Ranja made this clay polar bear as part of a group of three bears which also included a black bear and a brown bear. Each of the three clay bears was fired and used as a model for a limited edition bronze sculpture.
The three clay bears were all modeled using water-based clay. More often, we use oil-based clay, or plastilene, for our sculpture models because it doesn’t dry out during the modeling process.
The advantages of using water-based clay for sculpture models is that it allows for working at a variety of hardness stages and offers unique surface treatments and ranges of pliabilities that are more difficult to get with plastilene.
When we use water clay, instead of letting it air dry, we will hollow it out and fire it. This way, in addition to being able to mold it for bronze, we end up with a finished fired clay bear sculpture which we can display or offer for sale.
The three clay bears can be viewed together here. The limited edition bronzes are available for purchase individually in our online gallery and at The Dean Gallery here at our place in Homer, AK.
Famous Polar Bear Artists
Polar bears have been the subject matter for sculptures for ages. The Eskimo peoples of Alaska and Northern Canada have historically carved bear sculptures from ivory and soapstone. The simple, flowing forms of their artistic style perfectly captures the essence of this creature of the frozen North.
Around the turn of the last century, the French artist Francios Pompon, who assisted Auguste Rodin in his marble carving, similarly captured the their spirit in a large sculpture now on display at the Musée d’Orsay.
Growing up in Fairbanks, Alaska made me very familiar with the paintings of Fred Machetanz. Polar bears were common subjects for his canvases.
Related Carvings and Metal Wall Art
I’ve made a number of carvings and metal and wood wall sculptures over the years that include polar bears. When we first moved back to Alaska in the year 2000, I carved two large spruce carvings of polar bears. My At the Breathing Hole steel and wood wall art can be special ordered in a size to fit your space. It depicts a polar bear and arctic fox watching stealthily as a seal approaches its breathing hole. An image of this sculpture is also available as a creative edge metal print.
Copyright 2015 Ranja Dean