Artist Ian Davie paints directly on swan feathers. His inspiration comes from “[...] sightings of wildlife, views of habitat or the effects of changing light, seasons and weather, often combined to create the ideal composition.” 
Notes by Davie about his work: 
Painting directly onto feathers brings with it a number of challenges; extensive feather preparation, sympathetic compositions for a small vertical canvas area, delicate brushwork directly onto the feather and careful framing. However painstaking the process, I consider the result to be worth every effort. I always feel a sense of pride and joy when I have created a finished painting from the blank white canvas of a feather. Although I sometimes feel a pang of regret when one goes, I console myself when I see the joy others get from looking at them.
1/2. "Artist's Profile." Featherart.net. Retrieved on February 27th, 2012. Photos © Ian Davie Link via Rod Mills