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NTA show - is there a "habitat" division?

Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by Mink, Jun 8, 2013.

  1. Dan

    Dan One Year Old Already!

    Thank you Katie. What a relief to see someone else who thinks the same.

    You are correct there George.
  2. Mink

    Mink New Member

    Thanks Mr. Janelli, that's basically the answer I was looking for!

    I am looking forward to the competition too, it will be my 2nd time at Nationals -- and hopefully we can make the trip this time without any mishaps! last year, we got in a major car wreck just before we were to head home after the show (not our fault, a guy looking at his cell phone ran into us almost head on and totaled our rental car) we were alright, just really bruised up and had to stay an extra day and replace the rental car. And the drive home sure was painful.:eek: But I'm never one to give up easily!

  3. Mink

    Mink New Member

    Well said. I do agree that correctness of habitat is very important, and whether or not its even judged I do think it should affect the overall appeal of the piece if habitat is accurate and thought out. My inspiration for the marten scene, came from our trip to Alaska last year - the late fall season gave everything a gray/brown appearance and the light dustings of snow gave it all a bit of an icy sparkle.

    It really helps to have actually seen such an environment in person. A few years ago, before I ever even saw snow, I attempted to mount a ranch fox standing in a snowy fenced yard. But my "snow" ended up looking like a mass of foam beads on the ground and I added a type of grass by the fence that was only found here in the south and would not have been accurate for a northern fur farm location. The judge noted both and I did not get a good score on the habitat (or the entire mount, for that matter) But I took it as a mistake to learn from, and I did not make another snow scene until I actually saw some snow in person!

    So, I think a lot of the "bad" habitats we see are from taxidermists who don't know the environment. The more you can get outside, the more you can travel and experience the places you are trying to re-create in art, the better the outcome will be.
  4. Right on Katie C. The ones that don't think habitat is important,maybe just don't know how to do it correctly. Besides, it can be fun building,thinking about good composition and adding the correct vegetation. Much nicer to look at than the straight pose "Cracker Barrel" style deer heads
  5. Cole

    Cole Amateur Taxidermist

    The picture is a fairly good example of what I was talking about. A deer panel, a fake rock and some driftwood with snow sprinkled in it. Don't forget the trap that is setting there out of place. What is the trap for? Why would it be in the scene? Why are they all laying on a flat panel? Is that some kind of squirrel skin? Who skinned it? If I were judging this habitat in competition I would take all of these things into consideration and award you with the appropriate ribbon.

  6. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Cole Cole Cole. Now tell us how you really feel. LMAO

    Still, you're dead on. Who decides that eucalyptus branches don't grow in Alaska? Usually the people pushing an agenda are those who are sure we're not talking about them.

    If you guys want to see resk habitat (God, this is going to hurt me for saying it) you need to look at a Frank Newmeyer piece. You'll find them concentrated on natural elements with little or no distraction. That's why I agree with Cole and his choice of ribbons.
  7. Mink

    Mink New Member

    Okay, for all of you bashing me on my unfinished habitat.... It still needs work and I am very well aware of that! I know it might not be perfect but that is why I go to competitions -- to LEARN and IMPROVE! And I can sure learn more at competitions than I can from many people on here.

    But for all of your information, do know that its not a "eucalyptus" branch .. its a piece of dead elm branch. The trap is there as part of the scenery, like an old trap just left behind by somebody (Same way you see old wagon wheels or barbed wire and fence posts or other "human" artifacts occasionally added to habitat.) And the squirrel is not even mounted yet. So yes, right now it is just a skin but it will be made into a dead-looking mount this week.

    So if you are only going to say rude things about something that I'm still in the process of working on, that I might end up changing and re-working in the coming weeks til I'm entirely happy with it, don't even bother making comments. I'm fine with constructive criticism, but cynicism accomplishes nothing. Some days I don't even know why I post on here anymore!
  8. Lets look at Willinghams piece on overall artistic merit (not the taxidermy work on the martin) In artistic language, it is possible using the "triangle' method of composition. Look at it like a painting on a canvas. Start at the twig on the left----go up to the the arch in the back of the martin over to ears (stop) your eye should now flow down the left leg to the end of the log (stop) your eye should now flow to the end of the trap-down the trap and back to the starting place of the twig. The arch of the log works well with the arch of the martin and use of negetive space between the front legs. I would rather see no panel and just use and oval snow bank with no exposed wood.
  9. Wildside

    Wildside Active Member

    If the competitor chooses to pay for a habitat to be judged and critiqued so they can improve and get advice then great. If they do so to just compete, then great. If they do it just for a ribbon, then great. The association is a business and makes money. Why does a guy put a deer head in? To each his own.

    George and Cole - you must not charge customers for a habitat eh? I bet you do and I bet you make good money. It is part of our Industry. Same as a reproduction fish, antlers or reptile. I have never seen a bear in the wild that is laid out like a rug, but we do it for customers and some compete with them. And Cole is not far off on his critique, however they said they wanted a critique and to get better.

    We give seminars, have books and manuals on habitat, why? Because there is a market and really it is needed in the industry. You mention Frank Newmeyer, not the cheapest taxidermist around, but you don't see too many of his mounts without a base...... I wonder why? because it adds to the mount and to his pocket.
  10. Mink

    Mink New Member

    This is the kind of critique I really appreciate. Right to the point and not cynical or rude in any way. I see what you mean about the wood panel, I was pondering if it might be too "flat" looking after I put it all together. Like I said, this is a definite work in progress! So I may try and make some "snow banks" coming up from the ground and add more snow out to the very edges of the panel. I do kind of like the stained wood border (in proper lighting it actually matches the marten's coat quite nicely) but I think by adding higher snow banks around the rock it would make a better "triangle" composition like you described. Thanks for the tips!
  11. michael p.

    michael p. Getting better with age :)

    You guys and gals crack me up, all this arguing over another human being' OPINION of what place ribbon you should gel.... LMAO!!
  12. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    I'm not a big fan of that "triangle" crap. It's OK for artwork but in a 3 dimensional piece, the subject must be the focal point. Any habitat must compliment it, not become a distraction to it. That's why a diorama can deduct from a score but never increase it. Literally, a piece could score higher on a blank panel, than it would on a poor or bad diorama.

    I was NOT casting aspersions on the Willingham piece. I used the eucalyptuses as an example. All the items IN that diorama COULD be "native" to the area, but as Cole said, albeit a bit crassly,they distract from the piece.

    MICHAEL, Cole DID give it a blue ribbon. Lighten it up.LOL
  13. michael p.

    michael p. Getting better with age :)

    Cole's a blue ribbon in my book ;-)
  14. Cole

    Cole Amateur Taxidermist

    ROFLMAO, of course you do. It was everything you wanted to hear. I think the artistic flow is poor because of the trap. If it is supposed to be left behind I would bury it leaving 1/3 of it exposed. Right now it takes away from your "triangle composition" by distracting you from the subject. You aren't going to want to hear that though because it is "negative". I gave you a blue ribbon, what more do you want? Obviously not an honest critique.
  15. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    I agree. Even when he's a prick and disagrees with me. LMAO
  16. Cole

    Cole Amateur Taxidermist

    George, you were typing at the same time as me and I agree with your opinion. I am not a fan of triangular composition in sculpture very often. It can work, especially in a Pembrose application or perhaps a bronze bust of Michael P, but not my favorite for taxidermy.
  17. Cole

    Cole Amateur Taxidermist

    LOL, well that is almost always. ;)
  18. Brian Reinertson

    Brian Reinertson Well-Known Member

    Cole, you know people hate to hear the truth 8) Very thoughtful of you to still give him a blue.

    I thought it wasn't PC to put your show pieces up for review before you compete, might be using someone elses ideas right ???
  19. Mink

    Mink New Member

    I do understand what you are saying about the trap and also what George said about the items in the diorama distracting from the piece. They are all valid points and I take them all into consideration, but I just did not appreciate the initial rudeness in the comments.

    My main focal point was supposed to be the marten but I do get that the trap in the foreground may be a distraction from it. I just used it because I found it and thought it was pretty cool looking -- but I'll try and at least put more snow on it to help it blend better with the background.
  20. Mink

    Mink New Member

    I've posted pictures of incomplete competition mounts in the past when asking questions about one aspect or another(and always endured ridiculous amounts of harsh comments on them so I don't know why I even bother anymore!) but it has never seemed to affect anything when I actually bring them to competition. Although last year I could have sworn somebody copied the pose of my mink but maybe it was just coincidence!

    In any case, I doubt if anyone's work looks "perfect" when it's in the process of being made and all I had asked initially was if there was a habitat division, which I now understand there is not. And at this point I don't rightly care since its pretty clear by now my habitat piece as it currently stands, leaves a lot to be desired. :p

    Maybe we should just let this post die already!