One of the enjoyable things about cottonwood bark is the excitement of creating interesting pieces. Part of the challenge is balancing the tension between keeping as much bark surface as possible while needing to cut it away for an image. Witness the practice caricature below.
How might you have done it differently? Shalom.
“An honest witness tells the truth, but a false witness tells lies.” Prov 12:17
Attached are pictures of two human faces in cottonwood bark. I love the freedom of carving in bark, the freedom to capture faces that belong to no one, yet are pleasing to everyone. You may notice, if you look through the posts found here,or on my Pinterest account (john Klompmaker), that there are very few sad, depressed, or snarling faces. Not because I don’t know how, but because I choose not to. Our world is filled with enough evil, enmity, envy and the like. My carvings need not add to the wicked or depressing side of things. So, enjoy the smiles below.
“Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense.” Prov 12:11
Before you read further, look at the picture for a while. What are you looking at?
Okay, it isn’t wood, but it is an amazing carving. The material is stone. The artist has worked the stone to look like a gauzy, shear cloth draped over a face. You looked back at it, didn’t you? I just did as I type this to be sure of what I am saying. Now to get that quality in wood.
“A kindhearted woman gains honor, but ruthless men gain only wealth.” Prov 11:16
Have you looked through the 162 posts of this site recently? I have. Things start out rather rough; I was learning the blogging ropes, new photography, editing, etc. Some early photos weren’t very good. Some early links have disappeared.
This I noticed, the first four posts back in 2011 were cottonwood bark. Many more followed. Here is a listing of bark posts to date: 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 14, 28, 33, 62, 66, 70, 73, 83, 102, 103(83), 107, 111, 118, 120. There are several I really like: a second-place award winner with an exterior staircase,p; two big, tooth grinning faces; a sailboat and sea captain pair; and a church with a “repaired” front door.
Then we have the farmer below. I really like him. His smile is appealing. He fits this piece of bark well. This was a first try at neck details which I find satisfying. And the coloring, a wash style, also fits well. Anything else you notice?
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Prov 11:2
Sometimes there are just too many “good” scraps in the scrap box. You can’t burn them all, especially when it is summer and the heat index is 107. So what to do? Vegetables, of course. And in the heat, why not chilies and tomatoes.
These guys are made from basswood scraps, cut ends and odds shapes one would normally discard. The odd shapes give the added challenge of finding shapes that fit. You know, ala Michelangelo and his “David.” Yes, we are stretching it a bit, no, a lot.
While there is a great distance between the artistry of and material used by Michelangelo and these five guys, the use of reclaimed or cast off pieces is the same. And, tip of the hat to “VeggieTales, the cute smiles one can add makes them pleasing to the eye also.
“Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.” Prov 10:4
Where do you find carving material? The answer, everywhere! This piece of wood came from limbs pruned from trees on a university campus in Beijing, China. Hey, when you need to carve…
It is poplar. The limb was cut to length and then left to season a little. The goals here were to practice a different kind of hat and to work on facial expression. I like both. Also, part of the caricature was to oversized the hands and then the thought came to do the same with the button. It certainly was easier to set in detail around the button without worrying about cutting it off. How often have you tried carving in the round?
Sorry for the poor quality of the second picture. It is only one I could find at the moment.
“They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for ‘people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.'” 2 Peter 2:19
Maybe too many Popeye cartoons. Maybe a tough day at the office. Whatever the reason, this Old Tar isn’t too happy, even if he knows the ropes. Does he look like he’s all at sea or a loose cannon.
Perhaps he is upset for being ordered to “shake a leg.” This nautical term came to mean either “hurry up” or “to dance.” Does he look like a guy who would want to dance? Not all “old tars”, or sailors liked dancing. One reason for the nickname, by the way, might have been because sailors were said to use grease or tar in their hair.
This sailor is in a private collection in Michigan. Shalom.
“A good name is better than fine perfume…” Eccl 7:1a