Monday, July 30, 2012

really, another one?

It’s not that I only carve Santa’s it’s just what I am working on right now. I have been trying to improve either the design or the way I carve with every Santa. The one I carved and painted yesterday has a little more focus on the facial features as I am trying to improve on this area of my carving. The main focus for me on this one was the eyes and the nose. I did carve the nose larger than many of my previous to experiment with his facial characteristics. This is another Santa that I will leave the beard un- painted and let the finish I put on it add the color. I will mix up a finish that has some antiquing to it so there will be a small amount of color seen on the beard but you will mostly see the grain of the wood here. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

New layout same blog

I have made a few changes to my blog page, changed the background picture and added a few new links. Also I have added a cartoon on the page, to the left, the patriotic snowman. He is Yankee Dapper Dandy part of the Dapper Dan series. I will be posting more carvings soon, I hope. Do check out the links added like the Iowa carver, he does awesome work. Of course all the carvers in the links section are extremely talented. Also click on the “Wood Chips in Yer Eye” link, another carver I found on the web that does amazing work. I will always add new carvers whenever I find them.

The cartoon was done in water color and was done as a fund raiser for an alumni group from University of Nebraska. It is a picture based on the famous catch by Matt Davison from the 1997 game against Missouri. This was a lot of fun creating this along with the two others that went with it. The event didn't meet expectations but it was a fun experience designing the illustrations, beyond that not so much. It was once said; "Out of life's school of war: What does not destroy me, makes me stronger."

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Wood be tea time

Is that herbal tea I smell? 
I'm a mug!  A COFFEE MUG!!

Just thought I would share this with you, I am currently trying to get a feel for relief carving so decided to try one of my cartoons, one that wouldn't be too tricky. I might be wrong with the choice I made. 

I have cartooned allot of coffee cups, years ago when I worked in an office there were the two camps. There were the coffee drinkers and the tea drinkers. From the cartoons I have done it may not be obvious which camp I hail. This was one of the first cartoons I did along this line and it began an obsession with cartooning inanimate objects.  As I progress with my efforts I will share more of the original cartoons and the way they come out in wood, if presentable. If he looks familiar it is because he was my first blog image posted. You get an "atta boy" for having stuck it out from the beginning.

On the carving side this will bring some challenges based on the angle of his glance. I could have done one with a profile but where would the challenge be in that? But we will see how it comes out, nothing ventured nothing gained. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

"another one" painted

Yes it is painted and I did change the way I in which I applied the paint. For this one I deluded down the color even more than usual and when I apply the finish to it will probably do an antique coating style finish.

While I am on the subject there is a lot of debate it seems with the carving community over what finish to use and which one is better. Many swear by the boiled linseed oil and many believe that there is a way to apply a finish without using products that are combustible. This month in Carving Magazine there is an article “Eco-Friendly Finishing” about this very subject. There was also a great debate on the Woodcarving Illustrated messageboard back in 2006 that is still available and fun reading as well. People from both sides chime in on this issue and from this you can see that there is not only some debate but also some passion from both sides of this topic. So what finish will I use on my carvings? Here is what I propose to do. I will apply one of the two products and post the finished pictures and see if you can tell what was used. I wonder if anyone can tell the difference, we will see.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

another test pilot

I know you’re thinking, really another one, and a resounding yes. My efforts were more with the goggles trying to get a more detail in them as to date the goggles. I wanted that vintage look back when anyone could take to the sky. Ok yes I admit that was an exciting time to me. After all the idea that if you had an old bi-plane and an empty field you could learn to fly.

I had the thrill to fly in a Stearman bi plane many years ago, open cock pit the whole nine yards, awesome. So yes I am a bit of a bi plane enthusiast. This is another story for another day though.

One thing I did once the carving was done and the paint was being applied was to add a darker color green to the outer rim of the goggles and to the inner cut of the strap, just too high light it a little more. Hopefully it gives it just a little more depth. As before the USAAC patch is on the Santa. I believe they added the gold wings to the patch prior to WWII so obviously no golden wings. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

yeah I know another one

Yes I have carved another Santa ornament; this one is a bit different than the others though. This one has less of a cartoony feel to it so I will need to take this into account when I paint it, or will I. Why do I have to paint it any different than any of my others that I have painted? I will decide today because hopefully I will get out the paints and get at it today. I am not only trying to improve my carving abilities but I am also working on the process, trying to hone the way in which I start and finish. Unfortunately there are no carving groups in my area so I rely on magazines and a DVD or two to build the process from. I, even after a gracious gift of carving tools from a friend, am still shy of all the tools referred to in either the magazines or the DVD’s.

But you grow from experience not supplies, so I work with the wonderful set I have and try and grow as a carver from there. Many times for me it is not what I can’t do that gets me in trouble yet what I can do. I am impatient and at times simply rush the process and don’t follow the same steps every time, this I am working to change. I want to build process that I use every time, so that I can recreate a carving that I did, and to have some consistency in my work. It is a process, painful at times, but a process none the less.  

Thursday, July 12, 2012

rough cut mistakes

Well I found out some good information about rough cutting a pattern. I took two of my cartoons and basically made a silhouette out of the cartoon and cut that out, and this was where the problem began. You can see these in an old post “New stock, old cartoons”, where it shows the cartoons and the cut outs. The problem with this is that I rough cut way too much detail, which limits the detail I can carve into the character. I am finding that more is better in a rough cut. You can always cut away wood to change the detail but you can’t add wood back in to create detail. In the beginning my thought was cut out as much as you can so that you spend more time carving in detail and not just shaping the carving, wrong. I have found in the initial shaping you have as much impact, maybe more, than in the final detail cuts of the carving. Lesson learned………….

I did take one of the rough cuts shown on vacation with me and at the request of my youngest son am turning this into an old timey football player, leather helmet and all, hopefully. Here is how it is coming along so far. I also started another Santa ornament as well a pirate. This was my first pirate and I already have plans to try another with better direction. The one shown carved was me sitting at the table and cutting away with no true concept to work from. Sometimes this can work and then again, well you know, sooner or later we all throw a carving or two away for one reason or another. Usually for me it is from one of two things; 1st when carving I get impatient and try to force a cut which usually forces a big chunk of wood to break off and we are done. 2nd I just simply don’t like the way it comes out and am extremely unhappy with my efforts and simply throw in the towel and start over. Carving is teaching me much more than just learning to recognize the grain of the wood and what tool can carve what section. But that is for another time and another posting because for this post I am done…………….