Monday, July 27, 2015

butternut fini

Well he is all painted and done for the most part. I decided he looked like he was in need of a smoke and by the one he is smoking you can tell he has had one of those days. I guess a bent cigarette is better than no cigarette at all. Remember he is based on photos of WWII soldiers and they smoked back then so it's ok, really. It could be that he was out on bivouac or on maneuvers, either way he it looks as if he earned his smoke. I considered giving him a cigar but wanted him to be Mr. Joe average soldier not a nail spitting platoon sergeant. The idea was to represent all the average Joe who went through the military during that time frame and after and then came home raised a family and ran the local business, the back bone of the war effort if you will.

You may have noticed his head is slightly leaning to the side. The way I achieved this was by using a piece of copper wire coming out of his neck into the body of the bust carving. This gives me some flexibility on how I pose his head. It also firms the head up and helps hold it in place. Of course there will be limitations based on how wide the opening of the collar is as well as to the thickness of the neck. It's a caricature carving so it doesn't have to be to scale but I don't like the ones where the neck looks to be a toothpick compared to the size of the head and body. I do like carving them separate so I can have options in the direction he is glancing. I may have carved with a certain game plan but in the end change the direction of his glance and thus possibly changing the direction his head should be turned.  

 In the end I am extremely pleased with the way this one came out could be one of my best overall carvings thus far, but I have more wood in the shop so time will tell.

as always 
"Good night and may God bless"

Sunday, July 26, 2015

butternut pt 2

Before I go any further I have to say I was excited when my posting; 3 new ornamentsIt has now received over 1000 views, to date 1017. For most blogs this may be minor but for this little blog it's pretty big. The closest to this is under 200, yeah big deal. Well thanks to all who have stopped by and taken a look at my work.
Now back to the butternut carving, I carved the body of this bust the other night and for the most part I was happy with the way it came out. The carving is based on a WWII uniform though he is not meant to represent any particular branch or unit. He was carved to represent the American soldier. For that reason I will not put a patch or rank on him. HE is the average Joe serving his country.

As I mentioned I was fairly happy with the way it came out but the more I looked at him the less I like the portion below the belt. I don't know if it made it looked to much like puzzle piece or if it made the lower portion look like an apron. Either way I was not liking the way it came across so I made some modifications.

Once I was done I felt better about the base and can already see how this will help the cloth of the jacket blend into the base of the body. I always try to envision the next step and how what I am doing now will impact the next stage of the process. I am slowly seeing this come together and am anxious to get the the next stage.

as always 
"Good night and may God bless"

Friday, July 24, 2015

butternut carving

Well I have cranked up the band saw and have cut out a few rough-outs, one in Butternut and one in bass wood. I started with the butternut because a while back I carved a soldier and was real happy with it so wanted to try another one and thought it might look good in the grain of butternut.

So far I have carved out the head and will begin carving the base of the bust possibly tonight. I still need to determine what rank this soldier is. I may simply carve a patch on his helmet for his unit and when it comes to unit he won't be airborne but rather my Army Reserve unit or the unit my grandpa served in in WWI. The only issue with putting a unit on him is that if I decide I want to sell him in my Etsy shop I have possibly limited who may consider purchasing him, but when I carve I don't always carve with the goal of will it sell or not sell. I am not very business savvy when it comes to that part of carving and having a shop. Who knows maybe this one will be entered in the yearly competition, then again maybe not. But hey it's not even done yet so I don't want to put the cart before the horse, for now I am back to carving and in the end that's where the joy is found.

 I forgot to mention I will be painting him and will also get out the wood burner to clean and highlight some areas. I will be working on my technique of burning, I like when it is burned in just enough to tell something was done but no extremely dark lines. I think butternut has enough lines in it without needed to add to it with the wood burner.

as always
 "good night and may God bless"

Saturday, July 18, 2015

I see faces update

 So as you see I have made some modifications to the original face I carved. I had a branch from a cedar tree that I had cut and thought it would fit in with this carving but I didn't like the shape of it once it was attached. I ended up matching the contour of the back of the carving with the added piece of cedar and did a small bit of shaping and this is how she is at this point.

I have considered carving an arm that would be protruding out of the large knot on the left side maybe holding an or but not sure if I will do this yet or not, might add to the carving, might not. I like that the cedar interior gives the look of a tongue, that was what originally had me consider adding this onto the carving.

For now I will leave him as he is and will move onto other carvings. I have found that sometimes putting one down and then revisiting a carving gives a fresh look and perspective. This process has not come easy to me as I usually like to finish a carving in a timely fashion. Sometimes growing as a carver doesn't pertain to only your style or technique.

"Good night and may God bless"

Sunday, July 12, 2015

I see faces pt 2

I wanted to share another carving from the farm wood, this is one of my favorite out of what i have carved lately. This one was so cool, as soon as I found it I noticed there was a hand sticking out to the side, there was a small grove in the wood that seemed to be laid out as to where the mouth should be carved. The knot sticking out seemed to call out as placement for his schnozzola, and yes this is not just a nose this is a schnozzola.

That is his only resemblance to the late great Jimmy Durante, he took me back further in movie history for the more I carved the more I began to see a W.C. Fields type character emerge. I can see the little hand resembling a white glove possibly holding a cigar or a cane. I will make the call shortly on whether or not to place a stogie in the right side of his mouth and more importantly a top hat atop of his head. I don't want to try and make this a caricature of Fields but simply pull from some of his known characteristics on screen.

I haven't experimented with color on one of these yet but will definitely add some pigment to this one. I will treat this wood as if it were butternut wood and put a sealant coat on then begin to add color. The grain of this wood makes me believe it would carry color through the grain if I am not careful. I will limit how much color I add and will keep it faint so that it doesn't cover up the grain.

"Good night and may God bless" 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

I see faces in wood

My family and I took a trip out of town to visit my wife's family over the 4th celebration and while out on the farm I found some wonderful branches from an American Sycamore tree. It has an interesting grain and is a nice carving wood though the grain can be an issue if your tools aren't razor sharp. There are times when not careful that the wood will not cut but sort of chip away if not careful. As all new woods, the first few carvings become a learning experience the difference being that the knots in the wood become (for me at least) part of the carving so you carve it where you find it and the grain be damned.

 In the next few days I will try and post a few I have carved from this wood. For now I will share this fellow, with a face that only a mother could love. This is the first carving I did from this wood. It was a longer branch in the beginning but I decided to cut all the branches into smaller sections so I would have more to carve and experiment with. Sometimes for me less is more and the smaller pieces of wood make you work harder at coming up with an expression or facial feature that makes the carving stand out and unique. I haven't decided if I will put him on a base but I do have something in mind and will post if I go in that direction. 

"Good night and may God bless"

Yes, the Etsy shop is open once more, I had thought of leaving it closed for a bit longer but there are issues with that. Each listing cost to post, very little but cost none the less and each item is listed for 4 months at a time. While the shop is on vacation mode the items listed continue to count down on the timer. So even with this being the slow time for many shops, it is really not beneficial to keep the shop in vacation mode for long periods of time. After all we are to be good stewards of our money. So the shop is open once more for business.

I will begin carving ornaments for the upcoming shortly season and will post them in the weeks to come as they are completed.

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July celebration and had a chance to spend time with family and friends. I also hope everyone had time to reflect on what the holiday stands for, what blessings we have in this country. We need to each holiday remember and reflect on why we celebrate. Yes it is fun to have an extra day off from work to have time with those close to you but each holiday has a meaning, a reason for that date to be on the calendar.

"Good night and may God bless"