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Bird Carving

Discussion in 'Wildlife Artwork and Crafts' started by Jean M, Sep 5, 2022.

  1. Stephen82

    Stephen82 New Member

  2. Joe Kish

    Joe Kish Well-Known Member


  3. Jean M

    Jean M Well-Known Member

    Thank you all.

    sorry , I do not have any videos online.
    If you ever think watching taxidermy videos can put you to sleep, carving is SO much slower!

    Joe, no harm done!
    My family is not from Qubec either! Much of Manitoba was settled in late 1800's, that was when we came over from Europe. My great grandfather was one of the first homesteaders in our community in 1892.

    That Grouse is by Larry Barth, a Master to say the least. Not quite as impressive as his more recent work, but still amazing.

    I had the honour of placing second best in world to him in '05. His birds are anatomically flawless, and his composition and design is what really takes the work to another level.
    garlicsalt and Wildthings like this.
  4. Joe Kish

    Joe Kish Well-Known Member

    Lest this thread die, I'd like to continue with a couple of photos of a blueprint of sorts I did before modeling, molding, casting and mounting a pair of LS African skins. I like to make a 1/10th model first to test and 'play' with a design before I commit time and material to a project and then decide some serious changes may be necessary. Here's my mock-up and mount, the mold from which ended up sold to Big Mac.

    18 - Copy.JPG
    magicmick likes this.
  5. Museum Man

    Museum Man Well-Known Member

    Jean, Your carving and painting are exceptional!
  6. Jean M

    Jean M Well-Known Member

    Thanks for sharing that.

    It is a great compliment to your previous thread on design and composition of taxidermy work.

    As I gain technical ability ( the craft or applied art) portion of taxidermy, I would hope that one day I can consider more than just the how-to's of the art form.

    I have not had the opportunity to attend any taxidermy competitions, but I can understand how score cards that base mostly on technique/ comparison to live animals will result in a focus on exactly on those criteria.

    Not better or worse, Bird carving competitions have abandoned score sheets to help allow for extra credit to personal style, artistic interpretation and composition.
    Habitat and bases are not seen as separate to the bird, but integral to the sculpture. An anatomically flawless bird can elevate a lesser composition, just as a technically flawed bird can drag down a good composition.

    There can only be 1 set of 1st, 2nd and 3rd placings in each category, as the sculptures compete against each other, not an ideal.
    Joe Kish likes this.
  7. Jeff Dufour

    Jeff Dufour Thanks to all USA Veterans and all you have done!

    Wow exceptional work!!!
  8. Jean M

    Jean M Well-Known Member

    Thanks so much.

    Working on a grouse right now.
  9. Jean M

    Jean M Well-Known Member

    Progress on the grouse.

    This bird was roughed out by another carver that passed away before completing it. So the pose and attitude was already set.
    I've been building the feet (bondo over steel armature), refining shape and sculpting feather groups.
    This bird is not going to have the individual feathers carved and detailed, but rather be left smooth, with fully detailed painting.
    Here, I just have feathers sketched in so that I can tell if the size and shape of the feather groups make sense.
    A bit more work on the leg/body transition, then I will begin work on the head, followed by so much sanding...before sealing and painting. (Best part!)

    I'll also spend some time making that driftwood base look more like a forest scene, vs Grouse at the beach day.




  10. Jean M

    Jean M Well-Known Member

    A bit more work done on it. Just test fitting eyes.


  11. Abbey Normal

    Abbey Normal Active Member

    This is breathtaking..I want to see more ! Wow
  12. Jean M

    Jean M Well-Known Member

    Abby, I've seen you work here before, I wish you would share more too!

    I won't be doing any taxidermy projects until this bird is complete, so I'll post a few photos as the painting progresses.

    I may have mentionned that this bird was rough carved by another artist, so I found a few areas that had flat spots, or too much material removed, so good old bondo to the rescue.

    I also use bondo to feather out any glue joints that can show up after paint. (Neck joint, and on this bird, and right down the center line of the body.)

    I usually do full detail carving on my birds, but this one would be considered a "Smoothie" among bird carvers.
    A derivative from the decoy carving past of the artform, where there are very limited details carved in, but the paint is fully detailed, and as realistic as possible.
    This bird is not for competition, so my painting may be more like 85%.
    I added a bit of detailing to the feet, and eyes, but as you see, the rest is just smooth, with only major feather groups indicated.
    The eye lids were modeled from apoxie clay.
    The wood is sealed with lacquer and ready to prime before painting.

    I will complete the leg/body transition after most of the bird has been painted - It is too difficult to handle/paint the bird with the legs permanently attached.

    I'll be adding some colour and moss texture to the wood base to suggest more of a forest scene, rather than a "Grouse on the beach" perched on driftwood.


    20230324_170823.jpg 20230324_170814.jpg

    Attached Files:

  13. Abbey Normal

    Abbey Normal Active Member

    I'm so intrigued. Your artwork is very impressive. Please let us see when finished up, and some progress pics of it isn't a hassle. Wow .
  14. nswiken

    nswiken Well-Known Member

    Blackburnian is my favorite warbler. I heard one this summer in Minnesota, but couldn't see it. Your work is exquisite, and I'm sure your students benefited greatly from your expertise.
    Abbey Normal likes this.
  15. Abbey Normal

    Abbey Normal Active Member

    It would be a dream to attend a class !