a/k/a Thoroughgood Wellbee
PAINTING WITH FEATHERS: Theory
Seeking better ways to represent organic patterns, forms and textures? Feathers might hold the key. Going green, one is presented with many choices of pigment. Which is the paint that is chemical free? Considering organic choices, butterflies, flowers and fish present us with the rainbow, but they are fragile and unstable. Feathers on the other hand, come in every hue and in neat packages. They also carry patterns. They are nearly weightless. They stack and compress into a very small space. It is tedious, but easy to clean and prepare them for use.
The feather structure when used as pigment has properties representing the elements of art. Due to their constitution, they have intrinsic lines. They come in every hue, shade, tone and tint. Patterns are vivid and myriad in their natures. With a good eye, a sharp knife, forceps and glues, feathers can be redistributed on a palette with the same precision of oils, acrylics, pastels and pencils. Feathers come well formed. Often they show characteristics like symmetry, balance, rhythm as well as harmony. Just as often, they will have asymmetrical balance.
The feather is eco-friendly. It is gathered when a bird molts. I raise my own birds and have never hurt any of them for a feather painting. The freely donated feathers are washed, frozen, stored and eventually processed. When a feather painting is sold, the proceeds contribute to the birds’ well being. In microcosm, this small eco-system is a way for the artist to connect on a visceral level with his palette.
I am excited. The road from where I am now is paved with photography. I plan on employing feathers in a new way. They will be used to paint, but this time, electronically, to experiment with pattern, color and texture in digital Rishi. A tribute to the ancient tradition, digital Rishi will give access to a wide use of feather paint on a multitude of surfaces.