With the repainting of the Bog Vole (a wood carved model), Eunice, Collin and I have completed the renovation of the bog diorama. The bog vole looked bleached out and not very alive. Collin painted it using 2D painting techniques to accentuate the three dimensionality of the model by painting highlights on the head, the back, the legs and even the ears! When I first painted this model 20 years ago, I painted the local color of the vole’s pelt and left the highlights to be accomplished by the diorama lighting, which didn’t give it the “umph” it needed to look alive.
The Bog’s foreground now ties in well visually with the background painting. The illusion of the three dimensional material blending with the two dimensional background was accomplished mostly by paint, spraying paint over the sphagnum moss and hand-painting hundreds of leaves of the Leatherleaf plants. The repainting of the pitcher plants added a much more dramatic, colorful, and realistic effect. Details such as painting the lichen on the dead snags, painting the new growth on the spruce a lighter green, and adding a fly in one of the pitcher plants rounded out the renovation. At some point I will get a skin of a Snowshoe Hare and compare it with the taxidermied hare to see if it needs recoloring.
The other two Connecticut dioramas are moving toward completion, as well. The Forest Margin is mostly complete. I have installed a newly taxidermied screech owl on top of the dead tree, replacing the old, bug-damaged one. I had to figure out how to get a ladder into the diorama and stabilize it on the uneven foreground without damaging the assorted foreground plants and animals. The dead tree was well rooted in the foreground, so I was able to prop the ladder against it.
I removed the long-tailed weasel from the stone wall to see if we could get some more color back into the pelt. On removal, I discovered that there has been serious bug damage to the fur. Collin recolored it as best he could with dry pigments and we reinstalled it on the stone wall for now.
A new taxidermy mount (or a 3D printed model?) will be needed as a replacement. We also noticed that the puffball found on the label is not visible in the foreground. I rooted around near the ruffed grouse and found a very sad-looking puffball amid the leaf litter.
I sculpted a new cluster of three that Eunice painted. Collin noticed that there is lichen on the painted rocks in the background and none on the fabricated rock in the foreground. He will paint some new lichen rosettes onto the foreground rock. Stefan is making new fern fronds to replace some old shriveled ones near the stone wall.
The Shoreline is ready for installation of the spring-wire-strengthened grasses. The carved and painted American Bittern is ready to get drilled and installed in a location within the cattails. A new American Crow taxidermy mount will replace the stiff-looking one in the center foreground. Kristof would like to see a Fish Crow there rather than an American Crow because they are more common on the shoreline, but for now without a Fish Crow to mount and the label indicating an American Crow, I will install the new American Crow.