I really had fun making this dodo. The body started out like most of my animal sculptures, with a cardboard pattern and crumpled paper and masking tape. I intended to take a photo of the pattern, but I was having so much fun putting him together that I forgot to get out the camera. (Does that make me a dodo, too?) The tail was made with wire, burlap and plaster cloth.
Once the armature was done, the experiments started. Instead of the usual paper mache, I used two layers of a very nice plaster cloth. (Hobby store plaster cloth doesn’t work nearly as well). I used the plaster instead of paper mache simply because everything is taking so long to dry this month, and I wanted to get those legs solidly cured so they would support the sculpture as I continued working on it. The plaster cloth also helped me make the scaled feet.
After the plaster had a few days to cure, I added a very thin layer of paper mache clay to smooth everything out and create the detailing around te eyes and wing feathers. More drying time, and then I started to paint.
A dodo is (was) a giant pigeon, but I didn’t want a plain grey sculpture. I gave him a very wild undercoat of a zillion colors, and then added the grey and cream colors on top by stenciling through a small piece of plastic mesh joint compound tape. I kept adding more colors until he felt “done.”
The legs and feet were coated with bronze coating and iron coating, and spritzed with Tiffany green patina. The dark end of the beak was painted with iron coating, and spritzed with darkening patina, which, oddly enough, made nice light-colored spots. The metal coatings and patina were purchased online from brickintheyard.com.