Guess you could say this is my "swan song" to the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge. Note to self, "don't take vacation in the middle of a painting challenge!"
There has been a group of plein air artists who have been meeting in Gatlinburg, TN for over 35 years. They meet the second or third week in September just to indulge in their passion for painting, fine dining, nature and friendship. I had a dear friend who painted with the group for over 20 years who passed away this March. Though I painted with her every Tuesday for the past seven years, I never made the trip to Tennessee with her. I really regret that I never took the time! So, I went this year with several of our Tuesday morning "Upstairs Painters" group to dedicate a bench in Connie's honor. Sometimes we just need to take the time to reflect on what really is important. So many times in my journey as an artist I find that it is most often about the relationships with my fellow artists that mean so much more than the work we collectively produce. Connie often painted the swans when she stayed at the Buckhorn so the bench sits by the pond for those who wish to sit and indulge in the lovely surroundings. I wish she could have been there - but then maybe she was!
This is one of the paintings I did at my stay at the Buckhorn Inn in Gatlinburg, TN last week. This is Teller the beautiful resident swan. When we first arrived at the Inn I mentioned to my husband that this swan looks sad. He of course said, "yeah right". The swan's body language just seemed forlorn to me. Upon asking, sure enough his mate had passed away 3 months ago and he is in mourning. Swans mate for life and can mourn up to 6 or 9 months after their mate passes. Husband now thinks I'm the "swan whisperer"! This one was done very quickly with the intent of showing the "yucky pond water"and the sad posture of the swan. I tried to keep the swan the color of the evening sky with the lovely broken reflection on the water.
How ironic that I was there mourning the loss of a friend and Teller the loss of a mate. Somehow I'm just sure that his pain was no less than my own!