Galya Stoyanova reveals secrets of the art of painting on feathers

It is believed that drawing on feathers has come to us from ancient Indian traditions. Over time, contemporary artists have also started using feathers in their works. Galya Stoyanova is perhaps the only artist in Bulgaria who paints on feathers.

“As always, things sometimes happen by accident. 4-5 years ago I used to paint on pebbles and searched for motifs and photos of birds, and I discovered painting on feathers, which was very interesting to me and became my next challenge,” Galya Stoyanova recalls.

She first started with pigeon feathers, but then discovered pheasant and turkey feathers, which are wider. Before proceeding to the actual painting, the feather must be treated in a certain way.

“It must be cleaned before a primer is applied on it, because the surface is very slippery. I use acrylic or watercolor paints, and when the painting is finished, weatherproof coating must be applied to make it more durable. The process is not so difficult but it takes a lot of patience and diligence because the area is very small and I work with very thin brushes,” Galya Stoyanova says about the secrets of this art. She first started drawing birds and animals, as she saw them in the works of Ian Davie.

“Later on, I decided to include something different. Since I love painting icons, I made a few feathers with church images, as well as folklore traditions. A lot of people liked them.”

Bright colors, gentle lines of images, precision and the wide variety of themes and motifs all turn the painted feathers into a non-traditional and desired gift. Feathers are said to be a wonderful protective amulet to protect against evil eyes and inaccurate decisions. It is not accidental that a feather is considered a talisman that harmonizes family relationships and attracts luck and prosperity.

“Drawing on feathers is Indian art, but today everyone does it differently, according to their view,” Galya Stoyanova says. "And the message I put into my works is to be as free as birds, to be more creative. There are still many challenges in art waiting for us.”

English: Alexander Markov

Photos: private library

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