Oh, that makes sense that they are a by-product of the fur trade (one of those 'doh of course' moments on my part!). I don't wear real fur but still it makes me feel a little better. 

I always thought that age was at least in part a state of mind and you sound positively youthful in your experiments! 

On Mon, Jan 20, 2014 at 8:04 PM, Barry K. MacKay <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Agreed.  In fact, I’m a vegan (diet and clothing) or at least “veganish” (I know a few folks who are self-righteously fanatical about it, and I am not one of them) and try to find non-animal art products whenever I can, but it’s very difficult.   I hope to test a new “vegan” watercolour soon.   And not only that, I work on animal trade issues as well, and have attended several Conferences of the Parties to CITES.  But that said, I’ve always heard that the hairs used tend to be at least a by-product of the fur trade.


Mustelids don’t really do well in captivity (although we are often told they do) due to their high metabolism, activity and home range sizes…there is a lot of stress-related illness in them.   I have found that synthetics work for me for all but the finest brush (WN 000 Series 7), but that’s just me and my particular style of work.   I don’t do washes as such.


I also find, and this is a bit embarrassing, that even at a rather advanced age, I keep discovering new ways of doing things, with the same old materials, or with new ones.  





Barry Kent MacKay

Bird Artist, Illustrator

Studio: (905)-472-9731

[log in to unmask]







Need to leave or subscribe to the Sciart-L listserv? Follow the instructions at