wooden dragons

I’ve been working on these two dragons for quite some time now. They are entirely hand carved in basswood, and we are now preparing them for gilding. When they are finished, they will be wall brackets with a shelf above the head and wings. Peter was kind enough to let me take on this project more-or-less by myself (with his guidance all along the way). The dragons are inspired by the beautiful dragons in the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, England. Although they are similar, these dragons are my own design. Somewhere along the line, I named them Virgil and Dante, and the names have stuck. Inevitably, there are slight differences between the two. I’ve created a slideshow of pictures I’ve taken throughout the process. Up until this point, Virgil was usually a step or two ahead of Dante, so I’ve done my best to rearrange the chronology to make progression a little easier to follow. I will do my best to post new pictures as we work through these final stages, and I will certainly post photos when they are finished.

dragon template

A note on the finishing steps: The yellow that appears in later pictures is primer, and those sections will be oil gilded. The white surface on the noses, wings, and tails is gesso, and those areas will be water gilded and burnished. Regarding the teeth, I originally carved them in wood. However, they are extremely fragile, and they could not be used. I made a silicone molds of the original wooden teeth and cast them in bulked epoxy resin. This created extremely durable castings which are very true to my original models. The differences in color are due to the colors of epoxy putties I used, and this will make no difference in the appearance of the final product.