Mute Swans Card
Size: 297mm x 210mm
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, majestic white birds in pastel. A white pastel portrait 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 mute swan occupies some of the same habitats as the whooper swan, which differs from the mute in having a lemon yellow and black bill with no basal knob. Full grown adult mute swans have white plumage, an orange bill with a black basal knob and may weigh as much as 22lb. 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 two species will sometimes nest alongside one another.
The breeding season begins in mid April - May. The nest is built in the shallows at the water's edge or in reed-beds, by the female, (pen), with material supplied by the male (cob). The male sits in the water and passes the plant material back while the female, perched on the nest pulls it in, positioning it and adding small amounts of down for the lining. The downy young are able to swim immediately and when small will climb onto their 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.
My 'Mute Swans' pastel drawing plus Fine Art Prints and Greetings Cards are available from my online Gallery Shop.