Farming Black Swans

This weekend I drove for ten hours.  Unusually I did not listen to the radio.  Instead I wrote a book in my head.  It is called “Farming Black Swans”.

If I write it down, it will be non-fiction, possibly a technical manual if my research bears out the concepts in my head.   However, in essence it is a narrative so might just as well be a novel.  A central character would be a mathematician by trade and spirituality.

20140629 Blacktoft (1)On the way home, I broke my journey.  I spent the morning drawing at Blacktoft Sands, marshland and reed beds where the River Trent empties into the Humber Estuary.

There was one distant swan. It was white.  It is not featured in this watercolour sketch.  Those blobs at the front are indeterminate ducks.

All swans are white.  Discuss.

13 responses to “Farming Black Swans

  1. Ah, a typically eurocentric view! From my australicentric perspective all swans are black. The only challenge to my perspective was seeing mutant ‘white swans’ when visiting Germany.

    • HI Leonie
      You have absolutely hit the nail on the head. The countless observations that swans are white might underpin a universal law that all swans are white, whereas the observation of a single black swan, let alone a continent full of them, wholly falsifies that law everywhere and for all time. Hence the importance of the Black Swan.

  2. I really like this watercolour; especially the sky. To be awkward: swan colour depends on the time of day, the light falling on the swan and the angle you are looking at it, surely? A white swan at sunset could look grey with lovely orange highlights glowing on feather tips – I’ve seen that :-p

    • HI
      You are of course more than right. In a sense, all objects are a canvas on which varying light paints. Thanks for your observations. In fact, I remember that I have some sketches on this point on my page I don’t often watch black swans but do observe cormorants and crows. Changing light causes a range of hues on their black feathers too.
      As a class of object though, all swans are white. Except once you have observed just a single Black Swan.

      • Cheers. I meant “never know quite where I am going with this”. Fingers don’t type what my brain says.

        When I am painting, it seems so crude and the colours so dull by comparison with what I can see. Later, it no longer seems so lifeless because it brings back something of the reality.

  3. Your painting is beautiful in spontaneity. It captures a moment and a movement and the colors are but reminders of the day. The idea of the artist is not only what they see but what they feel. You do that justice. Just photographed a black swan, so know that they exist. Even if they did not, you can paint them over and over and over again. You are the creator of your message as an artist. I enjoy viewing your work and reading what you have to say.

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