Therapy turned passion: Artist uses feathers as canvases for unique art

‘Literally, it’s taken flight’: Response to Greenwood artist’s feather paintings overwhelming
WATCH ABOVE: There's no shortage of talented artists in our region, but in her small Greenwood, N.S. studio, Cynthia Henry is creating some magical works of art, using a very unconventional canvas. Global's Natasha Pace reports.

There’s no shortage of talented artists in Nova Scotia, but in her small Greenwood, N.S. studio, Cynthia Henry is creating some magical works of art, using a very unconventional canvas.

“Feather art is taking feathers, actual feathers, finding a beautiful feather and painting a beautiful image on it,” Henry said.

Henry uses feathers of all different shapes and sizes to paint on. She’s worked with almost every bird you can think of, with the exception of the eagle, which is considered sacred for natives.

“I’ve done everything from little blue jay feathers to the huge beautiful peacock wing feathers.”

Cynthia wasn’t always a painter. In fact, she only took up the craft as a way to grieve following her mothers death.

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“It was basically my mothers instruction to say ‘Cynthia, promise me you’ll paint’. It was one of her requests when she left this beautiful world and then I started painting,” Henry told Global News.

Therapy turned passion

What started off as a therapeutic pass-time, has now become a passion for Henry, as she’s fallen in love with painting.

She’s only been creating feather art for a year but the response has already been overwhelming. So far, she’s completed well over 100 pieces.

“Literally, it’s taken flight,” she said. “There’s no question about that. I’m surprised about how many people haven’t seen feathers.”

Her artwork is also getting more complex. Henry now wears a specially made binocular loop to allow for immense detail in her unique paintings.

“I can paint the eyes right on the animals and do incredible work with those lenses. I feel good about it when I leave and the painting is done, all the details in the piece.”

Creating feather art is time consuming. It can take her anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to finish one piece depending on the request. But Henry loves every minute she gets to spend creating something beautiful in her studio.

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“Mom always taught me, paint for the joy of it, you know, I had to get into a groove of it to find, but with every painting I do, I must say, I hear that echo, that voice in my head that says, ‘your mother would be so proud of you.’ I’ve heard may people say that to me, so that’s really nice.”

You can view a gallery of Cynthia Henry’s work on her Facebook page.