Natalie Feather­ston

Art­ful dodger


Natalie Feather­ston has been work­ing on a se­ries of paint­ings on and off for 15 years. It first be­gan when the Trompe l’oeil artist was in­spired by her young niece’s crayon draw­ings and wanted to rep­re­sent them through her own oil paint­ings. “I’m try­ing to keep the feel­ing of a child do­ing them,” says Feather­ston of the on­go­ing se­ries called Young Artist Shows Prom­ise. The paint­ings them­selves look re­mark­ably like crayon doo­dles and in­clude sub­ject mat­ter like cow­boys, horses, sheep and cow­girls play­ing the gui­tar. While orig­i­nally in­spired by the art­work of her niece—who is now an adult—the draw­ings are now sketched by Natalie her­self. She traces over the sketches with Sharpie, col­ors them in with crayon, and then uses those as real-life ref­er­ences for her paint­ings.

Feather­ston will show­case new works in this se­ries in an upcoming ex­hi­bi­tion at Maxwell Alexan­der Gallery from Oc­to­ber 6 to 27. Other paint­ings apart from this se­ries will be dis­played in the ex­hi­bi­tion as well, in­clud­ing Trompe l’oeil paint­ings of col­lages of an­i­mals in their nat­u­ral habi­tats. “My new body of work has a strong Western theme, es­pe­cially fea­tur­ing an­i­mals. I love the wilder­ness and beauty of the Amer­i­can West; por­tray­ing the wildlife is a fun way for me to con­nect with that theme,” says Feather­ston.

Re­flect­ing on her tech­nique, Feather­ston says, “I love work­ing in this genre be­cause you share this in­side joke with the viewer as they dis­cover whether or not what they’re look­ing at is re­ally three di­men­sional, or if it’s painted on can­vas. Trompe l’oeil nat­u­rally lends it­self to hu­mor and whimsy be­cause of its art­ful de­cep­tion, both of which are... el­e­ments I strive for in my work.”

The show will also fea­ture a pair of paint­ings of rough-and-tum­ble cow­girls, guns drawn, con­trasted with sur­round­ing burlap and cut pa­per flow­ers.

“There’s plenty of dark­ness in the world,” says Feather­ston. “I like to make paint­ings that con­nect with light­ness, hu­mor and joy—trompe l’oeil is a great ve­hi­cle for that.”

Top: Young Artist Shows Prom­ise – One Good Dog, oil on panel, 13 x 15”

Left: Young Artist Shows Prom­ise – Bucks Deluxe, oil on panel, 13 x 15”

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