Dave McGary ~ Historical Realism in Bronze

The Bronze Process

Born on the plains of Northwestern Wyoming at the edge of Yellowstone National Park, Dave McGary grew up with an understanding of the importance of the buffalo to the Native Americans. In the early 1800s enormous hers of buffalo raomed the plains rumbling across the land. During trips to the reservation, McGary heard stories of the buffalo and histories shared of the preparation and skills of the hunters. Twelve years in ideation and requiring six month to sculpt, The Providers shares the intensity of the chase as the mounted hunters race with the herd just moments beofre weapons find their mark.

Making 'The Providers'

Bronze-Making Process of The Providers

Rarely does Dave begin with a sketch. This was used to develop the design for the armature

Sketch of The Providers

The steel armature and early clay work

Steel Armature Early clay work  

Early clay work on one of the buffalo

Early clay work of a buffalo
Early clay work of buffalo head Early clay work of buffalo body

Getting the proportions correct on the buffalo and the hunters

Clay sculpture proportions Hunter and Buffalo proportions

Final details in clay

final details in clay 1
Final details in clay 2 Final details in clay 3

Detail of hunter

Detail clay sculpture of hunter

Completed original clay

The Providers completed clay sculpture Complete clay sculpture

Completed original clay

Front view of The Providers' original clay sculpture

Blast furnace used in melting bronze before pouring into the molds

Blast furnace melting bronze Melting bronze before pouring into the molds
Workers melting bronze

Bronze being poured into molds of The Providers at 2,100°

Pouring molten bronze into molds Metal worker adding molten bronze to molds
Pouring 2,100 degree bronze into molds takes teamwork

Rough cast bronze pieces ready to be welded together. The the metal finishing process begins.

Rough cast bronze pieces ready for the welding process Welded pieces of bronze sculpture
Welding process taking shape

The welds are ground down and then textured with special tools to hide the weld and look like the original

Ground-down welds Texturizing the bronze

Welding the buffalo and hunters together, placing them on the bases

Welding buffalo bronze and hunters Placing welded bronzes on base

Metal work near completion and ready for welding to the base

Metal work near completion Ready to weld bronze sculpture to base

Patina - coloring the bronze by heating it up and applying chemicals to speed up the oxidation process. The first stop before painting.

Worker adding patina to bronze sculpture

Base coats of color applied before the painting begins.

Prepared with base coats of color before painting

Long hours in the paint studio

Dave spending long hours in the paint studio
Painting details Painting takes patience and precision
Dave McGary painting the finest details on the master

Mounting on a solid walnut base

Mounting 'The Providers' bronze sculpture on a solid walnut base

Hourse of lighting preparation for a single shot

Lighting preparation for photo shoot of finished McGary bronze sculpture Lighting takes hours for the most perfect shots

Over six months of work to enjoy the view under the gallery lights

'The Providers' finally in spot-lghted in the gallery

The Providers masterwork

'The Providers' leg detail 'The Providers'
'The Providers' 'The Providers'

Studies of The Providers

Buffalo Study of 'The Providers' Study of 'The Providers'
Study of 'The Providers'

Dave McGary ~ 1958-2013

Bronze artist, Dave McGary studying horse Dave McGary painting 'Trophies of Honor'