So, I figured I should either resurrect it, or get rid of it as a lost cause. I’ve been trying to clear a bit of space in the studio here and there.
First thing I did, was transfer it onto a thicker backing layer of clay – you can see it cracked. Then I pieced in around it to bring everything to the same level. I painted on a coat of diluent (clay softener) thanks to a tip from from Leigh Ross of PolymerClayCentral, and let it sit for a few days.
It worked wonders. The diluent sank in and made the clay pliable again and I was able to finish sculpting.
I used pastels, but I think this may have been a case (tiny and very detailed) where I should have stuck with paint. A bit of antiquing and a dry brush of white would have brought out the details better – It felt like I lost a bit in the final pasteled/painted version. I did end up giving it an antiquing wash, added a bit of yellow acrylic to brighten up the beak, and gave it a dry brush coat of white as well.