• nootka marble
• 48” H x 20” W x 20” D (122cm H x 51cm W x 51cm D)
• private collection, North Vancouver, BC, Canada
Sculptor Michael Binkley carved this original fine art wildlife sculpture of a breaching humpback whale from a block of marble that was quarried at Nootka Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. Nootka marble is characterized by its light grey background colour with striations of white and black.
Binkley took several approaches to the block of stone, each time with a different idea of subject, but was finally inspired to carve this humpback whale. The artist carved most of the cetacean in the round, but chose to carve the tail area in high relief to give the composition strength and stability. Binkley gave the whale’s body a silky smooth matte finish to accentuate the colour of the marble, and carved the support portion with a rough texture for contrast. The sculptor created the illusion of water streaming off the whale’s belly.
Binkley exhibited the sculpture extensively before finally finding a patron who wanted it for the focal point of a fountain in his back yard. The thrilling aspect to this is the back yard was of a waterfront home on a cliff-like property. The 800 lb. sculpture had to be craned over the house from the frontage street and carefully placed in position in the fountain. The fountain was designed with an infinity edge and at high tide, the humpback whale appears to be leaping straight out of the ocean.