Last week in the Skagit Valley we saw several groups of white swans which we judged to be families, with 2 white adults and several more buffy/gray young. I loved their white feathers against the green and brown of wetlands and fallow fields. Back in the fall, we visited the beautiful Italian garden of Valsanzibio, situated just outside of Padua, created by the Barbarigo family centuries ago. There we saw a pair of black swans, which are native to Australia, but have been introduced into many European gardens and zoos. This male was putting on a display and I was so struck by the contrast between his black plumage and the white marble of the fountain. Bird forms are some of the most beautiful shapes in nature--swans are perhaps the most elegant! I've been wanting to create some more art from swans ever since carving this woodblock print several years ago.