Wednesday, 27 May 2015

#638 Wyoming studio, the pond: Great Blue Heron


I spend lots of time in the field traveling far and wide to experience the wildlife subjects that I use for my art.  
A pleasant feature of being in residence in Wyoming is I only have to walk a few paces from the studio to take part in the unfolding drama that constantly takes place at our pond.   Among the birds typically there, I might see a raft of migrating ducks in the fall, always nesting Canada Geese, Mallards, and Mergansers in the spring, pheasants, an occasional Sandhill Crane, Mourning Doves,  many different songbirds, White-faced Ibis, Belted Kingfisher,  Osprey, Bald Eagles,
and one of my favorites: The Great Blue Heron; which is the focus of this blog post.

Below, is John James Audubon's lithograph of the Great Blue Heron.



We've had lots of rain this spring, the pond is full, and the Great Blue has occupied the little island on the pond and fishes for small trout with its dagger-like bill.  When the heron arrives, the nesting Canadas vacate the island and move their brood to the pond's edge but always come back to the safety of the island in the evening when the heron flies off to roost.


Below, the Great Blue Heron has arrived, strides to its favorite fishing spot as the
Canada Geese move off the island with their brood.





There's an old cabin next to the pond, which along with bushes and a jon boat, provides cover when we photograph.
I'll show a picture of the old cabin in the next blog which is about the resident Canada Geese.
Below, are photos of recent events at our pond featuring the Great Blue Heron.
Trish took the first one of the bird behind the jon boat.


















The Great Blue Heron is the largest North American heron and is commonly seen in every region of America except the highest elevations of the Rockies.  The big bird slowly wades or waits patiently, staring into the water when feeding and then quickly strikes any prey that comes within its reach.  They have a six to seven foot wingspan and the male is larger than the female.  The bird usually has blue-gray plumage, but in some areas it is completely white. 


Below, are two early etchings of the Great Blue Heron.






Go to the BLOG INDEX on the right for more information.

Blog, text, photos, drawings, and sculpture . . . © Sandy Scott and Trish




Sunday, 24 May 2015

#637 In the studio: Green Heron



Compared to most herons, the Green Heron is small, dark, short and stocky with short legs, broad wings, 
long bill, and thick neck.   The crow-sized bird is sometimes call the Green-backed Heron.

Below, is John James Audubon's (1785 - 1851) lithograph of the Green Heron.



The Green Heron is typically concealed in vegetation and is hard to see because its coloration appears dark.
The little heron is solitary and secretive and lives around small bodies of water or densely vegetated areas.  
Seeing them is tricky and I've seen the bird only a few times in the wild and always along shallow marsh edges.

Below, are drawings created during a rare encounter with a Green Heron while in the South Carolina Low Country.






The Green Heron's neck is often pulled up against the body when at ease . . .  but when feeding, 
the bird thrusts its neck forward and the long, dagger-like bill strikes swiftly to catch prey.

Below, is a clay model of a recent sculpture of the Green Heron.  I chose a pose that depicts the bird hunting and about
to plunge for its its prey.  The heron appears dark while hunting in the shadows, but is beautifully colored in the sun.







The sculpture was modeled with a dark brown Classic Clay which is a very fine product and one 
of several different types and brands of oil based plasteline clay I use.  Typically, if the wings are extended, 
I use Chavant's Le Beau Touche clay because it is sticky and will adhere to armature wire and aluminum foil better.
 Note:  It's difficult to photograph Classic Clay because of its dark pigment


Below, is the new sculpture, "Green Heron" cast in bronze.
The patina was achieved with liver of sulfur, cupric nitrate, and a trace of ferric nitrate.







Go to the BLOG INDEX on the right for more information.

Blog, text, photos, drawings, and sculpture . . . © Sandy Scott and Trish


Wednesday, 20 May 2015

#636 Wild Turkeys


Please see the previous two posts for more information about this subject:  Wild Turkeys.

The Wild Turkey was endangered at one time but has made an incredible comeback in population during the last century.  Wild Turkeys are the largest game bird in North America and can weigh as much as twenty five pounds.  Interestingly, early Europeans named the turkey after the Middle Eastern county because they confused the bird with the African 
guinea fowl!  Years ago, Europeans referred to all Muslim countries, including those in North Africa, as Turkey.

Although Benjamin Franklin tried to have the big bird adopted as our country's national bird,
the Bald Eagle eventually got the vote and became the symbol of the United States.

Below, is John James Audubon's "Wild Turkey".



There are five subspecies of Wild Turkeys and each has a different home range.

               1. Eastern: These birds live throughout the eastern half of the United States.
               2.  Rio Grande:  They are found in Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Texas and some northeastern states.
               3.  Merriam's:  Found in the Rocky Mountains, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana.
               4.  Gould's:  Found in southern New Mexico, Arizona, and central and north Mexico.
               5.  Osceola:  Found only in the Florida peninsula.


Wild Turkeys have always been a favorite subject for sculpture, etching, painting, and drawing.  
Shown below, is a group of drawings depicting the magnificent Wild Turkey.


























Go to the BLOG INDEX on the right for more information.

Blog, text, photos, drawings, and sculpture . . . © Sandy Scott and Trish


Sunday, 17 May 2015

#635 Wild Turkeys at Brookgreen Gardens, con't . . .


Please see the previous post for more information about this subject.



Wild Turkeys have a distinguished ancestry and are truly an all-American bird.
The big bird has survived since early pioneer days and our forefathers once
feasted upon its delicious meat just as we do now.

For wariness and cleverness, it is unsurpassed by any other bird but it's possible
to get relatively close to them in the wild at Brookgreen Gardens because
they are used to human activity.

 www.brookgreen.org


Over the years, the species has been one of my favorite subjects for not only sculpture,
but for etchings and drawings.   Brookgreen Gardens in Murrell's Inlet, South Carolina offers
an "in-the-field" experience and a great place to observe, sketch, and photograph Wild Turkeys.

Below, are images of a new sculpture entitled "Jake".  The bronze will be introduced at the 2015 Prix de West Exhibition
in Oklahoma City next month at the  National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.   The show opens June, 13.







Shown below, is the clay model in progress.






Below, our Brittany, Penny joins Trish in the mold room while making the flexible rubber mold of Jake.




Below, I'm at the foundry placing the sculpture on a base plate for welding and the addition of terrain shapes.



A Jake Turkey is an immature male turkey.  A Jake has shorter feathers on each side
of the tail fan and a small snood above the beck.  A snood is a flappy piece of skin that hangs over a turkey's beak.
All of the tail feathers on a mature Tom will be the same length and will appear as a symmetrical semi-circle
when he struts.  See the previous post for an image of a strutting Tom and the sculpture entitled "Tom".

Below, are photos of Wild Turkeys taken last month at Brookgreen Gardens.



The photos shown below are of a mature male gobbler or Tom. . . . a Jake's beard is short and grows with age.









Go to the BLOG INDEX on the right for more information.

Blog, text, photos, drawings, and sculpture . . . © Sandy Scott and Trish



Wednesday, 13 May 2015

#634 Wild Turkeys at Brookgreen Gardens



For more information about Brookgreen Gardens, see blog posts #625 and #627 throughout #631.
Additional info can be obtained by typing in Brookgreen Gardens in the "search this blog" box.

brookgreen.org

Brookgreen Gardens, located in Murrell's Inlet, South Carolina is an accredited museum boasting the the largest and most important collection of American figurative sculpture in existence.  I recently returned from there and am still under the spell of beautiful Brookgreen.  While the sculpture collection is paramount, the 9,000 acre grounds are an award winning horticulture masterpiece and home to an accredited zoo and aviary.  Over the years, I've come to know Brookgreen well 
and upon entering the grounds - especially in the early morning - I'm sure to encounter free ranging 
Wild Turkeys which is the subject of this and the next two blog posts.

For many years I have visited Brookgreen and continue to know it as an "in the field" experience. . . 
a camera and sketchbook is always close by and I've accumulated lots of photos and drawings of Wild Turkeys.

Below, are photos taken last month at Brookgreen.







Below, is a new sculpture entitled "Tom".  Also shown,  is the clay model in progress before the mold was made.










Additional images are shown of the bronze sculpture during the patina process at the foundry.
The patina was achieved with the following chemicals:  Liver of sulfur, cupric nitrate, and ferric nitrate.








Go to the BLOG INDEX on the right for more information.

Blog, text, photos, drawings, and sculpture . . . © Sandy Scott and Trish