feathers – dec 2016

These are a group of watercolors I made as holiday presents for my family this year. I’ve been testing different techniques to find a style I can call my own. In these tried,with varying degrees of success, to just paint and not worry about how accurately the finished product depicted the actual feathers.

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In the future I think I’ll focus more on the painting what I see and less on trying to copy it. I was quite pleased with the results.

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1st watercolor in over a decade

My feather collection hadn’t been getting out of hand but hadn’t done much more than take up space on a shelf. I’d learned to watercolor while studying architecture so I decided to dust off the old palette, pick up a few new brushes, and give it ago. I have all these feathers around so I picked out a few, set them up (see below), and got painting. Ten years of rust meant mistakes but it also means a fresh start at developing a new style.

In the end it was a bit like riding a bike. I hadn’t forgotten, but that didn’t mean there weren’t a few spills.

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scrimshaw knife

This started with a lovely birthday gift from my fiancee, then girlfriend, a scrimshaw kit by Mollyjogger. It was 2014, I had seen these online some months before and really wanted one. Who wouldn’t want to scratch a design into bone with India ink?

For one reason or the other it sat in a drawer, in this box, until I’d figure out what to put on it. In that drawer it sat until 2016.

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I can’t remember what compelled me to dust it off in the early months of 2016, but I was determined to make it happen. Through the years I’ve amassed a respectable little feather collection, mainly things I find out walking Attila. For some reason stray feathers always catch my eye, I started keeping the nicer ones. I sat down one evening, picked one of my favorite feathers, and made a few sketches.

scrimshaw sketch

This is a tail feather from a mourning dove. I don’t remember when I found it but it’s one of the ones that started the collection. Shortly after this picture was taken the vision in my left eye went fuzzy and colors faded. Out of stubbornness I carved the knife anyway.

It was a lot of fun to carve, the bone has a life of it’s own and things don’t always go to  plan. Softer parts and movement with the grain was easy to work. Moving against the grain or hitting a hard spot could be a pain to work through or around. I highly recommend giving it a try. The other side of the knife is engraved with my last name in my bisbuelo’s script, cobbled together from a ledger he kept documenting the birth of his children.

I carry this with me daily.

mollyjogger scrimshaw knife kit