Let's finish yesterday's post about reconstructing the feathered dinosaur Mei long. For a pose as unusual as this, I knew I had to build a maquette to understand the three dimensional spiraling and overlapping of the form. Where should that tucked leg go? And what should happen with the tail? At this angle, you can't see the tucked leg, but it's there.
The maquette was made over a wire armature from three kinds of Fimo: soft, regular, and effect. The last kind fires to a translucent and flexible material. I then painted it in acrylic.
As I built and painted the maquette, I checked a lot of reference photos from my physical and digital scrap files. I came up with dozens of pictures of birds (aquatic birds, songbirds, and many others) in this classic pose. Photos of actual backlit birds helped with edge lighting and color corona.
Here's the final oil painting, which appears in the current issue of Ranger Rick magazine.