2015 was a good year for carvings. I managed to produce 18 finished birds, most of which were commissions or gifts. I focused on songbirds, passerines predominantly, and feel I made good progress with my carving skills. I'm especially pleased with the habitats (bases and mounts) I developed for the studies. That having been said, I am still struggling with the development of my painting/coloring/finishing skills. Perhaps by this time next year I will feel more confident about that aspect of the craft.
I think it is time to move beyond the relatively simple anatomy of the passerines. That's not to say I feel I've mastered the related fundamentals. I still have a great deal of ground to cover no matter what species I focus on next. But I'd like to tackle a few new challenges. Accordingly, the first bird of 2016 is an Anna's hummingbird.
This littler guy was carved from basswood and colored using acrylic inks. I had such a great time working on the wings, although it was quite nerve wracking. The base is butternut, my favored wood right now, finished with several coats of hand-rubbed EVOO. It arrived safely today, in Portland, where its new owner has given it shelter in the lobby of her office.
This month I also began work on the first of what will probably be a run of shore birds. This one is a sanderling, or at least the start of one.
If you know your shorebirds, you'll see right away that I've messed up the tail. I also need to reduce the size of the head, overall, and do quite a lot of work on the back and sides. Still, I like it very much and will keep working on it. The wood is butternut, and the grain on this side is very interesting. I'll also try to make more realistic legs for this one, as it is larger than any other bird I've attempted to this point. The habitat on this one will be tricky to devise, but I'm almost as excited about that part as I am the carving. I may finish it by the end of the month, but I'm not pushing it.
I'm starting out the year with the same price structure I used last year - $125 to $150, size and complexity dependent. As has been the case with all my commissions so far, clients can pick the type of bird, then I'll determine everything about the style, finish, habitat, etc. I'm still too unskilled to carve-on-demand. No owls, and - as stated at the outset - I'm not yet ready for raptors. Interested parties can contact me directly at email@example.com.