It started out not as piece unto itself but as a sketch of something that i would later paint directly onto silk. It kept not looking right, on and on. Finally I got the feather the way I wanted but I couldn’t get the piece as a whole to work. I’d wanted it to look noble, beautiful, mystic—like an eagle feather. And it kept failing. Suddenly I realized that the emotional and physical pain I’ve been in lately was in both the feather and the whole painting. I was painting my pain. The term came to me “my pain feather,” which is not a traditional term that I know. Well, hmm, it did not just come to me, I fiddled with words til I got it right. But I was embarrassed to write that here, was embarrassed to honor my hard work as a word-smith. Writing “came to me” was a way to avoid telling the truth of my process.
Anyway, I wanted words to express that I was owning my pain, and owning the truth of the story behind it. “My pain feather” does that (i hope) and, as such, are the first three words of the poem, which I then finished writing. After that, the whole piece started falling into place visually: I was able to finish painting it in a way that seemed right.
And it is a piece unto itself instead of a draft for a future piece.
I still want to do a feather painting on silk but it will not be a replication of this one. However, painting this one did help me figure out a few things about painting feathers, and that will inform the silk painting.
And that was my process! I hope reading it is of some use to you. Thank you so much for yr time!!