welcome, and thank you for joining me on my farm and studio in southern lancaster county, pennsylvania

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

the making of a toucan

Diddywopps is having a multi-artist show in February with a tropics theme and so I decided to create a piece called "The Toucan's Flight".

Please excuse the poor photo, but I finished him just in time to deliver him, but without leaving myself any real time to take a good photograph. However, along the way I took photos of the various steps taken to create him and so here is a little photo essay...

Several pieces of tulip poplar were glued together to make a block of wood thick enough for the bird's body.

And another piece of wood was planed thinly for the wings. The drawing was transferred onto the wood.

The rough shape was cut out on the band saw,

and further shaping was done on the belt sander.

A dremel was used for final shaping and to add the wing and feather texture as well as other details.

A base coat of gesso was painted on and sanded, then wire legs and feet were attached with epoxy. After the epoxy cured for a day, the bird was painted, then given a hand-rubbed wax finish. 

Now onto the tree which will hold the suspended toucan in mid-flight...
Holes were drilled in a branch and heavy aluminum rods were inserted and epoxied in place. The rods were then wrapped with multiple aluminum wires which make up the smaller branches and leaf outlines. About 17 wires were used.

The wire branches were then almost totally covered with epoxy to add stability, thickness, and texture.

Then the leaves were covered with old dictionary pages using matte gel medium, wrapping the wire with the paper.

One of the last steps, and the last one that I took a photo of, is wrapping the branches with matte gel medium and tissue paper. This completely covered up the wire and epoxy, providing a nice texture and smooth surface to paint on.

After that, the branches and leaves were painted with multiple layers of acrylic mixed with matte medium and matte gel medium to achieve the look I wanted.

Finally, the toucan was hung from the tree with thin black wire to give the look of him swooping through the branches.

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