Need Models? Make 'Em.

I'm working on a series of paintings which require stylized animals in the scenes. 

I have photos from zoos allover the world through my travels with the museum, but the lighting always seems to be wrong when I composite these photos into my reference. I always need living models too, but making a paper mache human would be taking things too far! Here's some process shots of making a parrot for a painting about "taste".

 Building the claws with wire and tape...

Building the claws with wire and tape...

 gesso...

gesso...

 paint, Viol-a!

paint, Viol-a!