Painting using a feather as a brush / by Chris Maynard

 Colin Woolf, Grouse

Colin Woolf, Grouse

I am hugely attracted to Colin Woolf’s use of tiny pinfeathers as paint brushes. He will place one in a special handle to paint a watercolor image of the bird that the feather came from. Each bird has only one of these stiff tiny feathers on each wing. It is from the same place the tip of your thumb would be if you grew wings. It is actually one of three feathers that helps a bird navigate in slow flight, called an alula.

This is an old painting technique that Colin has revived from 200 years ago. He authored a book in 2012 about pin-feather painting and has a couple of five-minute YouTube videos describing the technique. His website also describes the technique and shows some of his painting.

I sent Colin a couple of ruffed grouse pinfeathers. From them he just finished this picture which I will feature prominently in my home once I get it framed.