Barbary Lion

 

The Barbary Lion (Panthera leo leo) is a lion subspecies that once roamed much of North Africa, including the Atlas Mountains, hence they are also called Atlas lions. Although none have been sighted in their natural habitat since the late 1960s, their distinctive traits such as their very dark and long-haired manes that extended over the shoulder and under the belly have been observed in zoo specimens, possibly indicating the survival of the subspecies in captivity. The Barbary lion was generally larger in size than the average African lion, and their overall thicker manes covering more of their body is believed to have been a genetic adaptation to the colder climate of the Atlas Mountains. This is actually my second attempt at sculpting a lion, my first version, made almost exactly 2 years ago, was for the Water Bearer and the Lion. I based the pose on an illustration by Joseph Bassett Holder, an American zoologist and physician (and evidently also quite a remarkable artist). My thanks again to the Ceramic Art Studio and Shop.

 

Barbary Lion

 

Barbary Lion

 

Barbary Lion

 

Barbary Lion

 

Barbary Lion

 

Barbary Lion

 

Barbary Lion

 

Barbary Lion

 

Barbary Lion

 

Barbary Lion

 

Barbary Lion

Wet clay model

Victory of Samothrace

 

I first saw the Winged Victory of Samothrace at the Louvre in the summer of 1989. Back then I didn't truly appreciate its historical significance, but I recall being mesmerized by the sheer elegance and beauty of the pose. The goddess Nike appeared to be confidently striding forward, perhaps just upon alighting, as her hips and lower torso gracefully swing in balance with her extended right leg. My attempt was to sculpt the winged goddess Nike as a tribute to the unknown 2nd century Hellenistic artist of this timeless masterpiece. Sculpting her with kiln fired pottery clay however, allowed - or required me rather - to take some artistic liberties with her hair style and positioning of her arms. Incidentally, historians have a fairly good guess as to what the entire piece may have looked like prior to its destruction, based on ancient coins and a recovered right hand. There is a very informative video on YouTube on the restoration of the Winged Victory by the Louvre that explains this. My thanks again to the Ceramic Art Studio and Shop.

 

Victory of Samothrace

 

Victory of Samothrace

A hairline split formed across her neck during the second firing. This was probably due to the weight of her wings pulling her upper torso back while the terra cotta softened during the firing. The side benefit was the angle and curvature of the wings actually improved overall.

Victory of Samothrace

 

Victory of Samothrace

 

Victory of Samothrace

 

Victory of Samothrace

 

Victory of Samothrace

Wing detail - I actually tried to copy every feather on both wings from the Louvre piece.

 

Victory of Samothrace

Every feather...

 

Victory of Samothrace

Victory at night

 

Victory of Samothrace

Wet clay model at the earliest stage - total sculpting time at this point was about 8 hours.

 

Victory of Samothrace

Wet clay model - this is one of my favorite wallpapers. It captures the piece during my favorite stage of sculpting. Notice the steel support (coat hanger) that held the model vertically until the clay set.

Great White Shark

 

The great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias), is one of the largest living predators, second only to killer whales to which they are on rare occasions prey. Great white females are larger than the males of the species and can grow in excess of 20 feet in length and over 4,000 lbs in weight. According to a recent study, Great white sharks have been discovered to live up 70 years or more. Also called "white death" in some cultures, they are responsible for the largest number of reported unprovoked fatal shark attacks on humans, giving them a deservedly terrifying reputation. I sculpted my great white based on an actual specimen on display at the Tustin, CA location of one of my favorite restaurants, the Crab Cooker (photo below). My thanks again to the Ceramic Art Studio and Shop.

 

Great White Shark

 

Great White Shark

 

Great White Shark

 

Great White Shark

 

Great White Shark

 

Great White Shark

Wet Clay Model

 

Great White Shark

Wet Clay Model

 

Great White Shark

Great White Shark specimen at the Crab Cooker in Tustin, CA

Polar Bear and Cub

 

The polar bear (Ursus maritimus), is a carnivorous bear whose native range is in the arctic circle. Polar bears are the largest living land carnivores, and adult males can weigh over 1,500 lbs with females typically at half the size. Polar bears spend much of their lives on ice sheets at sea hunting seals, their primary food source. Polar bear mothers are noted for their affection toward their offspring and their valor in defending them. I sculpted this polar bear mother and her cub based on a stock photo. The cub also helped to support the central mass of the mother bear, and I was pleased with the symbolism of that. My thanks again to the Ceramic Art Studio and Shop.

 

Polar Bear and Cub

 

Polar Bear and Cub

 

Polar Bear and Cub

 

Polar Bear and Cub

 

Polar Bear and Cub

Wet Clay Model

 

Polar Bear and Cub

Wet Clay Model

Panda

The Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) is a true bear native to China. Unlike most bears (omnivores to fully carnivores), pandas are primarily herbivores with their diet consisting of 99% bamboo. Pandas weigh on average of 250 lbs and live between 20 to 30 years. A newborn panda bear is only 1/800 of the mother's weight, proportionately the smallest of any placental mammal. Pandas also have a unique adaptation in that their thumb is actually a modified wrist bone, resulting in five fingers and an opposable "thumb," great for gripping bamboo stalks like this junior panda is doing as he contently rests against a hollow tree trunk. My thanks again to the Ceramic Art Studio and Shop.

 

Panda

 

Panda

 

Panda

 

Panda

 

Panda

 

Panda

 

Panda

Wet Clay Model