This graceful roadrunner resides in the Hill Country backyard garden of Warren and Adrienne Armstrong, where they often retire in the evenings with a glass of wine.
I started the design process for this sculpture by researching the shape of the bird. I then fashioned a clay model, paying attention to the shapes and lines that make one think ‘roadrunner’ at first glance. Thinking back on it, I’ve done several bird sculptures to date, so there must be something in me that’s enamored of birds...
The roadrunner is no exception. Their bodies are elongated, they’re slender, and they’ve got fascinating feet (two toes forward, two toes back, each with a fabulous spiky barb at the tip that’s really fun to recreate in sculpture).
After designing the clay model, I made a maquette (a smaller version, a sample) to make sure I was familiar with the lines and shape of the bird. For the body, I used the tack-and-bend process embraced by sculptor Tom Gingras, and I blacksmithed the beak and barbs on the feet. The maquette is about a third the size of the commissioned sculpture.
It was important to visit the patio where said bird would be residing, so a drive to Warren and Adrienne’s -- coincidentally during peak wildflower season along Hwy. 71 -- was warranted. We drank tea on the patio and decided on the best sculpture dimensions for the space.
Once the sculpture was finished, we introduced the chaparral to his new home and celebrated with some bubbly this time (instead of tea!..).
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