'Short Eared Parliament' (Phase 55) by Shane Wilson

I have finished the garter snake and cleaned up the entire right antler.

'Short Eared Parliament' (Phase 55 - right antler complete) by Shane Wilson
Short Eared Parliament' (right antler) by Shane Wilson

The garter snake’s head extends out from the border, an effect achieved by the use of a small tine, otherwise carved away.

'Short Eared Parliament' (Phase 55 - garter snake complete) by Shane Wilson
Short Eared Parliament' (garter snake) by Shane Wilson

After playing with a number of different textures and approaches to the surface of the snake (scales, stripes, varying combinations) I decided to leave it clean. Less is more.

In order to give the snake’s body life, it has been carved (mostly) in the round as it moves on, over, under and through the border strip and grassy elements.


'Short Eared Parliament' (Phase 55 - lower right antler complete) by Shane Wilson
Short Eared Parliament' (lower right antler) by Shane Wilson

Time now to move to the centre of the sculpture and create the final, signature element: a short eared owl head rendered abstractly on the moose skull.

'Short Eared Parliament' (Phase 55) by Shane Wilson
Short Eared Parliament' by Shane Wilson


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'Short Eared Parliament' (Phase 44) by Shane Wilson

In this phase I have worked the entire right antler, roughing out the border and major elements within the antler including three flying short eared owls, a vole and a garter snake.

'Short Eared Parliament' (Phase 44 - full sculpture) by Shane Wilson
'Short Eared Parliament' (Phase 44 - full sculpture) by Shane Wilson

'Short Eared Parliament' (Phase 44 - right antler) by Shane Wilson
'Short Eared Parliament' (Phase 44 - right antler) by Shane Wilson

'Short Eared Parliament' (upper portion of right antler - three flying short eared owls, over estuary, front) by Shane Wilson
'Short Eared Parliament' (upper portion of right antler - three flying short eared owls, over estuary, front) by Shane Wilson

'Short Eared Parliament' (lower portion of right antler - garter snake and vole in grass, top angle) by Shane Wilson
'Short Eared Parliament' (lower portion of right antler - garter snake and vole in grass, top angle) by Shane Wilson

'Short Eared Parliament' (lower portion of right antler - garter snake and vole in grass, low angle) by Shane Wilson
'Short Eared Parliament' (lower portion of right antler - garter snake and vole in grass, low angle) by Shane Wilson

'Short Eared Parliament' (full sculpture prior to Phase44) by Shane Wilson
'Short Eared Parliament' (full sculpture prior to Phase 44) by Shane Wilson


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'Short Eared Parliament' (Redesign-Lower Right) by Shane Wilson

My dissatisfaction with the design on the lower right antler may have started me down the path to redesigning the background of the entire sculpture.

The pattern of the grasses seemed too random and individualized, missing the essential swirling or vortex patterns of the vole dens I observed on the Nanaimo River Estuary.

'Short Eared Parliament' - original design, lower right
When I revisited the images I had taken of the dens, I discovered that the vortex pattern I originally fell in love with was caused by a bending of organized sheaves of grasses, one sheaf emerging from under another, around the entrance of the vole's den in a triskel-like fashion.


'Short Eared Parliament' - redesign1, lower right
The first attempt above reflects a more literal reading of the pattern. It occurred to me that this pattern was also loosely reflected in the oak tree grouping on the upper part of the left antler. I decided to modify this pattern slightly to make it more interesting and to hint at the structural similarities with the oaks.

'Short Eared Parliament' - redesign2, lower right
After careful consideration, I decided to reduce the number of voles from two to one and situate him or her at the entrance of the den. This indicates to the viewer that the vole is aware of the airborn predators. The fact that the vole is within the safe haven of its den may also give comfort to the viewer, concerned that the vole avoid predation.

The owl skull has been removed entirely and may find a place on the moose skull in an outline form around the Short Eared owl face.


'Short Eared Parliament' - redesign3, lower right
The Garter snake, another prey animal for the Short Eared owl, also attempts to avoid predation by moving carefully through the grasses while on the hunt for a meal of its own.

'Short Eared Parliament' - redesign-final, lower right
In the final variant of this portion of the design, the left sheaf of grass had been redesigned to reflect the final redesign of the oaks.


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'Short Eared Parliament' (Phase 13) by Shane Wilson

The final part of the design will be an owl, containing both curvy and angular elements, to be carved on the moose skull.

'Short Eared Parliament' - Phase 13a - by Shane Wilson

This owl element will primarily consist of the head and face, with abstracted elements radiating outward.

'Short Eared Parliament' - Phase 13c - by Shane Wilson

I will wait on the design of the radiating elements until the carving has progressed, in order to use these elements to tie the entire composition together.

'Short Eared Parliament' - Phase 13b - by Shane Wilson

Okay, time now to let the design sit for a bit before making the first cuts, to allow the design to settle in my mind and, possibly, to add some further refinement ...



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'Short Eared Parliament' (Phase 12) by Shane Wilson

The short eared owls on the left side are complete. Note that, as on the right side, the feather structure will be preserved in the carving, the curvy patterns will occur within the feathers themselves.

'Short Eared Parliament' - Phase 12a - by Shane Wilson

'Short Eared Parliament' - Phase 12b - by Shane Wilson

'Short Eared Parliament' - Phase 12c - by Shane Wilson

'Short Eared Parliament' - Phase 12d - by Shane Wilson

'Short Eared Parliament' - Phase 12e - by Shane Wilson



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'Short Eared Parliament' (Phase 11) by Shane Wilson

The owls and other creatures on the right side are complete. Note that the feather structure will be preserved in the carving, the angular patterns will occur within the feathers themselves.

'Short Eared Parliament' - Phase 11a - by Shane Wilson

'Short Eared Parliament' - Phase 11b - by Shane Wilson

'Short Eared Parliament' - Phase 11c - by Shane Wilson

'Short Eared Parliament' - Phase 11d - by Shane Wilson

'Short Eared Parliament' - Phase 11e - by Shane Wilson


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'Short Eared Parliament' (Phase 10) by Shane Wilson

I have begun to transfer the background design to the antlers themselves. I have outlined where the owls will be located.

'Short Eared Parliament' - Phase 10a - by Shane Wilson

The right antler, containing the flying owls, will have a curvy background theme, while the owls themselves will contain angular elements.

'Short Eared Parliament' - Phase 10b - by Shane Wilson

In this close up shot of the lower portion of the right antler you can see the pattern of the grasses. The voles, garter snake, and owl skull and bones will be situated within and through the grass.

Though it is not evident in the pictures, this portion of the antler tilts down and away from the viewer, hence the choice of smaller elements (voles, snake, skull, bones) and the more abstract grass pattern, to allow the design to 'read' properly in context with the rest of the sculpture.

Had I chosen to include a larger design element here, another owl for example, it would have appeared flattened or pancaked when viewed in context with the rest of the sculpture.

'Short Eared Parliament' - Phase 10c - by Shane Wilson

The left antler, containing the roosting, perching and nesting owls will have an angular background theme, while the owls themselves will contain rounded, curvy elements.

'Short Eared Parliament' - Phase 10d - by Shane Wilson

I'll turn next to each of the owls to create individualized designs within the living forms.



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