Loch Arkaig project part 2: Roe Deer and Lynx

Work is moving forward at a good pace now on the Loch Arkaig sculptures. Having sorted through the delivery of driftwood and assorted pieces salvaged from Loch Arkaig, the next phase of the project is to start building up the sculptures. It is great that the pieces will have a tangible connection with their ultimate destination and I was delighted with the assortment of collected wood.

I decided that the best way to approach the commission is to work on all four pieces simultaneously rather than tackle them one at a time. I’m hoping that this approach will result in them complementing one another as a group. There will inevitably be times when one sculpture demands more attention but the aim is to have them all completed in early May.

The roe deer framework was fairly quickly created as I have made one previously and the basic approach is not that different from my horse sculptures. Once I had decided on the pose it was a matter of finding four suitable lengths of wood for the legs and then connecting to the body, neck and head.

The sculpture really started to take shape once I began adding the Loch Arkaig pieces. There are some pieces that suggest an eye or a joint, perhaps the arch of the neck. This is still very early in the process so I don’t make the fixes permanent until I am absolutely certain. As each piece of wood crosses over or between others it helps to secure the structure.

The roe deer is to be stalked by a lynx which is certainly a new subject for me. I try to learn more about the animal by watching videos of its movements as well as photographs from different angles. Sometimes you can get too engrossed in your work and not notice things until you take a step back. I make mental notes as I’m working, perhaps to alter a leg or to keep a look out for suitable pieces of driftwood for the feet.

I love some of the gnarled pieces of driftwood that came down from Loch Arkaig, several of which have already been used in the head of the deer and lynx. I can even smell the pine when fixing some of the pieces!

If I can get the head of the lynx as I want it, I think it will really bring the sculpture alive. The eyes of the sculptures are very important and I will often chop and change features until I have captured something of the spirit of the animal.

In my next blog post I will update you on progress on the wild boar and the very challenging task of creating a capercaillie in full display!

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