Sometimes, expectations go astray, but beautiful things happen none the less. When I was creating long form documentaries, I would always joke that they're like children... In its infancy you can think you know the story, you can try to force it in that direction, but authentic documentaries are living and breathing things, and they weave their own tales. Your job is to adapt your expectations to who it is in each moment, and groom and support it so it continues to grow.
Skulls are a lot like this too. I can guide them but at the end of the day, they're ultimately in control of their path. Revival Coyote was intended to be a very different commission. My commissions are still conversations with the skull, but I can typically guide them to fit certain elements and energies. If the skull doesn't want to be guided in that direction, it very much lets me know. Things never felt wrong during this carving process, but it never felt quite right either. But the staining... oh the staining. *That* was a very different story. This coyote was "supposed" to be light and natural, and instead took its light, natural stain to be bright neon orange. Once it's stained, I can't go lighter.
So I did what one does... I desperately tried to "fix" it for a day before accepting that there was nothing to fix... I was telling this coyote what it was, instead of listening to it. So I put aside my expectations and I started listening. This is where we ended up, and I love him.