The lovely thing about painting with feathers is I feel a connection with the bird and its energy, its spirit.
I haven’t painted many birds, just a few African ones, so am enjoying this new subject matter immensely as I spend the summer observing them in the garden.
I am trying not to overwork these paintings, although I keep failing miserably with that challenge. I love some of the early stages with just a few free marks on the canvas. Maybe by the end of summer I will have found a way to stay very loose and simple and yet still say what I want to say. For some reason my paintings have to be about something, much as I would like to paint a purely abstract painting.
Certain interests emerge despite the subject matter. Portraying movement is a long standing interest, be it a seascape or a horse, I want the paintings to have energy. I am also interested in mark making and creating an interesting and painterly surface. I like applying paint fast, the design of feathers seems to help.
In both these paintings I can see other birds and insects trying to emerge. The temptation is to bring them out, but I also like that the abstract quality of most of the paint which means that you may find shapes and ideas too.
Feather Light is a painting about the birds gathering insects, a beak full of bounty, before hopping into the nest to feed the chicks. Air currents about my total pleasure watching the swallows this summer.
In Songbirds I have tried not to be too heavy handed with the way I have painted the birds. I want a ‘now you see them, now you don’t’ feel, the way the birds move about the garden, alighting onto a branch for a moment before flying off.
These paintings are available on my website and my studio is open to visitors by appointment.