'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' (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.
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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' (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.
(moose antler skull carving, moose antler skull sculpture)

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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)
(moose antler skull carving, moose antler skull sculpture)

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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)
(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' (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' (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 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 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' (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 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' (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' (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.
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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' (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' (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' (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' (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' (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 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' (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)
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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' (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)
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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)
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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.
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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.
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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' (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
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