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There are swans in the park near our home, and down on the River Great Ouse there are many. I have spent hours trying to take good photographs of them. I once read Thomas Bewick's autobiography, as I had started making wood engravings. His tiny engravings of birds and Nature are wonderful, as are his observant vignettes of 18th century life. His eyes were set far apart, it seems, and that facilitated his ability to focus closely - useful when engraving.

Here is his swan.

During my years as a pub sign painter some subjects, like 'The Coach & Horses' would make me a little depressed - all those hooves and wheels. But I enjoyed painting swans, these elegant and majestic white emblems, on big sheets of aluminium, to swing in the open for all to see. Sometimes I depicted them realistically, and sometimes heraldically, as here.

Here I have invented my own swan-like shape, to fit neatly into his little rectangular world of weed and bubbles. A work of art no matter how he sits in the water.

'Swan'. March 2016. Acrylic on canvas, including metallics. 18 x 13cms



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