Thursday, February 21, 2013

whittle or carve

Do you whittle or carve? Even though the definitions are similar it seems that most people consider wood carving on the more refined side of the two. Whittling seems to be more the basics form, done mostly with a knife and no other tools. No matter how you define it both are closely connected. Back when I first started I whittled, I would take a piece of wood and a pocket knife and just carve whatever, not always having a plan for the carving or the wood. Of course now there is usually a subject I want to end up with and usually comes from a pattern or a roughout. Now for all my friends out there who produce roughouts please don't take this the wrong way but I don't want to rely on roughouts for my carvings, at least not roughouts that I have to buy from other carvers. I want to get to the stage where I create the image and transfer it to wood. I also want to get to the stage where I can produce a roughout of my own so I can reproduce my own carvings with a greater degree of accuracy. Creating an original roughout is an art in itself, one I have not yet learned but will research within the next few weeks and months. We will see in the not so distant future how it all works out.

Enough of that here is a whittling/carving I did of a simple face. The day this was done I had no game plan I was just carving/whittling with no specific idea in mind.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Another pilot pt 2

   Well the pilot Santa is painted. I for the most part like the way he came out although I did have to play around with the gold metal flake paint, it was too shiny. I mixed up some colors and watered them down pretty thin, just enough to paint to tone down the gold metal flake.
It was important for me that the goggles have a look that represents the effect of glass over-top of a color. To get the “glass look” here are the basics of how I attempted this. I don’t go into detail on the actual colors used as each carver will pick the colors that best represents their carving. I worked in some of the color from the cap watered down and painted it in the center of the goggles lenses. I then “watered down” slightly some blue to paint around the edge of the glass of the goggles. Then I came back with some more of the blue “watered down” even more and blended it into the center of the goggles never over lapping the center color all the way to the middle of each lens. I finished off with some white highlights in the center and around the perimeter of the glass area and the goggles are complete. I think the final product gives the illusion of glass on top of a colored cap. If anyone has any questions you can send me a line and I will do my best to reply in a timely manner. 

 On a side note I am starting my own doodle stick. This is where I will free hand carve different facial expressions until I run out of wood. Some will have facial hair some will not. This is not a new carving concept but one worth looking into. If you want to learn from the master of this go to the Don Mertz link on my page and click on the “WhittleDoodle IV & VII & MORE”. Don Mertz only carves these with a knife but that is up to you as a carver. The two posted pictures were not carved solely with a knife. I am going to try it in a future carving. Remember not every carving is a master piece, some should just be for the joy of carving and learning the art. There are links on my blog of carvers who have carved longer than I and share their knowledge on their sites, take a look.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

another pilot

Well I have carved one more Santa pilot and this is probably the best one I have carved. Off of some images and photos off of the web I got more detail put into the goggles and will be able to high light those even more once I paint it. I have gotten into the habit of taking a "u" type gouge and making my first cuts a bit shallow to get a feel for the layout of the different parts that make up the carving. Once I see the general layout is pleasing to me I then go in and finalize the cut and move onto the next section.

I had seemed to have gotten into a rut with the way I was carving but the last two I have carved more over this one has made very happy. I will be the first to admit I am very hard on my carvings and my abilities as a carver at times, but this one I really seem to like. I still haven't found a way to carve a beard that I feel consistent or happy with, so there is still work to be done. Yet minus this issue of my own making, I am extremely happy with this carving and will be painting before the day is through. I will mimic the technique I used to paint the last goggles as I felt this gave the look I was after. Not sure about the colors for the cap though, I don't like having identical carvings even when it comes to the paint scheme. Stay tuned to see the finished product, paint and all.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

same subject pt 2

I painted the latest Santa after cutting holes in his beard. I thought since I am having so much fun with this one try something new with the paint, not earth shattering just new. So I mixed in some metal flake paint into the color to give the cap some shimmer. It works well because it seems you don't notice as much till the ornament is next to a light source. This might add a nice effect on the tree as this is a Christmas ornament.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

cottonwood bark revisited

Back on the 28th of September I started carving the wood spirit that I finished and posted the other day. The evening of the 28th I went home with another piece of wood and carved from my at the time, tired memory. I posted the piece the following day what I had done soon after that I added some detailing for hair and then left it alone, until last night. Last night I went back in to make some minor adjustments. Take a look and see what you think of it now, I have included the before and after pictures to refresh your memory of what it did look like, as well to show what it now looks like. I could put a little more effort into the mustache and around the eyes but I think I will leave this one alone now and move on and begin a new carving.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Same subject new style

 I have done another Santa ornament but I have used the pierced relief style in the beard and hat. I have seen this done and have mixed feelings on whether I like the style or not but it was suggested that this would work well on this carving so I thought "nothing ventured nothing gained" and so far the reaction has been fairly positive. I have an idea or two for the paint as well, hopefully it will receive the same response.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

wood spirit lessons learned

I was reminded that every time you finish a carving either in a class setting or by yourself there should be lessons learned from that time spent. This is true and one of the lessons comes from my wanting to learn how to carve an eye. In my first carvings I used carve a folk stylized eye, where you just make a socket and paint the eye in or leave it without; either seems to work for this style carving. But I wanted more detail in the eye as I felt this would strengthen my carvings. 

As you begin to carve eyes, you first need to break down the parts around the eye. First you see that there are bag lines under most eyes (purple lines on image). There is also a shelf under the eye. The shelf is formed by the bone structure under the eye. Take a moment and try this. Both sides of your eye come together making a small sideways “v” (yellow lines on image). Put your finger right on the outside of your eye on the outside of your face. Now slowly go down in front of your face under the eye and follow the bone structure back up to the other side of the eye right next to the nose (red lines on image). As you move your finger you can feel the bone structure below the eye. That is the shelf that is completely separate from the baggy lines when carving an eye. You can get away with just carving one or the other but when both are included in the carving it gives the carving depth and character. Carving this in proper sequence is to carve the shelf first then carve in the baggy lines of the eye since these are normally higher on the face then the shelf. It is the shelf that helps form the bags, but I am not an anatomist I am a wood carver. It is the additional detail that truly makes a carving stand out and completes the story you are trying to tell. Isn't that the mission, to convey a story.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

7 wishes everyone should be given

I had a friend shared this with me and I thought it was worthy of a re-posting. The author is Bob Perks and the story behind the "Seven Wishes" can be found on the link provided, it's worth reading trust me.

"I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish enough "Hello's" to get you through the final "Goodbye."

She then began to sob and walked away.

Wood Spirit

Well here is the wood spirit that I have been working on with Bob. As many of you know when you take a class, which is what this was in many ways, you carve a portion and the instructor carves a portion. So I don’t totally claim this as my carving since another carver had his hand in it while instructing me. Although I am proud of how this came out and am happy with the results I found as a carver that I am not eager to claim it as my own. I wondered if anyone taking a class felt the same as I did. Make no mistake I am extremely happy with the lessons learned from this and was thankful for another carver taking the time out of his day to help and teach me. Still, so far when someone has commented on it I catch myself explaining that it was a joint venture or that I carved some and so did the instructor. This was the first time that I was in a class carving setting so I didn't know if this was typical or is it just me?
Either way I had a great experience and I probably learned more from our conversations, not just in reference to carving, than I did from the time spent working on the piece. Don’t get me wrong I am very proud of this piece and how it came out, but I think the process outweighs the final product. Bottom lines, if the opportunity presents itself take a class, no matter whether it’s a local carver or one of the well known carvers. For me I have not only walked away with a nice finished carving but have made a friend in the process. And if not a class join a local carving club and share and learn what you love, carving.