Our local nature center is creating a dinosaur exhibit. It is well established that dinosaurs had feathers and are ancestors of birds. One species more than any other moved scientists in that direction. Deinonychus Antirrhopus lived over 165 million years ago over most of what we think of as North America. It hunted in packs and was an agile predator. The discovery and subsequent research on this animal advanced our understanding of dinosaur/bird history. It's almost too bad that when represented in the Hollywood movie, Jurassic Park, it lacked its feathers and was called by the wrong name!
I needed to create a dynamic scene and was at a loss at first over what to do. After a few false starts, I began the real project by creating a wire frame. This is the first wire frame to go into one of my sculptures. I chose to add it for the stability and longevity of the piece.
It's a solid upright, intended to be buried 20" when installed. The beam, hip and shoulders are meant to simply allow the tucking and binding of willow.
I've been adding a "heart" to my work and this time, I wanted something from Wyoming. With my rock wall buried in ice, I called on a rockhound, Mel Gustin at Rock Solid Lapidary in Riverton Wyoming. He sent a box of jasper and agate hearts for me. Thanks, Mel.
I then built an internal framework of native branches. I put them up the neck, into the tail, and throughout the body. This would give me more anchoring points inside the sculpture. I called it the Cardiovascular System.
The next step was to build a willow frame that started to take the shape of the animal but was loose enough to allow a lot more willow later.
This is when I had to start worry about the teeth. Getting them to bend backwards and look more like teeth than "teef" wasn't easy.
The teeth also needed to be the head and lower jaw.
I also worked now from the nose down. The benefit of building on a frame meant I didn't need to worry about the legs until this point. Amy helped me figure out where they should be.
Both wings needed feathers and that meant taking the feathers up the shoulder and therefore down the body. This is when everything slows down. Lots of feathers. Not done yet.
The scene I decided to make needed another dinosaur. As I am nearly out of willow I decided to make the second one a juvenile.
I didn't take pictures along the way, but this is the juvenile as of April 6. The teeth were easier this time and everything I learned on the big dinosaur helped make this go better. The idea of the scene is to have the juvenile chasing a dragonfly. I needed to have it in a "ready to leap" position. This is what I came up with.
Both together, showing their size difference.
That's it so far. More to come.