A friend reached out in response to a FB post:
"Your post couldn't have come at a
better time! I've always loved your birds so much and was thinking, last night
believe it or not, about three dear friends from high school with whom I was
supposed to be getting together this weekend. (Hating COVID)
Thinking about something I could do to show them that even though we're apart, we're still together at heart, I wondered if you might consider a commission? A sort of four-in-one piece, where each piece stands on its own, but when they're together you can "assemble" them like a puzzle. I'd love to talk more about it with you.
I'm more than happy to give you artistic freedom too - really, my only "requirements" are your birds, and four pieces that both stand on their own, and fit together too. I can't wait to see what you come up with!! Thank you so much!!"
I found this idea a delightful challenge! Here is the sequence:
Pick a few good chunks of red oak from the "library".
Like continents, I saw the shapes as mountains as much as rocks.
I had a pair of spare bases in the studio and took this quick picture as a possibility.
I selected birds for each piece and arranged where they should face.A quick romp in the woods to find some raw materials - strip and dry.Each piece would have a shaped perch for the bird. The sticks needed to create a flow about the piece as a whole.
I found I needed to figure out some of the decisions before I committed the entire piece to my ideas of scorched surrounding mountains, shadows, and the high bases to loft the pieces. So I cut an extra piece. My result was great but seemed to lack the punch of color. I wanted more red and a bit more grain without overwhelming the natural richness of the oak.
My next study got it. Added color, great burn patterns, but a bird jumped outside the design! Fun for the study, but not the commission.
So back to the piece. I designed small lofting bases for each piece. I loved the varied heights, freeing them from an exact puzzle fit, but the result in the group of four became just too busy and unfocused. I brought the pieces back to the surface.