Painting with feathers.

Since I have lived near Fort William I have been lucky enough to have been taught by Lys Hansen. She has visited Lochaber once a year and given master classes for the local art group. I have found her an inspiration, in both life and painting. Once I spent a week being taught by Lys at a summer school and learnt a great deal. Lys is predominantly interested in the figure and so she usually teaches life drawing. It is how she teaches that is so helpful and most of all, how to open to yourself and the subject, to move into a freedom conventional art education didnt teach, at least not to me in the ’70s. As a painter of landscape this freedom has enabled me to read the subject in a more sensory way and to let go of the desire to make a representation. On Iona this has drawn me to the sea, the beach and the wonderful jade water. I have used the sand as my easel, stones to anchor the paper and collected a number of found objects with which to make marks.

Feathers from a dead swan now litter the beach and stick out of the sand. I pick them up each day and use them as a brush.
Feathers from a dead swan now litter the beach and stick out of the sand. I pick them up each day and use them as a brush.
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I have been given these because they are less wind battered and think I will cut the quill to make a pen.

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The dead swan, a fallen angel.
The dead swan, a fallen angel.
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Various species of seaweed make great marks and seem to create a more expressive response than a brush.
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