Let Your Light Shine



Once upon a time I worked for an office that moved into a new building.  The ladies room had an outer area with a counter and mirror that some of my colleagues decided needed “décor.”  Since we didn’t have a budget for “décor” staff members were asked to bring in suitable items.

Given the range of tastes and what staff members were willing to contribute, we ended up with quite a mishmash.  One tchochke stood out from the rest.  It was a glazed ceramic swan filled with plastic flowers.  I never knew who brought it.  I guess they must have liked it, but the rest of us just thought it was tacky.

So the swan took flight, showing up in someone’s cubicle and hanging out until the cubicle dweller “swanned” another unsuspecting soul. On and on it traveled for months until it either flew south or we lost interest.



Our Central Ohio Plein Air Group was “swanned” while we were painting at Creekside in Gahanna on March 5.  It was a great day to paint out, unexpected for early March.  A swan swam around our area  for most of the morning, so we took lots of cell phone shots.

This swan was way absolutely beautiful, gliding across the water.  Then it came out of the water for bread crumbs kids were tossing.  Suddenly it was no longer a thing of beauty.  At its full height with wings spread, it turned into one scary animal!  So you never know with swans.

I decided that I wanted to see what I could do with the swan photo so I played with it across several media,  working small – 5×7.  For the most part I went with warmer colors in the water and cooler mixes for the bird.  You can see the results below.


1.  Water color on 150 lb. cold-pressed Arches paper



2.  Colored Pencil on blue-gray Mi-Teintes paper



Oil on gessoed masonite

3.  Oil on gessoed masonite


Pastel on Uart 400 paper

4.  Pastel on Uart 400 paper


So vote for your favorite swan in the comment box below or a tacky/scary swan may be crossing your path soon!


  1. Ann Armstrong

    I really,really like the colored pencil one very much.

  2. Kathy

    the first is my favorite, but the second is stunning. Amazing work.

  3. Nancy

    I like the watercolor!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *