rings around their legs). Obviously happy endings, fairy tales and romanticism are part of a swans life.


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