Julian Jardine - Creating a Scottish Wildcat
The last few years I have been helping the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust with children's workshops at the Scottish Game Fair, judging school competitions and a few other projects. This year I am providing them with a Scottish Wildcat for their Auction "Bids and Birdies" to be held on Thursday 10th November at the Strathmore Golf Centre, Alyth. Tickets to this evening which include an excellent carvery are available for £25. A link is provided at the foot of this page to their website where you can find full details.
I should start by saying this is the first time I have attempted to make one of these. With just 400 left they are as endangered as the tiger currently and are the heart of a campaign called the Scottish Tiger aimed at saving the species. They are currently mainly at threat through cross breading with domestic cats and road kill.
I start this one with a long log canoe style pinch pot roughly 1cm thick, I aim to keep as much of the piece as possible this thickness so it will dry evenly.
Working forward from the top of the neck, I have built in the face and ears. At this stage I am not worried about details, this is the equivalent of a pencil sketch to establish the rough shape and proportions of the piece. There is no point in adding details yet until I am certain the scale is correct throughout.
With a steel kidney tool I now smooth out the body and define where the muscles will go in front and back legs. The tail in the images above was both too long and too skinny for a wildcat which are recognisable by there fat round ended tails which differ from a domestic cat as they are slimmer and pointed.
Working into the detail of the wildcat's face, I am aiming to capture the feel of an alert feline that has just paused mid stride, maybe something has moved and caught its eye. I also don't want the finished piece to look cute and friendly, these are vicious wee beasties!
Before I start adding on texture I need to finish the underside so I have rested the piece on some thick foam, removed the support and I can now complete the belly. I will then add in the detail to the hard to get to sections before gently returning it to the support.
The wildcat is now ready to start painting. I have undercoated the piece here in a thin coat of raw sienna acrylic paint. I want the Paint to soak into all the fur lines to create the dark regions for later coats. The tip of the nose in this picture shoes the colour of the clay after it has been fired..
In this picture I have added the mid range colours by dry brushing the cat, a technique where you use no water and very little paint on the brush so that as you brush across the fur texture it remains only on the raised hairs. I have also added some undercoat to the bridge of the nose and mouth.
Adding the stripes is a time consuming job, with a small brush I need to work the paint both into the fur and blend the edge of each stripe with dry brushing. Every wildcat is different when it comes to stripes, my reference pictures show a wide variety of patterns so I have roughly based it on the images I had with the most distinct patterns.
To help support the survival of this and many other species in Scotland click on the banner below for further details on the auction and carvery and to find out how you can get a ticket. If you cant make it on the night but wish to place a bid on this piece please email the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust.