So, I'm sure it sounded like yesterday may have been the last tedious day ... BUT IT WASN'T.
Painting began this morning after we set out bass eyes in place, only, painting didn't start with fish.
We began with our pheasant's waddle. It was so frightening to take an airbrush to the pheasant. An airbrush is amazing if you know how to hold it, to operate it, and if you're comfortable. I knew none of the above. The airbrush is a dual action, which means that you push down for air and back for paint. If you want a sharper line, you move closer. If you want a mist, you move back. Well, it sounds easy enough, but if you're close and you pull back for more paint without moving the brush away at the same time, you get what Chip calls a "freak drop." You do NOT, by ANY MEANS, want a "freak drop" to happen. It's a mini-explosion of paint.
Chip put himself through college airbrushing shirts and other novelty items down at "the strip" which is where Osage Beach gets touristy in the summertime. He painted my name on a board as an example today. I can't keep it because it's a 2x4 but it's pretty cool. Note the palm tree and shiny star type things. And the waves. And the seagulls.
We also had to paint the legs on our ducks. With airbrushes, you work in color layers. We hit the legs with a "mallard orange," then a "vivid orange" then a dust of "gill red." We had to build what Chip called hazmat suits for our ducks out of paper so the paint wouldn't get on their feathers. In most cases in taxidermy, you can fix stuff if you make a mistake. Even if you have a terrible hole, or missing fur, or feathers, you can fix something. Well, you absolutely CANNOT fix orange across the breast of a gray mallard.
Then we hit them with a clear gloss that will make them look leathery and less dried out. This will dry clear and matte.
A classmate brought in an elk mount he wanted to fix.
Then we moved on to deer. We had to use "bass belly white" then "natural flesh" (which is pink, practically the color of nobody's flesh, and is politically incorrect,) then "deer brown" (which Chip made up out of rich brown and dark brown,) then "jet black."
The inner ears are white with natural flesh color.
The eyes are painted white, then brown, then have a bit of black on the inside of the lids.
The nose is painted black and then dotted with glossy gel to make it look leathery and wet.
The final result!
Today ended short because of the bad weather. Tomorrow we are going to paint our fish (maybe ... that's been the plan for a while but it keeps getting changed) and airbrush our life-sized mounts the way we did our deer. I will make my fox's blacks blacker and whites whiter. The fish will be frustrating. Thursday we finish our antler plaques, and then build bases for our other things. Friday is the last day! I can't believe how fast this month went.
I came with the idea that this month would help my 3D skills and introduce me to working with new materials and techniques. I figured I'd apply them to whatever I was doing at school (and beyond) and I can't wait to go home and try some new things.
I think I want to open a taxidermy shop after school. Not right away, but at some point.
I was sent this interview with a woman in Brooklyn and I was really inspired by her. She gets to mount beautiful animals for people who want them ... it's less about going on a hunt and mounting your kill. I like that a lot. Plus, I like the idea of owning a real business, and doing art and taxidermy all in the same studio.
This is a short video of how snowy it is at my cabin.
This is a video of me applying the deer's moisture to his nose. Note Chip's appearance in between my deer's antlers. Kinda funny how his face fits right there.