'Yukon Seasons' (Finshed) by Shane Wilson (carved moose antler and skull)

Yukon Seasons, 2003 by Shane Wilson (carved moose antler and skull)

LINKS: Work in Progress Slide Shows: Centre, Left Antler, Right Antler
(moose antler skull carving, moose antler skull sculpture)

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'Yukon Seasons' (Left Moose Antler - Phase 14) by Shane Wilson

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, left phase 14 (carved moose antler and skull)

In this final phase, the ice fog has been cleaned up and the tips have been reduced to match the right side.

LINKS:
In Progress Slide Show - Left Antler
(moose antler skull carving, moose antler skull sculpture)

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'Yukon Seasons' (Moose Skull - Phase 14) by Shane Wilson

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, centre phase 14 (carved moose antler and skull)

In this view, you can see the entire skull with the antler bases visible and cleaned up.

LINKS:
In Progress Slide Show - Skull
(moose antler skull carving, moose antler skull sculpture)

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'Yukon Seasons' (Moose Skull - Phase 13) by Shane Wilson

The final two snowflakes are complete. The first one is a border with a hole penetrating the skull to allowing more light to pass through, lightening the overall appearance of the skulls solidity. The second snowflake contains the initials of the commissioner of this work - AB.

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, centre phase 13 (carved moose antler and skull)

Note what appears to be a crack in the outer tail feather of the raven. It is part of the natural fissuring of the skull.
(moose antler skull carving, moose antler skull sculpture)

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'Yukon Seasons' (Moose Skull - Phase 12) by Shane Wilson

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, centre phase 12 (carved moose antler and skull)

The snowflake behind the raven on the right side has been completed with a snowflake pattern. It was quite difficult to manoeuver the carving tools to accomplish this portion of the carving, due to the close proximity of the right antler base.
(moose antler skull carving, moose antler skull sculpture)

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'Yukon Seasons' (Moose Skull - Phase 11) by Shane Wilson

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, centre phase 11 (carved moose antler and skull)

In this phase the centre portion of the skull has been cleaned up and the pattern matched on both sides of the bridge of the nose.

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, centre phase 11 (carved moose antler and skull)
(moose antler skull carving, moose antler skull sculpture)

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'Yukon Seasons' (Left Moose Antler - Phase 13) by Shane Wilson

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, left phase 13 (carved moose antler and skull)

The crane is finished along with the water pattern, flowing beneath the ice. The ice has been cleaned up and finalized.

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, left phase 13 (carved moose antler and skull)
(moose antler skull carving, moose antler skull sculpture)

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'Yukon Seasons' (Moose Skull - Phase 10) by Shane Wilson

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, centre phase 10 (carved moose antler and skull)

Prior to finishing with a dark oak stain/varnish, the uprights were tailored to fit the carving and the whole was sanded. The stain was applied in three coats, with a light, steel wool sanding before the second and third coats.

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, centre phase 10 (carved moose antler and skull)
(moose antler skull carving, moose antler skull sculpture)

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'Yukon Seasons' (Right Moose Antler - Phase 14) by Shane Wilson

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, right phase 14 (carved moose antler and skull)

In this phase the bushes, rear of the lower bear, the salmon in its mouth and the water have all been cleaned up and finalized.

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, right phase 14 (carved moose antler and skull)

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, right phase 14 (carved moose antler and skull)

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, right phase 14 (carved moose antler and skull)

LINKS: In Progress Slide Show - Right Antler
(moose antler skull carving, moose antler skull sculpture)

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'Yukon Seasons' (Moose Skull - Phase 9) by Shane Wilson

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, centre phase 9 (carved moose antler and skull)

In this phase, I have designed and refined the stand for the carving. It has been created in such a way as to minimize its presence, obscuring the sculpture as little as possible. The stand is made from a large oak plank: cut, planed and routered. The uprights are drilled from below, then secured by lag bolts and glue.

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, centre phase 9 (carved moose antler and skull)
(moose antler skull carving, moose antler skull sculpture)

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'Yukon Seasons' (Right Moose Antler - Phase 13) by Shane Wilson

The micro-motor carving tool is still not back, but I thought I'd share the work done with the Foredom. It is a larger instrument with a flexible shaft that can be a little awkward for working the finer details, but things went pretty well. The Foredom has come in very handy a number of times for bulk removal with larger 1/4" burrs. This is the first time I have used it for fine work, using 1/8" and 3/32" burrs. I'll clean up the lines one more time when the Elector returns.

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, right phase 13 (carved moose antler and skull)

I changed the flow of the waterfall and decided to eliminate the raised border around the rear of the bear. My initial thought for this side was to create a border with continuous design elements from the carving within. I eliminated this from the upper half of the design, and it just didn't make sense on the lower half, with the exception of the water below. My problem with carrying the composition into the border was that it flattened out the design and in some places created visual confusion. Thus, the water on the left flows from the border; the buck brush on the right border has been preserved and the tip on the left has been removed, to create the illusion of the land moving into the distance; the bear's rear goes out of the antler (my hope is that the eye will fill in the gaps) and the water flows around the back feet and down into the pool below.
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'Yukon Seasons' (Left Moose Antler - Phase 12) by Shane Wilson

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, left phase 12 (carved moose antler and skull)

The effect that I was attempting to create with the crane and the ice was one of melding them into one. They are inseparable in nature, the cranes migrate north when the ice goes out and south when the ice returns.

Originally, the crane was to be represented abstractly in the shapes of the ice. No one 'got it', so I added a bit of definition to the crane ice blocks. Still no one really seemed to 'see' the crane. In the previous phase, I defined the crane and kept it merged with the ice. But the more I considered this section over the past year, the more it looked to me like the crane was trapped in or crushed by the ice. So I removed the ice blocks from over the crane, created a back, defined the rear wing vanishing over the edge of the sculpture, and tied all the body parts together, since they were on different planes of the carving.

I am pleased with the effect, as it gives the appearance now of the crane flying over the ice.
(moose antler skull carving, moose antler skull sculpture)

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'Yukon Seasons' (Right Moose Antler - Phase 12) by Shane Wilson

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, right phase 12 (carved moose antler and skull)

I have included two 'in progress' images with this update.

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, right phase 12 (carved moose antler and skull)

The first picture shows the head and neck completed, the front leg in a nearly finished stage, the shoulders, back and chest in the first stages of carving and the rear leg as it is originally sketched out. The second picture shows the carving with the bear finished up to the rear leg. If you scan back and forth between the images, you can spot the differences and refinements, especially along the front leg. The third pic shows the bear in the context of the other figures on the antler.

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, right phase 12 (carved moose antler and skull)

I think my Elector GX micromotor carving tool has finally given up - so it will need to be sent off for repairs. My guess is that the bearings are shot and need replacing. The handpiece was heating up prior to it ceasing function. This will slow things down for a while, but I'll see what headway can be made with the flexible shaft Foredom in the interim.
(moose antler skull carving, moose antler skull sculpture)

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'Yukon Seasons' (Right Moose Antler - Phase 11) by Shane Wilson

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, right phase 11 (carved moose antler and skull)

It feels so good to be working on this bear. The lines and curves melt underneath my blades in sumptuous abandon, revealing what, I hope, looks like a wet bear with fish. Pure joy.

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, right phase 11 (carved moose antler and skull)

I have purchased an "Ott Light" to aid me in my endeavors, and the difference is truly remarkable. The full spectrum, florescent floor lamp, was developed for Disney to provide natural-artificial light for a flower photoshoot. I don't know how I have managed all these years without it! It is so easy on the eyes, reducing strain and illuminating hard to see areas that I may not have treated adequately in the past.
(moose antler skull carving, moose antler skull sculpture)

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'Yukon Seasons' (Moose Skull - Phase 8) by Shane Wilson

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, centre phase 8 (carved moose antler and skull)

I have decided to break up the lower part of the nose design and introduce an element of space that should add visual interest. I am not sure what the final form of this design will be, so I'll live with the current modifications for a while and see what comes to me.

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, centre phase 8 (carved moose antler and skull)
(moose antler skull carving, moose antler skull sculpture)

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'Yukon Seasons' (Right Moose Antler - Phase 10) by Shane Wilson

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, right phase 10 (carved moose antler and skull)

In this phase, I have designed the cut patterns for the hair. I am attempting to create a design that will be pleasing to the eye (since it represents a large portion of the sculpture) yet still conveys the impression of a wet bear.
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'Yukon Seasons' (Right Moose Antler - Phase 9) by Shane Wilson

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, right phase 9 (carved moose antler and skull)

I have included a pic of the entire sculpture so that you can get a sense of the whole.

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, right phase 9 (carved moose antler and skull)

In this phase the grizzly cub has been completed, save only for a few minor adjustments. The horizon line, which passed behind both bears, has been removed.

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, right phase 9 (carved moose antler and skull)

I am now using a Canon S30 digital camera with a 3.2 megapixel image size. My hope is that you will see greater detail with a little more clarity.
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'Yukon Seasons' (Right Moose Antler - Phase 8) by Shane Wilson

I have completely redone the 'frame' or antler border. Not happy with the effect of carrying the background lines of mountain and sun onto high relief along the border, as it flattened out the image, I have carved away these effects. Replacing these with a continuation of the sun ray and insect theme, it seems much more pleasing. The mountain and sun appear to recede and the rays carry the wavy pattern of sun and mountain into the lower half of the antler, where the pattern changes to water. The insects now appear to cluster, as they are wont to do. I have refined their shapes, adding larger and smaller holes to give the impression of 3D clusters, with some bugs closer and some further from the viewer.

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, right phase 8

Another element of the design that was troubling me and seemed to flatten the scene, was the connection point of mountain line and mother bear. Since the medium of antler is 3D and can be viewed from multiple points, the mountain and horizon line did not recede as in a 2D drawing or picture, where the use of darker and lighter shades push the background into the distance. I decided to create the effect of distance or separation using another visual illusion, whereby the background around a near object does not seem to exist, blocked by a kind of halo effect around the object. While this adds to the fragility of the carving, I decided to cut the mountain from around the mother bear.

The horizon line will also be removed along the orange line, once the cub has been roughed out. In the meantime it will remain for support. Since it is not possible to put material back, once removed, I used the clone brush in Paint Shop Pro to eliminate these sections in a digital image, to see if the effect worked. It did, to my satisfaction, and I think the initial removal of the mountain connections would bear this out.

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, right phase 8 (carved moose antler and skull)

The sun and mother bear have been completely reworked and refined, bringing them to a finished stage. So it's on to the cub and the buck brush in the foreground.

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, right phase 8 (carved moose antler and skull)

I think I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel! How much longer 'till the whole is done?
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'Yukon Seasons' (Moose Skull - Phase 7) by Shane Wilson

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, centre phase 7 (carved moose antler and skull)

In this phase I completed the snowflakes on the face of the skull (those on the rear remain to be done.) Note the patterns on the left snowflakes pick up design elements from the right of the sculpture and the left pick up elements of the right. This serves to balance the sculpture and provide unity.

The raven has been sharpened up considerably, as has the ice fog grill.


Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, centre phase  (carved moose antler and skull)
(moose antler skull carving, moose antler skull sculpture)

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'Yukon Seasons' (Right Moose Antler - Phase 7) by Shane Wilson

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, right phase 7 (carved moose antler and skull)

This phase has been one of the trickiest and most time consuming to date. The mother bear in the summer scene has been further defined. The section of antler is extremely thin here and the challenge has been to design the mother so that she looks substantial from the probable vantage point of the viewer. The antler curves toward the viewer, exposing the thinness of the antler along its edge. The best solution has been to carve the body texture of the bear deeply in relief, permitting a rounding of the multiple surfaces, while finishing the nose and mouth area in the round, providing a pleasing illusion of substance which works from every vantage point.

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, right phase 7 (carved moose antler and skull)

The brown marks are made by a pencil crayon and serve as reference points for further refinement. I find that pencil crayon is preferable to pencil, as pencil leaves fragments of graphite which persist in the pores of the antler. The pencil crayon's waxy consistency tends to remain on the surface of the carving and comes away easily during subsequent work.

The small holes represent Yukon's ever present summer environment: insects. Yukon's summers belong to the blood suckers, save in the small oases human bug killing technologies have carved out of the wilderness, which are our towns. With such an influence, nay, dominance over the summer landscape, I felt it necessary to include them in the sculpture, along with the creature we typically assign to that role.
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'Yukon Seasons' (Left Moose Antler - Phase 11) by Shane Wilson

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, left phase 11

The Sandhill Crane has morphed again into a more realistic bird. Co-incidently, while I was working on this part of the sculpture the Sandhill Cranes migrated through, passing over my studio in flocks of hundreds and thousands. I was able to observe their feather structure and flight pattern with an eye to duplicating the same in antler. It was indeed fortuitous that they passed by when they did, because the pictures I was using for reference were simply not adequate! There is a little more work yet to do on the receding wing, which will be attended to later, when I change the position of the work on the carving bench.

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, left phase 11 (carved moose antler and skull)

I have found that my back has been giving me a little trouble lately, due to inadequate support from my old chair and the need to work in a reaching or stretched position. I broke down and purchased a new office chair, with a very comfortable seat, firm back support, adjustable arm rests and the ability to raise and lower the chair on a gas cylinder. The new chair has made a real difference, providing great support while allowing my hands and arms to work, on each section of the antler at a consistent height and with consistent support.
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'Yukon Seasons' (Left Moose Antler - Phase 10) by Shane Wilson

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, left phase 10 (carved moose antler and skull)

The wolf has been completed in this phase.

It was a challenge creating the impression that the head is angled toward the moose. I wonder if the medium lends itself better to relief efforts that are parallel with the surface of the antler. Though it is technically possible to carve anything that can be drawn, the surface and thickness of the antler creates its own impression of the form which militates against images which are angled into or away from the viewer across the antler surface. A case in point is the carving I did for FNAWS, 'Faro Fannin.' In that carving the sheep's head is turned on an angle toward the viewer. Though the carving is correctly executed, the viewer does not necessarily pick up on the details of the carving, such as the 3/4 view of the nose, which would indicate the head is angled toward the viewer. Instead, the viewer sees the head as a profile and assumes the sheep is looking away from the viewer at a right angle and is then puzzled why the back horn is so much further ahead than the front horn.

It is hard to overcome the limitations of the medium!

If the image were to be carved on a solid background it might be a little easier to introduce the subtler angles, but I am not willing to sacrifice the illusion of fully rounded figures. Each of the figures in this piece are set on an angle, and they seem to work fine here, but in future I may limit the figures to profiles.


Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, left phase 10 (carved moose antler and skull)
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'Yukon Seasons' (Left Moose Antler - Phase 9) by Shane Wilson

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, left phase 9 (carved moose antler and skull)

The moose has been refined in this stage with a relief design meant to portray something of the power of the animal in its winter coat. You can see the top of the wolf marked with the pattern to be carved in the next phase.

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, left phase 9 (carved moose antler and skull)
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'Yukon Seasons' (Left Moose Antler - Phase 8) by Shane Wilson

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, left phase 8 (carved moose antler and skull)

In this phase, the trees have been refined, the moose and wolf have been mapped out for refinement and the antlers on the moose have been begun.

I have tried to capture some of the unique looks of the various varieties of trees in winter. The aspens are slender and barren of foliage. The pines are blanketed with snow in that Christmassy way, and the gnarly pine supports stooks of snow on its hardy satellites of growth.


Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, left phase 8 (carved moose antler and skull)
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'Yukon Seasons' (Left Moose Antler - Phase 7) by Shane Wilson

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, left phase 7 (carved moose antler and skull)

In this phase I have carved the snowflakes and redesigned and roughed out the spring ice and sandhill crane.

Since every snowflake in nature is unique, I decided to carve each snowflake with a unique design. Some resemble real snowflakes and others pick up patterns from the rest of the carving. As such, this allows for the environmental element of snow to serve as itself and as a unique border, blending harmoniously with the whole. Since there is a large sun on the right antler, representing the sun's omnipotence during the summer, there is a correspondingly smaller and less prominent sun/snowflake on this antler (8th from top right). The snowflakes above the sun take on the shapes of winter's night, symbolically representing stars, constellations, the moon, northern lights and the north star (first on right, above the ice fog pattern).

Needless to say, the carving of the snowflakes was delicate and painstaking, involving the NSK micromotor tool and small dental bits.


Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, left phase 7 (carved moose antler and skull)

Moving down along the sculpture, you come to the section representing spring, with large blocks of ice breaking up. Though it may have been difficult to see, there was an abstract sandhill crane built into the arrangement of the ice blocks. When I came to refine the area, I noticed that the crane looked a bit like it had been crushed under the ice, splayed out like a bug on a windshield.

So it has been redesigned. The crane (a little more realistically portrayed) now appears to be in flight, emerging through the ice, as spring and new life emerge from the deep-freeze of winter. It has been roughed out in this phase; I'll come back to it again after refining the winter figures in the next phase.
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'Yukon Seasons' (Moose Skull - Phase 6) by Shane Wilson

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, centre phase 6 (carved moose antler and skull)

The skull is almost complete, except for the snow flakes, final clean-up and sanding. On the right side the pattern has become a dall sheep horn in thin relief. The left side remains unchanged, a combination of ice breaking up and water flowing over from the other side. The raven has been completely roughed out and needs only to be sharpened and sanded. The contrail flowing out from behind the raven proved distracting, ruining the visual flow between the antlers, and so has been removed.

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, centre phase 6 (carved moose antler and skull)
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'Yukon Seasons' (Moose Skull - Phase 5) by Shane Wilson

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, centre phase 5 (carved moose antler and skull)

After considerable thought and examination of the structure of the skull, I decided to fashion the bridge of the nose into a screen, penetrating the ice-fog shapes through the bone, instead of displaying them in relief. I think the effect is quite striking, as it allows the negative space within the skull to emerge through the openings, giving the whole a feeling of lightness and depth.

In this phase, I have also cleaned up the back of the two antlers, which had remained rough until now, and also further cleaned up the interior of the skull, refining some of the inner lines and lines along the nose.
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'Yukon Seasons' (Right Moose Antler - Phase 6) by Shane Wilson

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, right phase 6 (carved moose antler and skull)

The bear and fish have been further refined and await the final detailing.

The water is almost finished, with interesting patterns in the lower palm of the antler and around the lower border. I have added a whirlpool design to two of the lower tines and on the shaft of the antler. The area around the butt of the antler has been cleaned up but retains the original shapes to represent splashing water.


Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, right phase 6 (carved moose antler and skull)
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'Yukon Seasons' (Right Moose Antler - Phase 5) by Shane Wilson

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, right phase 5

In this phase, I have worked the upper portion of the right antler, further refining the planes and shapes. The eye and mouth regions of the two bears have been left to a later phase. My decision to make the border portion blocky and square may not work on the tines, which seem to give the appearance of being cut off. I'll leave them for the moment and see how they look when the whole right side has been worked for the second time.

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, right phase 5 (carved moose antler and skull)
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'Yukon Seasons' (Left Moose Antler - Phase 6) by Shane Wilson

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, left phase 6 (carved moose antler and skull)

The ice fog, represented by raised, random triangle shapes, has been carved into the right side of the border of the left antler and the wolf has been roughed in, in a rudimentary fashion.

I am not sure whether to carve a bit of the ice fog below the wolf, or leave that space blank.


Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, left phase 6 (carved moose antler and skull)

Ice fog is the same as normal fog, except composed of tiny ice crystals instead of water droplets. It generally forms around bodies of open water or settlements at temperatures of 40 degrees (C or F) or colder with no air movement.
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'Yukon Seasons' (Left Moose Antler - Phase 5) by Shane Wilson

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, left phase 5 (carved moose antler and skull)

A great deal of work has gone into this phase of the left antler. The moose, river ice and snowflakes have all been roughed in. The refining of the moose and the detailing of the snowflakes will be attended to in a later phase.

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, left phase 5 (carved moose antler and skull)

I have decided to carve the base of the antler, where it joins the skull, in a way which reflects the nature of ice, thus the overlapping geometric shapes. The base of the other side will be carved almost as is, to represent flowing water in a splashing effect, as over rocks in a stream.

The background of each antler will be carved to contrast with the major shapes represented on the antler. Thus the background carving on the tines of the left side will be rounded to contrast with the geometric emphasis of the ice and snow. Consequently, the right side tines will be carved more sharply to contrast with the smooth flowing lines of the water, land and sun.

Please do not despair about the blockiness or 'rivet-like' quality of the snowflakes. Each will be carved with a unique design or pattern, reflective of the absolutely unique character of every real-world snowflake!


Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, left phase 5 (carved moose antler and skull)
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'Yukon Seasons' (Moose Skull - Phase 4) by Shane Wilson

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, centre phase 4 (carved moose antler and skull)

I have focused on the raven this time. In order to get the wing and tail feather structure right it was necessary to observe ravens soaring in the wild.
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'Yukon Seasons' (Left Moose Antler - Phase 4) by Shane Wilson

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, left phase 4 (carved moose antler and skull)

Similar to the fourth phase for the right side, I have roughed out the main planes with both straight and tree shaped burrs of various sizes. I find it works well to define a plane on the side furthest from the viewer with a smaller straight burr, then remove the material toward that line with a tree burr and finish with the straight burr to clean up the line. I find that this process repeats itself throughout the roughing out process, using burrs of various sizes depending on the area being worked.
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'Yukon Seasons' (Right Moose Antler - Phase 4) by Shane Wilson

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, right phase 4 (carved moose antler and skull)

I have roughed out the main planes with both straight and tree shaped burrs of various sizes. I find it works well to define a plane on the side furthest from the viewer with a smaller straight burr, then remove the material toward that line with a tree burr and finish with the straight burr to clean up the line. I find that this process repeats itself throughout the roughing out process, using burrs of various sizes depending on the area being worked.

One visitor to my studio commented that the carving looks to be almost completed. It would certainly be great if that were true, but the majority of time has yet to be spent on the details and finishing. The analogy I often use is that of the building of a structure. Once the shell is up, it appears the building is nearly completed. But that is deceiving, because the inside work always takes most of the time.
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'Yukon Seasons' (Moose Skull - Phase 3) by Shane Wilson

I have begun to rough out the shapes on the skull. You can see the raven, as well as the snowflakes, water and ice patterns beginning to emerge. I am a little uncertain about the trail behind the raven. It is meant to be an indication of the wake behind the bird as it flies through the ice fog, but it looks a little more like an extension of the tail at this point. I'll pursue the design a little further before deciding on whether or not to remove it.

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, centre phase 3 (carved moose antler and skull)

What you can't see in this shot are the wonderful holes emerging in the design in the thin sections along the side of the skull. I am going to play with these a little more and show you the results next time I update this section of the sculpture.
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'Yukon Seasons' (Right Moose Antler - Phase 3) by Shane Wilson

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, right phase 3 (carved moose antler and skull)

I decided to leave the cuts that I had planned for the water falling behind the 'fall' bear until the carving proceeded a little further. It may be that the three sections of falling water will look best carved in relief. If not, then it will be appropriate to remove the planned sections at that time. The key with carving is don't take it off until you're sure.
(moose antler skull carving, moose antler skull sculpture)

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'Yukon Seasons' (Left Moose Antler - Phase 3) by Shane Wilson

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, left phase 3 (carved moose antler and skull)

This phase saw the removal of the antler forming the negative spaces. In addition to a counterweight, an assistant helped steady the work, while I removed the material using a scroll saw. As in other carvings, the scroll saw blade used was multidirectional. It is important to ensure that you have many blades, since they break rather frequently. With the counterweight system bearing most of the weight, and with an assistant helping to steady the work, I went through far fewer blades than usual. But they do wear out and break after a few cuts.
(moose antler skull carving, moose antler skull sculpture)

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'Yukon Seasons' (Moose Skull - Phase 2) by Shane Wilson

This section of the sculpture has changed the most from the original plan. This is due in large part to the fact that the migratory bird motif entering from one side and the salmon swimming up on the other side, was not going to work. The scale was wrong and the strength of the base section of the antlers needed to be preserved, due to the fact that the finished sculpture will be mounted by those sections.

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, centre phase 2 (carved moose antler and skull)

What I have done instead is to carry the themes of ice floes from the left, and water from the right, down onto and across the skull. A raven, representing all four seasons, is situated, flying along the top of the skull, between the antlers. The ice fog and snow motifs are set down the centre of the skull, in the 'air' along the path of the raven. On the right side of the skull, two curly patterns further represent spring as emerging plant life (fern: fiddle-heads).
(moose antler skull carving, moose antler skull sculpture)

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'Yukon Seasons' (Right Moose Antler - Phase 2) by Shane Wilson

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, right phase 2 (carved moose antler and skull)

On the right side, the design elements have been extended from within the composition out onto the border. In some places, the lines will match exactly, whereas in other places the lines are a little out of sink, as if a long object were viewed, partly submerged in water. I will maintain an edge between the border and the composition, in order to entice the viewer around to the proper perpendicular angle for viewing, as if to get a better look through a window at the scene.

The background elements in the composition will be cut out in an outline pattern, suggesting mountains, a lake, the river up which the salmon swim, and even some of the salmon in the river itself. This approach allows me to include a great deal of information about the two scenes of summer and fall as background, while allowing the bulk of the relief work to be used within the figurative elements. Otherwise, if the mountains and the river were done as objects with mass, thereby consuming more of the depth of the antler for greater relief treatment, the figures would have less depth of material available, appearing flatter against a solid background, and not as interesting.
(moose antler skull carving, moose antler skull sculpture)

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'Yukon Seasons' (Left Moose Antler - Phase 2) by Shane Wilson

Well over 150 hours has been spent on this phase. Once the drawings were transferred to the antler, it was necessary to create the remainder of the design in such a way that the animals received maximum exposure for relief work and still looked reasonable from all angles.

Part of the challenge with this piece has been to create a design that is pleasing from the front, as the work will most likely be viewed initially from this angle. If you note from the initial pic of the whole, the antlers are tilted in towards the centre. This means that it was necessary to incorporate the borders of each antler into the overall design, so that the eye is drawn into the composition and the viewer moves unconsciously into a position to see each antler from its most advantageous angle. Otherwise, the relief work, which is intended primarily to be viewed from the perpendicular, will seem flat, distorted and poorly executed.


Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, left phase 2 (carved moose antler and skull)

On the left side border, I have chosen to represent the predominant atmospheric conditions during winter in the Yukon, snow and ice fog. These create the impression of a frame around the central composition, enticing the viewer to move into a better position to see the relief work from the proper angle. These two design elements, snow and ice fog, are represented by geometric shapes, hexagons and triangles, and will be carved in shallow relief and of different sizes to represent depth of field, as if the viewer was in the midst of a snow fall or peering through ice fog on a -40 degree day.

The trees at the top of the antler are either stripped of leaves (deciduous) or burdened with snow (coniferous). They are meant to appear at various distances from the viewer - and the ground, composed of negative space, is meant to be covered with snow. In the winter, there is normally less snow beneath the trees, so I have chosen to ground each tree by creating the image of an ovoid depression (in nature, a negative space) as a positive space, relief element. (How true, in art, that often to achieve a realistic effect, "you must 'lie' in order to tell the 'truth'"!)

The moose and the wolf are surrounded by the continuation of negative space, the continued representation of snow on the ground. The back right leg of the moose, seems to disappear behind the wolf because it is in the deep snow. In fact, wolves are able to hunt moose in the winter when the moose are slowed breaking through the crust into deep snow. The wolves, with their large paws and lighter bodies, remain above the crust, retaining superior maneuverability. The lower border of the winter scene is a positive representation of snow on the ground. Note, the paw of the wolf barely sinking into the skiff of powdered snow above the crust.

The segue into spring occurs below this line, with the bank of a river. The rotting blocks of ice that normally line the banks of a river in the spring are represented by the angular edge. The negative space below this represents open water, which always seems to appear along the banks of both rivers and lakes. The larger geometric shapes below the open water, represent the large blocks of ice that race downstream, colliding with each other in their chaotic race for the sea, and which often form the ice jams which cause flooding in riverside communities throughout Yukon and Alaska.

As a final element of spring, I had intended to morph the ice flows into migratory birds, however, the design just didn't work when applied to the antler. Instead, I have created an abstract Sandhill Crane within the ice flow itself. The wings and tail project over the border of the antler, while the neck and head extend along the shaft of the antler that attaches to the skull. The Sandhill Cranes are my favorite migratory bird, as they pass over my home in Faro each spring (and fall) by the tens of thousands.
(moose antler skull carving, moose antler skull sculpture)

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'Yukon Seasons' (Moose Skull - Phase 1) by Shane Wilson

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, centre phase 1 (carved moose antler and skull)

In the initial design, the migratory birds 'fly' down towards the nose of the skull on the other side. This will lead into the fall pattern of salmon spawning, up from the nose on this side and into the antler, to be caught by the grizzly.

The major seasons of summer and winter are therefore represented on the main portions of each antler, with the transition seasons of spring and fall forming the transition between the antlers and over the skull.
(moose antler skull carving, moose antler skull sculpture)

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'Yukon Seasons' (Right Moose Antler - Phase 1) by Shane Wilson

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, right phase 1 (carved moose antler and skull)

As noted in the commentary on the other drawing, the migratory birds will 'fly' down towards the nose of the skull on the other side. This will lead into the fall pattern of salmon spawning, up from the nose on this side and into the antler, to be caught by the grizzly.

The major seasons of summer and winter are therefore represented on the main portions of each antler, with the transition seasons of spring and fall forming the transition between the antlers and over the skull.

Work on this sculpture is scheduled to start in April 2001.
(moose antler skull carving, moose antler skull sculpture)

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'Yukon Seasons' (Left Moose Antler - Phase 1) by Shane Wilson

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, left phase 1 (carved moose antler and skull)

In order to represent the four seasons of Yukon, I decided to use animals engaged in typical seasonal activities. This drawing will be done on the left antler, as you face the carving. The winter scene on the top, changes to spring through the representation of ice breaking up, morphing into birds migrating back to the Yukon for their annual ritual of nesting and rearing young. The birds will 'fly' off the antler and down towards the nose of the skull. This will lead into the fall pattern of salmon spawning up from the nose on the other side and into the antler on the right.
(moose antler skull carving, moose antler skull sculpture)

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'Yukon Seasons' (Beginning) by Shane Wilson (carved moose antlers and skull)

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, beginning (carved moose antler and skull)

This commission will represent the four seasons of Yukon. The commissioner's request was that the commission be carved on a full moose skull with antlers.
(moose antler skull carving, moose antler skull sculpture)

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