Fantastic Feather Painting by Julie Thompson



Human society around the world has long employed the colourful feathers of birds for decorative costume adornments , not just among native tribesmen in far-off lands, but indeed as an integral part of high fashion in the western world, Ostrich, Peacock and Bird of Paradise feathers especially prized.

Such natural wonders are rightly highly prized by humans because they come in such an incredible assortment of sizes, shapes and colours, but there are some artistic types who believe that even the dullest of feathers can have colourful new life breathed into them, simply by being employed as the canvases for stunning works of art.

One such artist, who has made this painstaking technique her own, through a wealth of artistic talent, is Alaskan born Julie Thompson, whose creativity and vision have rightly earned her many accolades, all the more amazing when one considers that she is a  self-taught wildlife artist of  20 years experience, who excels in the creation of images on feathers, no easy task by any means.

Much of her truly memorable work was done on the Pacific Northwest corner of Canada, adjacent to the picturesque Puget Sound. She is determined, every time she selects another feather to paint, that it will be completely unique, and succeeds so well in her artistic endeavours that her work is well-known through Canada and the USA, though her stated aim is to achieve worldwide recognition.

Her feather painting journey began in the early 90s, as Julie had a ready supply of naturally shed Turkey and Peacock feathers, though she admits it was hard going in the beginning, as the simplest of images can take up to 20 hours of painstaking work to get just right. Julie began with broad sturdy wing feathers, never having seen feather-painting done, but convinced it was feasible.  

Those first, simple still-life images soon became much more complex – Julie having learned pen-and-ink stippling whilst working for an archaeological company as a graphic artist for an archaeological company. This experience served her well in achieving fine detail in her wildlife pictures, enabling her to get much clearer detail than was possible with the paintbrush.

Her proudest boast is that absolutely no computer generated imagery of any kind is ever employed to create her incredible work, which is, to say the least, quite bewitching and mesmeric. These days a resident of  the US state of Washington, Alaskan nature, she claims, has always been her greatest inspiration. Her art works, on feathers, are quite simply breath-taking, and totally unforgettable, so let us hope we see more from her in the coming decades, because she truly does have a rare and wonderful talent. 

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