On April Fools’ Day, I was asked by my mom’s boyfriend if I would be willing to airbrush a taxidermied pheasant.

I never once thought he was joking.

While he was setting up his airbrush in the basement, he told me about the large-scale, commercial work he’s painted. Walls, signage, vehicles, that sort of thing. Now, Buz is a welder by trade, and a damn good one. The company he works for sends him all over the word to repair their machinery, large and small. But I’ll fight anyone who won’t agree he’s an artist. He carves, draws, paints, was in a rock band in the 80s, and to top it all off, he’s just a really cool guy who takes wonderful care of my mom and makes her smile.

So you can imagine my surprise when he asked me to use a tool I’ve never used before on an antique taxidermied bird (also something I’ve never had any experience with). He asked me to do it because I have steadier hands and am better at fiddly stuff. Being a jeweler, I had no room to argue and agreed to give it a shot.

Pheasant Repair

It worked! Here’s the bird! That’s me airbrushing with my Art Face on. The part I painted was the red around the pheasant’s eyes. It had faded to white over the years, and I have no idea how old this thing is. When I was done, Buz gifted me one of his airbrushes, a hose, and a nifty gravity-fed pen thingie. “You can do this,” he said. “You should try a helmet.”

Seeing as how the Little One is learning how to ride a bike, that’s not a bad idea.