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Three Mallards, Watercolor Sketch
Three Mallards: Watercolor Sketch

Grainger uses watercolor sketches like the one above to preserve and note the precise coloring of the non-feather elements of a bird. The colors on the feet and bill (unlike those on feathers) degrade quickly with time, so must be recorded from a live or freshly killed specimen.

Three Mallards uses a fully connected infrastructure of heat-treated steel for support. This is somewhat of a departure from his earlier works, where the connecting steel feathers will usually terminate into their respective birds with nuts and bolts.

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Three Mallards
Three Mallards: 2005
Basswood, steel, bronze and oil paint
Collection of Mr. James A. Kennedy