Three of the ornaments recently carved, painted and sealant applied. These are carved in butternut wood and I am playing around with the look of the wood mixed with the way I apply the paint to give these a nice antique look. I really like this wood for the grain, the only problem is I at times struggle when carving bass wood after carving a few in butternut. The two woods in many ways need a different approach on how to carve certain areas. The bass wood being softer needs more finesse while the butternut I can be a tad more aggressive with my technique. I will in the future carve a grouping of bass wood and then transition to the butternut but going butternut, bass wood then butternut may not work for me. Every carver is different in this regard, this is just the approach I may try and see if it has any impact on my carving.
Back on the 9th of August I posted some of my holiday carvings. Today I will share one that all painted up, the Christmas candle. The carving before paint was applied didn't seem to emit Christmas cheer; luckily the painting process has softened his facial expression a bit. I painted his eyes brown and found a wonderful way of doing this. I paint the area in with brown the come back with a clean but wet brush and begin to remove some of the paint leaving of course a dark line on the outer portion of the pupil. Then I come back and place a brown dot in the middle and add the white dot as well. I will continue to play around with this idea as it seems to give a more realistic look of an eye.
The flame of the candle was simply painting this section yellow and then coming back with a watered down red that I painted from the lower portion of the flame up towards the tip of the flame. With my painting I am reaching into what I have learned from using water color and also trying to not over think the process.
Overall I am happy with him and may carve another one or so for the upcoming Christmas season. If I do another one I will expand his beard further down the candle.
Well the contest is over though the excitement is still there but now I need to get focused. A new season is upon us and there are new ornaments to carve, paint and post in the shop. I am hoping to have a wide variety of faces and looks this year. After all the upcoming season is a season of joy and celebration. I also will experiment with a few ornaments inspired by the soldier bust I carved but more on that in future postings. For now I will continue to carve and then put the knives off to the side for a day or so and paint some then back to carving. I will be chancing my process in painting the ornaments as well but this to will be in a future post, after all I need to give you a reason to stop back by.
"Good night and may God bless"
call me corny but every time I type this in my mind I hear Red Skelton in his humble manner
I mentioned back in the beginning of August that I would have some entries in the Caricature Carvers of America's competition this year. Many may remember that on the 11th of August I completed a carving and liked it enough to add it to the entries.
The competition is a closed event. You send in your carvings or drop them off if you live close enough. The day of judging comes and once the event is done they pack them all up and ship all the carvings back to the carvers.
Well the carvings made it home yesterday safe and sound. This was my 4th year for entering and my best to date. I am proud to have received three ribbons this year; two fourth place ribbons and my first second place ribbon. What made this really exciting was my little Irishman was the second place ribbon winner. Yeah, I had a good day yesterday, God is good.
Last night I got out a small corner cut piece of bass wood and began to doodle. A wood doodle is when you have no set game plan you just begin to cut and see where it leads. I had originally considered just carving a face but at the last minute I got an idea for the cap and away we go. I liked the way the carving had come out but then while hollowing out the back I cut through so incorporated this into the carving. I knew I was getting close and pondered whether that design would look good with this carving so I guess subconsciously I wanted to try it, and so I did.
This was cut with no rough cut set up and I am leaning towards doing this the whole season, this way I don't have any limitations on what I want to try or how want to carve. I will try to carve most nights and then once I have a good number will paint them up. I also will be changing the way I apply the layers of paint but will go into this on another day and another posting.
Back on the 12th of July this year I gave you an update on the wood I got at the farm and shared my favorite carving from what I had done thus far. Well recently I took said carving and made him a base out of some of the pine knot wood I had left over. The base looked really nice with the carving so I took it a step further and gave it a sealant coating. This came out wonderful so I decided to get back to my original thought process and add some color to the carving. This carving really seemed to be coming together but the little branch on the right side looked like a hand that should be holding something, it just looked empty.
So I gave him something to hold, not just any cane would do. Something about this guys just told me he was not from modern day but from a time gone by. He looked to me as if he was from the Emerald Isle, I imagine him to be a seanachie or in English a storyteller. I imagine him at the local pub retelling stories that have been handed down for generations. With this in mind I wouldn't give him anything but a shillelagh.
After I had carved his shillelagh and painted it I thought it looked too new for this lad so I scuffed it up a bit and put another coat of sealant on it, now to me it looks as if he has had it for a bit and it is almost like an extension of his hand. The next thing to be concerned with was the positioning of the shillelagh and for me this was simple because to me he looked to be bowing. I positioned the stick in his hand along his side opposed to touching the ground and I angled it to give the suggestion of his leaning and using the stick for balance.
The more I did the more I liked who he became and when everything was complete, there was now more then just a carved face but a personality. I also gave a heavy coating to the base and as you can see from the second image it really has a nice finish to it. I liked him enough to add him to my submissions to this years competition with the CCA. Every carving needs a title and since I couldn't think of one I used an Irish quote "Many an honest heart beats under a ragged coat", cause you see, I don't think this lad would be thought of as well-to-do.
"Good night and may God bless"
May God grant you many years to live, For sure He must be knowing, The earth has angels all too few, And heaven be overflowing
Well I have begun to carve some new carvings for my shop and of course for the holiday season. This year I will have more butternut wood ornaments and as always will also have bass wood ornaments as well. Right now I am playing around with some design ideas and from these I will begin carving my 2015 line-up. I will have some of my tree top elves as well since I got positive feedback from those last year. I will also bring back my pilot design from the previous year since that also seemed to get positive feedback. I am considering one or two more design ideas and will post them as they get worked out.
The other thing I have been working on as of late is setting up the line up for my entries into the CCA competition this year. I will enter five carvings, two bust carvings and three relief carvings. I am happy with what I am submitting but you never know what the results will be at this level of competition. I have had a couple years where I was blessed to have placed and I had a year where I didn't at all. Prayers are of course always welcome. The judging is closed and I won't know anything till the carvings make it back home. I am always a bit tense till they actually make it home in one piece.
As I stated I will post more designs as I get them done and will share my results from the competition no matter what the outcome.
So once again the farmer is done painting and all. I in many ways like this one more than the other and am pleased with the way he came out, even if it was the second time.
The bales are connected both with a rod running between them and with some wood glue. The top bale holding the farmer is connected to the lower bale by three pieces of copper wire. The wire seems to be holding it firmly in place so don't see the need for any wood glue. The pipe is glued in but also has the stem of a fish hook connecting the pipe to inside the farmer's mouth. The final piece of copper is securing the head to the body via the farmer's neck. The use of wire gives me added security that the pieces remain in place and also gives me more freedom of positioning the different parts such as the posing of the head.
It seems I learn something from every carving I do, this one's theme must have been patience and/or perseverance.
Well we have all heard of Murphy's Law "that anything that can go wrong will go wrong" closely related to the more simplistic and the more vulgar phrase "Sh_t happens". Well it happened, the carving I did of the farmer in the patriotic cap had an accident and the cap broke. I, as all good wood workers will do got out my wood glue and prepared to repair the damage. Unfortunately it didn't go back together well and there was an obvious crack in the brim.
So first thing I did was give him a hair cut via cut the hat off and carve in some hair. This worked out well nicely but he no longer came across as a farmer so plan 2. I had a piece of butternut wood and used it to carve a cap for my farmer. I liked the overall look but when putting the two together my drill bit went through the top of the cap. I also still couldn't get the memory of the way he looked before out of my head and though this wasn't bad it wasn't as good as it was.
Third time's the charm, most of the time, I decided I would carve a completely new head and see if I would warm up to that. I never want to try and re-carve something, probably because I don't think I could and honestly I wouldn't really want to. So this new one had to be that a new one. I liked the overall concept and went with that design but decided he was old school and would have a pipe, a corncob to be exact. So for now I am proceeding ahead with this as planned. I will put a sealant on him today and then will proceed to painting at the end of all that I will make the final decision.