Carved wooden sperm whale

Sordes

Wonderpus
Registered
#1
Some time ago I made a sperm whale from wood. It´s no cephalopod of course, but perhaps one of the animals with the biggest ecological impact on many cephalopods, and surely the most iconic nemesis of Architeuthis. So I thought you could like it.
The whale was cut from a board, and it took a lot of time to to carve, rasp and sand it, to give it a more rounded and more plastic shape. I wanted to make it somewhat similar to old carved depictions of whales from the 19th century, a bit similar to those found in whaling ports like New Bedford.
I used oil colours to paint it (in fact this was the very first time I´ve worked with oil colours). The overall shape of the whale is somewhat stylized, but I tried to make it still as close to reality as possible, to include all the more or less typical traits of sperm whales. I added a lot of scars, including scars from the teeth of other bulls around the nose, sucker scars from giant squids around the mouth, cookiecutter-shark scars all around, scars from orcas or sharks at the end of the fluke (which date from a quite young age) and a lot of random scars. Some sperm whales have a white belly patch, often coupled with a more blurred whitish area on the flanks. I included this lesser common traits to show a bit more colour contrasts on the body.
 

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Sordes

Wonderpus
Registered
#4
The eyes was the hardest part of the whole whale. It is really quite small, and I had to paint many layers, and each of them took around a day to dray.
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
Staff member
Moderator
#6
@cuttlegirl beat me to the eye comment - WOW! The whole thing is marvelous (love the almost smile of the mouth too) but the eye brings it to life, particularly the folds and the way the eye sits within.
 

Nancy

Titanites
Staff member
Moderator
#7
This is a beautiful carving and I like the inspiration from old carvings. And yes, the eye is very well done.
How long is the carving, and how are you displaying it?

Nancy
 

Sordes

Wonderpus
Registered
#8
Thanks for your comments! The model is around 45 cm I think. I still didn´t manage to make an attachment on the backside, because I planed to hang it on a wall. I also started a similar whale, a Northern right whale. In this case I used acrylics, because they dry much faster than oil colours, what makes it way more comfortable to paint. I already painted most of the whale, but I still have to add some additional details, especially the eye. I wanted to give the calluses on the head a structured surface, to set them more apart of the rest of the body.
 

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DWhatley

Cthulhu
Staff member
Moderator
#9
It will be interesting to see how well the water based paint holds up and how much is absorbed by the wood. Oils take forever to dry but will seal the wood. Acrylics are likely to be absorbed but I don't know which paint will work best with wood. You may want to experiment with a scrap piece and rub the acrylic with an oil for wood furniture to see it if removes the paint and/or seals the wood. It may give a nicer finish but still allow using the acrylic for speed.
 

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