Artist selects unique ‘canvas’

Painting on feathers requires patience and self-control, but customers like the result

Lucille Scott paints what she grew up with but does so on a unique canvas of goose feathers.

“I love painting wildlife, scenics,” she said.

Her father was a labourer who moved his family from farm to farm before settling into one of their own in 1972 near Big River, Sask.

As an adult, the self-taught artist lived on a rural acreage and later moved to Debden, Sask., where she had an art gallery in her home for a short time.

Scott’s Metis grandmothers also had unique skills: one created intricate bead work designs on moccasins and the other made paper rose decorations.

“They influenced me with both of their wonderful artistic talents,” she said, citing how she grew up creating animal cutouts for play.

She moved from painting on stones to feathers and quickly learned how to first prime her delicate canvas with acrylic paint.

She said it can difficult to capture the details needed to do portraits on feathers.

“If it’s too small, you can’t make out what it would be,” she said.

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“You have to paint in a certain direction and keep the plume from getting messed up.”

Patience and self-control are required with her craft, she added.

Scott treats and trims feather quills after the laborious process of extracting the feathers from a bag full of goose wings.

“I get blisters plucking feathers,” she said.

Once complete, the feather scene is mounted and framed in old barn boards for a rustic finish.

She sells her pieces in venues such as the Western Development Museum’s gift store and annual Christmas craft fair at prices ranging from $60 to $80 and up.

Only a few of her pieces were left on the shelves of the Saskatoon gift shop in Saskatoon last month.

Louise Dahlen, manager of the WDM gift shop, called the art unique.

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“It’s so different,” she said.

“It interests people because they’ve never seen anything like it before.”

Scott enjoys thinking about where her pieces end up and the happiness they bring to people.

“It’s a good, peaceful feeling,” she said.

“It feels really good. It’s fulfilling.”

She takes a break from her art by working a few shifts at a restaurant in Debden each week.

“Being an artist, you become a hermit and tend to dive into your work and that’s where you stay,” she said.

Contact karen.morrison@producer.com

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