Compelled by her love for birds of prey, the Connecticut-based artist Brenda Lyons paints naturalistic images of animals real and imagined onto delicate feathers shed by wild turkeys. Her painting style is heavily influenced by the work of 19th century ornithologist John James Audubon, the author of the legendary illustrated text The Birds of America. Juxtaposed with the indexical aesthetic of her illustrations is the imaginative and fragile surfaces, which miraculously hold the luminous, soulful animal portraits.
Lyons’s work is a true marriage of science and imagination; alongside the more objective Audubon, she cites influences like Arthur Rackham and Susan Seddon-Boulet, famed for their magical images of faeries and mythological beings. With her brush, pen, and pencil, Lyons depicts the fantastical phoenix with the same realism as she grants the gray-nosed golden retriever. Domestic animals are afforded the same wildness as feral creatures; a cat sits, a mischievous glint in his eye.
The paintings, like living beasts, blend seamlessly into the turkey feathers, as if they grew and sprung forth from the same mother bird. The curves of the lost feathers dictate the movement and form of the animals; an eagle’s wing vanishes into the downey tufts of twin feathers, their shafts seeming to support his body. The phoenix crouches, his talons caught in the ashes that collect at the base of the feather.
For the artist, the painted features are a way of satisfying her wanderlust; like birds of flight, her hands dance, imagining strange and wonderful worlds where animals run wild. Take a look. (via Oddity Central)