I've received a lot of comments throughout the years asking about how I paint on feathers, so here is a frequently asked questions journal to hopefully answer any questions you might have!
• What kind of paint do you use to paint feathers?
• I use acrylic paint. I like Liquitex and Golden, but if you'd like to try painting on feathers, any acrylic will do! "Craft" acrylics will work perfectly fine, but keep in mind generally these paints are a little thinner so it may take more layers. You can thin your paint with water or with acrylic medium.
• How do you get multiple feathers to stick together?
• I use an archival PVA bookbinding glue, which looks/acts a lot like regular Elmer's glue. This glue dries quick and clear, and once I glue the feathers together, it's a permanent bond.
• How do you keep the feather vanes from coming apart while painting?
• Two things - careful painting, and a thin layer of paint. The very first layer of paint I put down is a watered-down layer of acrylic paint, which acts a bit like a 'glue', by seeping into the tiny hooks and barbs that 'zip' up the feather, and cementing them in place. After this, I carefully paint the next couple layers, and after that, the surface of the feather is a lot like canvas, and there's no danger of the feather pulling apart.
• How do you 'draw' the figure on the feather?
• It depends on if I'm planning on painting a background color, or to keep the natural color of the feather behind the subject. If I'm going to paint a background, I'll just cover the entire feather with a layer of watered-down acrylic and it's not an issue if I make a mistake, because I can simply paint over it. But if I want to keep the natural feather behind the subject, I need to be very careful. I can usually just paint the outline of the subject freehand, but if I want to be able to 'erase' parts (like a sketch), I'll use a white gel pen to draw in the subject. Gel pens are water-soluble, so if I make a mistake, I can remove the mark with water.
• What kinds of feathers do you use? And where do you get your feathers?
• I use mainly wild turkey feathers. I also use domestic turkey and domestic goose feathers. It's important to be aware of what kind of feathers you use, because most wild bird feathers are illegal to possess in the United States, due to the Migratory Bird Act! Here's a good list of all feathers protected by this law - www.fws.gov/birds/policies-and…
I get my feathers either from hunters who took the turkeys from the wild for food purposes, or, in the case of domestic bird feathers, they come from farms where the birds are happy and healthy and molt them naturally. I try to be mindful of my feather sources. I do not want feathers taken from birds killed only for their feathers.
• I've never seen this before, did you come up with the idea of feather painting? Can I try it myself?
• Oh, gosh, there are plenty of other feather artists who have been doing this much longer than I have! A few spectacularly talented artists who also do feather painting are Nambroth
and Pat Morris
And yes! You don't have to ask permission, I don't own the concept of feather painting, it's a medium just like watercolor painting or working with clay. Anyone can do it! Just grab some (legal) feathers and give it a try!
• Do you sell your feather paintings?
• Yes, I do take commissions for feather paintings. You can find my list of prices and examples here under "Feather Paintings" - www.falconmoon.com/commissions…
I also sell them at art shows and conventions.
Did I answer all your questions? If not, leave a comment and I'll be sure to answer it, and may add it to this list!