I just have to share a few photos of the Sequoias of California. It was a privilege and a blessing to walk among these great trees, grateful for their preservation and their beauty. I am only half joking about carving them. It would be grand to get some of this wood. I do carve cotton wood bark, so I had gone to the park hoping to be able to find a piece of Sequoia bark. After being there and touching one of the tree, I know better. The bark of these giants is spongy, made up of many small scales or flakes. I suspect it would not make a good base for a carving.
It is difficult to imagine trees this large, and then to imagine how much wood is in one. Not that I am in favor of cutting any of this beauties down, but, wow. I must say that, while the pictures are stunning, being in their presences is even better.
“Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam;so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.”
The pieces shown here are not done in wood. They are all clay. Home to them is a beautiful new museum in Tianjin, China. So what are these photos doing in a wood blog? Ideas, ideas, ideas. I love looking at how artists take the real world and make it in….you name it…clay, glass, plastic, fruit, yarn, paint, pencil, steel, junk, wire, string, paper, cloth. The variety is amazing, the talent, the creativity, stunning. The main character here has so many great details. Notice the tilt of his hat and the curl of the bill. No American teen could do it better. The shoes, both the one being repaired and his own, also have neat detail – thick soles, the kink of the leather, the stitching on his own, no laces. A wood carver could learn much from the angles of the limbs, head, and body. The fine details in the clothing – marks to indicate shadow or create shadow. And, we haven’t even begun to look at the two characters in the background. Enjoy. Would you share what details you find interesting in the others?
A gentle answer turns away wrath,but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
I am always looking for carving ideas. Now that I almost always have an iPad with me it is easier to capture some of them quickly. This photo hangs in a hallway in my Uncle Georg’s house in western Germany. What caught my attention was the roof lines and the texture the artist shows us. Having done many roofs, what I note is shapes and shadows. Also, on the building to the right, my eye is caught by the strong line near the top denoting the final layer of thatch. The question is then, how can that be replicated in wood. Which tool works best, what will be the most efficient way to make those cuts. For anyone who has not carved, part of the issue is the direction ones cut, up from the bottom of the roof or down from the top. Experimental cuts need to be made to determine what happens to grain wood, how the grain reacts.
Sorry about the quality of this photo. However, for my purposes, this is good enough. What is appealing to me is the roof lines of the buildings, how they sit together, the shadows, and how the artist has created texture. While the photo is fuzzy, the relationship between the buildings is strong enough to be appealing. Hope you have some ideas to share. Or, if you use some ideas from these pictures I would love to see them.
Comfort, comfort my people says your God. Isaiah 40:1
Every wood carver learns from all other wood carvers. Any debate on this? One might say that a Phil Bishop or a Lynn Doughty could not learn from a raw novice, but even they would admit to learning something along the way from “newbies.” Perhaps they would not learn a new technique or great improvement of style, but newbies ask questions that are “outside the box.” Those questions make the expert carver think differently about their own work.
Having argued that we all learn from each other, it should also be no matter of debate that we learn more from an “expert” in a field than from a novice or newbie. Experts have meditated, applied, refined, and sweated over the details. Someone like Fred Cogelow has poured thousands of hours into the art of wood carving. Experts teach us more quickly because they have often walked the road we are on, they have experienced what we are struggling with. So, look for experts. Here is a clip from a sculptor I enjoy, Philippe Faraut.
I would encourage you also to look for his book “Book 1: Portrait Sculpting: Anatomy & Expressions in Clay by Philippe & Charisse Faraut.” The pictures here come from his book. There are many more.
If God be God, then no insoluble problem exists. And if God be my God, then no problem of mine is without its appropriate solution. —Maurice Roberts
I really like the idea of recycling. It just makes lots of sense. That is one reason I enjoy carving old wood: chair spindles, stair railings, barn boards, cut offs, thread spools. And of course, that is also one reason I am attracted to the material below.
Here is a quote from a post sent to me. The photos and the work are great. “All the old cottonwood trees in the area of Craig, Colorado, had some disease and needed to be removed. So the city council approved a Chainsaw competition in the park and offered a prize. The attached pictures are a result of the competition in the park. Great artists! Great public service.”
Of course this is only the teaser picture. The rest are in the gallery. “Hats off” to Craig, Colorado for making such great use of lost trees. And a double hats off carvers for their good work. My favorites are the Trolls, the Kids, and the Giraffes. Which ones do you like?
While I do not care for chains saws myself, I am always impressed with the skill others have developed using them. Again, more food for thought when it comes to my own wood carving. I have my eye on the giraffe piece. That might look great in a piece of bass or even a chunk of cotton wood bark. I would add some paint to them to catch the distinctive giraffe markings and give another layer of variety to a carving.
Three more things to share here. 1. I would love to hear from those of you who check out these posts. Got any questions or anything to share about wood carving? 2. I also ask you to consider subscribing if you have not already done so. I am not only interested in wood carving but also in those who track carving and its ideas. 3. And finally, do any of you have carving ideas to share?
God dwells in eternity but time dwells in God. He has already lived all our tomorrows as He has lived all our yesterdays. —A.W. Tozer
What is an adjective? A word which….. Stunning, delightful, breath-taking, delicious, how do these all fit into one story? And carving no less. As you have already seen, the watermelon carvings below are gorgeous. Skill, experience, and artistic ability all contribute to wonderful carvings. See the link for all 75 carvings below.
The birds below are my wife’s favorites. She has a substantial collection of them in wood, glass, metal, fabric, porcelain, and even a gourd. But this one she won’t keep, other than as a photo.
Now how do they do that? I know that in wood carving, if you break a piece off you still have a chance to glue it back on. What do you use when a piece of watermelon breaks off? Ice? Hmmmm. Adds to the difficulty if you ask me.
A God who could pardon without justice might one of these days condemn without reason. —C.H. Spurgeon
Always looking for carving ideas. This photo is from “Mark’s Photo Blog” on WordPress. It is also appearing because I am trying to use the newest twist in blog posting. I am following Andy P’s instructions for quick posting. Perhaps this will let me fly through posting a bit faster. Although, for me, the real action is getting my carvings or the hand work of others on line. But, as the title says, this one is about finding ideas and inspiration for another carving.
I do want to note what it is that I look for when a photo or other source catches my attention. I am particularly struck by the eyes in this bust. I have noticed in beginning carvers the universal problem of hesitancy to press the material, to push the carving details deeply. The eyes here really stand out. The carver has made space for the eyes and then gone deep in the groves under and over the eyes. As a result, the skin and folds have strong shadows, giving the viewer the impression of a real face.
One might also notice how the carver has treated the eyes differently. Beginning carvers also need to overcome the tendency to make things symmetrical. This carving helps us see the need for variety in a piece. No human face is perfectly symmetrical. Go ahead, look in the mirror. Yours is lopsided too. I like the different folds within the space provided for the eyes. A good lesson for beginning carvers and reminder for those who have carved many pieces.
““There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a young woman.” Proverbs 30: 18