Wild goose chase – Colin’s new Olympic challenge

Geese scan f-ws

You might remember, back in 2012, that Colin attempted two major pin-feather paintings, each comprising five different species of bird on a single sheet of paper.   He called them his ‘Olympic Challenge‘, as he was painting them during the London Olympics of 2012.

Four years later (just by coincidence) it’s another Olympic year – and time for another challenge!

Colin always had it in the back of his mind to attempt a goose-feather painting, but getting hold of some of the pin-feathers proved a lengthy job.

But persistence pays off, and he managed to collect the pin-feathers of four goose species:  barnacle, greylag, white-fronts and pink-feet.  These have now all come together in a beautiful painting, with pencil sketches in between and a central woodcock against a wintry background of birch trees and mountains.

It’s impossible to describe the struggle he had with the pin-feathers this time, as they were big and very difficult to manoeuvre.  He only ever uses one pin-feather for each individual painting, and in this case, with a couple of the geese, he only had one feather available to choose from.

The entire painting is shown above, and here are some close-ups of the individual images.

He’s relieved that it is over, although he secretly enjoys the risk.   Back to using a paintbrush for a while now!

Barnacle geese

Barnacle geese







Images copyright © Colin Woolf


  1. Well done Colin, they are lovely and such patience, even just to get the feathers, let alone paint with them🙂 Clever husband Jo🙂

  2. That was a ‘challenge’ so if its an Olympic Challenge we will award a Gold Medal. 🙂

  3. Patience and skill unparalleled. Jock’s just finished an embroidery of a Canada goose with 3 goslings, from a photo taken by my son. I’ll put in my blog’

  4. I remember those previous pin feather paintings. The skill he demonstrates leaves me lost for words. This is yet another beautiful and awe-inspiring creation. I agree with David, he most definitely deserves and Olympic Gold.

    • Thank you, Lorna! 🙂 He says this might be his last ‘big challenge’ with feathers – at least for the time being! He’s now turning his attention to something he’s been wanting to experiment with for a while – which is oils.

      • I’m not surprised, those challenges must have stretched him to the limits at times. I look forward to seeing what he does with oils. The technique is very different from watercolours, isn’t it?

      • It certainly is, and he feels it might allow him to be freer and looser with painting – perhaps a new direction. Quite exciting! 🙂

      • Very exciting – I’m watching this space!

  5. Stunning! I hugely admire such skills (and the technique as well as his patience, too). Your husband’s pin feather paintings are rather beautiful, Jo. Another gold medal from my side … ^^

    • Thank you very much, Michele! 🙂 I really don’t know how he did this, when you look at the size of the feather compared to the size of the paintings. But it’s all so effective, with a real wintry feel as well.

  6. Teri Ehr says:

    There really are no words to describe! But World Class, INCREDIBLE, FANTASTIC all come to mind….also Unbelievable! I am in total awe!

    • Thank you, Teri!! 🙂 I am in awe myself, really, and I see him painting with feathers regularly. It’s still difficult for him to explain exactly how he does it. Technique plays a part, but it is what’s in his mind as well.

  7. Very beautiful piece of art.
    His struggle with those pin-feathers is incredible.

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