This ornament is actually number two in the series I'm planning on doing - a Fancy Yellowside Green Cheek Conure. He's set next to a qantuta bloom, which is the national flower of Bolivia, where Green Cheeks are known to make their native habitat (which includes areas of surrounding countries in South America as well).
I'm really getting into conure ornaments lately, and it all started when a family friend took my own Sun Conure, Lenore, outside, on the 4th of July of all days - without my husband's or my permission. With all of the explosions going off, even just being around midday, she spooked and flew away. Big surprise, huh? Dumb friend + beer = lack of judgment. Anyway, long story short, we got her back after five days of false leads from the posters put up when a neighbor two streets away told us they saw and heard her in their neighbor's garage. The day before, when I thought I'd never see my pretty little ball of personality ever again, I had been in the mourning process, and channeled it into this memorial sculpt of my beloved Lenore. Now it's just a pretty thing to hang on the wall XD
The whole process inspired me to continue with a series of conure ornaments.
Here's the first ornament I made - the tribute to Lenore.
A Sun Conure with a couple of plumeria blooms, both of which can be found native in Brazil.
I'm tempted to remake the Sun Conure ornament with more feather detail, like the Green Cheek has. The Sun will always be the most special to me, though.
Both were sculpted with a mix of sulper sculpey firm, and super sculpey original in a 4:1 ratio, and then painted with acrylics. The Sun was sealed with a satin finish varnish, giving it a bit of a shine, and the Green Cheek was sealed with a clear, matte varnish, which I prefer over the satin finish. The shininess makes the poor sun look like it's been slicked in baby oil! Both have a high gloss finish over the eyes for some extra life-likeness.
The Sun ornament measures 2 3/4"h x 2 1/2"w x 1/4"thick
The Green Cheek ornament measures 2 1/2"h x 2 3/4"w x 1/4"thick
Here are a couple shots of the ornaments pre-paint.
***Here is a tutorial on how I do detailed feathers.
First, I sketch in the feather layout with a sharp pointed tool (you could also use a needle, a safety pin, or anything with a fine tip)
I use reference photos so the feathers don't come out looking like fish scales, but in the following images that's exactly what they look like, ehehe.
Next, I give the feathers their three dimensional shape with a pointed, flat tool. Only indent the top bit, so the bottom part of each feather is raised creating a layered look.
On the actual sculpt it'll look more varied because of the different feather sizes.
After the feathers are shaped, I add the details with the needle tool. On the feathers of the head and chest I use simple, straight down lines. For larger wing feathers, detailing includes the rachis (shaft) of the feather with barbs coming out of it pointing down and away, creating a chevron like pattern. When drawing in the lines I try to bring the tool just past the edge of the feather so it doesn't create a completely smooth border (the photo below is not a good example of this, but you might see it better on the second picture).
Finally, I lightly go over the sculpt with a small flat brush dipped in lighter fluid (remove the excess) to smooth it over and melt away/pick up any crumbs.
The painting process is important when it comes to the feathers. Start with priming, of course. To give them dimension I started with a dark base coat (dark brown was used for the green cheek), then dry brushed color over the top of it to create definition between feather barbs. For a lighter colored bird (like a cockatoo) you'd want a lighter base to create that shadow so it's not so harsh against the creamy color of the feathers. To finish I prefer a matte sealant (got mine in the spray paint section of the local home store) and a gloss varnish over the eyes for a life-like twinkle.
Thanks for looking!