Painting Nature on Nature

A Feather makes for a beautiful canvas.

When I’m out foraging, hiking, or hunting, I keep my eye out for feathers too. There are so many gifts of nature: food, medicine, backdrops for artwork…

I just recently started to paint on feathers. It’s an interesting material to work with as you can imagine. The barbs that come off the vane often split apart once pressure is applied; I have to be careful of how hard I apply my paintbrush. Also, the paint is often absorbed through to the other side of the feather, so my painting surface has to be okay with getting paint on it. Plus, I must be aware for the feather not to sit on my painting surface for too long, otherwise it will dry and stick to it.  I find it best to paint both sides of the feather with my background colour to make for a solid surface. The solid surface now acts like paper where I can use a pencil to sketch my drawing out.  The most interesting thing however, is that feathers make for small canvases. I’m not used to such little work space.

Sometimes I sit on a feather for weeks deciding what to do with it. I wait until inspiration hits me. The bear was a special request. The feather was given to me and had to have a black bear on it. I had it for weeks before I could take a paint brush to it. I just woke up one day and knew the kind of image I wanted to create.

I’m happy with how it turned out. I hope the person who requested it, is happy too.

I had to draw this bear several times to get the right size and shape as I’m not used to such small work spaces. 

Before my foraging, hiking and hunting passion, painting was my first passion. Guess what I loved painting or drawing? Nature of course! Anything in nature: landscapes and wildlife, with wildlife being my primary target.   Using nature for my canvas of my wildlife artwork, I find I’m even more inspired to create. It’s another world to me and will help occupy those rainy days where I feel stuck in the house.

I just need more feathers. Time to find an Osprey or Red-Hawk nest and hope they left some gifts on the forest floor for me.

Keep Calm and Forage On.