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Ridge Pursuit, Part Two

Some projects don't end once you put down your paintbrush.

By: Floyd Scholz

From concept to completion, Ridge Pursuit 2011 spanned more than eight months of intense and challenging work. That was just about the time frame I estimated. Whenever you are about to tackle a new and complex carving, it always helps to allow for a bit of extra time for experimentation and trial and error. This was a complex carving indeed, one that had a juvenile gyrfalcon chasing a flock of snow buntings. (For more about the project, see Part One in the Summer 2012 issue of Wildfowl Carving Magazine.)

The months of design, carving, sanding, texturing, and—of course—painting all drew to a close, and I began to check and re-check every element of my work. As I near the completion of a big piece, I often make a “punch list” of finishing details, mostly little things that need some final attention. The list is usually long, especially for a work like this, which seems more like a big puzzle with lots of pieces. In this case, I paid attention to often-overlooked items such as feather highlights, toe details, and making sure the eyes are clean. I didn’t forget the feather shafts, which look much nicer if you touch them up with a fine stroke of satin polyurethane.

With a ten-hour drive ahead of me, a toolbox full of tools, and ten very fragile flying birds carefully packed away, I set off on a new adventure to install the sculpture in a long hallway in the Ridge, the house of my friend, Rob. I was tired but also fueled by optimism as I thought about what lay ahead. I was also anticipating that wonderful feeling of closure that comes with the final delivery of something I had poured my heart and soul into over so many months.

 As the miles passed beneath my tires, my thoughts turned to the work ahead of me and how I was going to install the birds.

This article is from the Fall 2012 issue. For more information on our issues, check out our issues page.

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