Birds have been on my mind lately. It started when the J. Willott Gallery invited me to sculpt a live raptor (not a dinosaur, a bird of prey) in their gallery. The gallery is working with The Living Desert Zoo to raise money for their animals and sell artwork. As the whole event has coalesced it has been determined that I’ll be sculpting a red-tailed hawk on Feb the 18th. You can only draw or sculpt what you know so I’ve spent a lot of time studying birds, their anatomy and their feather structure. I’ve literally studied everything I could get my hands on including actual specimens.
A parrot and raptor couldn’t be more different, one is predator the other is prey. But since I don’t have a bird of prey handy I found a parrot to be more accessible and less intimating to warm up on. The trick with birds are their feathers and how best to make them. It’s easy to tuck the feathers in, they fold up like a stream lined accordion, but that’s not exciting. I want a more dynamic pose showing of the bird’s wings and talons. A fellow sculptor who has sculpted many birds, advised me to first cut the feathers out of cardboard, cover them in wax and then attach them to the armature. I’m more of a gesturalist, I’m not too concerned with fine details but in this situation there really is no way to cheat feathers . You need to make them, at least the primaries, secondaries, alulae, primary and secondary coverts. Yeah it’s a lot of cutting.
I used a cheerios box for the wings.
For the practice sculpture I sculpted a parrot live and chose one of my favorite poses; the wing and leg stretch. It’s always looked like some kind of avian yoga position. Going through the entire process helps me plan in advance what I’ll need to prepare and how I’ll sculpt a life size Red Tailed Hawk. More to come as I prepare to sculpt a Red Tail Hawk.