Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Santa ornament

Well I have finally finished the Santa ornament and overall am happy with the results. Every carving I have ever done I have always seen areas that I could improve and areas that I was really happy with. Sometimes like this one I saw myself struggling with my tools for two reasons.

First I have switched from butternut (for now) back to bass wood. I did this for a few reasons. Bass wood is not as hard on my tools compared to butternut and it also has an easier color for applying color to the carving. Bass wood also has less grain than butternut which makes bass wood easier to get an even flow with color and no issues of the color running through the grain. But bass wood being a softer wood I do need to modify the how aggressive I get in carving.

Secondly, because of all the time carving with butternut (and not stropping my tools enough) I have tools that are in serious need of attention beyond stropping. I am blessed that I not only have a makeshift setup for sharpening my tools but also have a friend in Billyburg that allows me to come up and utilize his sharpening system if need be and I need be. I have found that when my tools begin to dull a bit I, when carving butternut just carve a bit more aggressive to overcompensate for the sharpness of the tools, I am not even sure I am aware of this at the time. Many carvers base the stropping on a time frame, i.e. after an hour of carving they stop and strop their tools.

So even though my attention was solely on the carving at the time I was taught a lesson way beyond how to shape a nose or cap. Sometimes when we are deep in the middle of a life lesson we don't realize we are being taught anything and it's only when we take the time to examine the past few days or carvings that we may shed light on where we have been and possibly where we are headed. Of course this only happens when we are open to constructive critiquing from ourselves or others around us.

as always, Good night and may God bless 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

How does He see us

  I have shared with many how most of my ornaments are carved from a corner block piece of wood. On one occasion when I had shared this with Miss Carolyn at the main office of my boys school she said that this is how we see ourselves as a plain block of wood. She then picked up one of my carved and painted ornaments and said and yet this is how God see us. As a carver I see the areas I messed up and where I need to improve the next time I do a carving and sometimes I simply throw away the piece of wood and start over, God see's no mistakes and He never throws us away. Mine are simple carvings so for a better example think about the wonderful sculpture by Michelangelo, La Pietà. I can't begin to imagine being able to look at a block of marble and seeing this sculpture inside. I can't imagine how he felt the day it was completed as he stood back and saw his creation, just as I can't imagine how God feels when He looks down upon me and it was for you and I that he gave His only Son.

Happy Easter and as always,

Good night and may God bless

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Scrap wood is never scrap to a carver, we can usually find something to do with it. As mentioned in my previous posting we can make items for a carving like cigars. Yet sometimes we simply use scrap wood to practice and get the carving juices flowing because after all not every carving is a ribbon winner. That doesn't mean that they can be fun and give you a chance to practice techniques or just simply have some time carving. I had a scrap piece that wasn't designated for anything so I thought I would just play around and see what I could come up with. Maybe not my best but fun all the same.

Sometimes the scraps help us to look at the way we are doing or carving certain areas. You may notice that the first image the edges of the nostrils have a harder edge and don't go back into the face as much as the rest of the images, I had carved him and noticed this so the next day I went back in and softened the edges and carved them a bit more into the face. Lesson learned, time well spent and he's kind of fun taboot.

as always, 
Good night and may God bless

Friday, March 18, 2016

pilots 2

Well I am finally feeling better, had bronchitis for a few weeks and didn't carve much but as I say I am feeling better now. Recently I carved a pilot or 2 one with a cigar and one without. Yeah I know but I like the old pilots so I carve a bunch. they will be painted shortly but thought I would at least share my progress so far.

The pilot's cigar was carved from a small block of bass wood. Not every piece is squared up as I like to play around with the shape of the cigarette or cigar, like the soldier I did back on July 27 of 2015This is why I like to do this opposed to just using a wooden dowel. I have numerous pieces of bass wood in case a cigarette or cigar is needed for a carving. After all you can't carve someone from the WWI era and not have them smoking, can you?

The pilots are carved from the same block of bass wood, in doing this grain can become an issue but luckily it didn't hamper my efforts. I am happy with both pilots but I do like the overall expression of the none smoking pilot the best. Painting will begin shortly but for now this is where we stand.

as always, 
Good night and may God bless