Cottonwood bark and caricatures fit together. The second and third pieces have appeared in earlier posts. They are here for comparison. The first picture below was done early in my bark carving. It is in a piece of cottonwood bark found on the lake shore. Pieces two and three were scrounged years later.
Comparisons tell a story of progress. The first piece is rather thin, found at a time when I didn’t have much wood and anything might do. Also, in trying to avoid the weak crack in the piece, the face is placed far too low in the overall piece. Placing it higher or moving hair or hat higher on the wood, may have helped. Another point of progress is seen when comparing is the depth and quality of the cuts made. The first piece lacks shadows and movement which you see in the other carvings.
What else can you find when you compare these carvings? What about comparing your early and later work? Where have you improved?
“Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.” Proverbs 23:12
Found this site which recommends list of blogs for wood people. The list has some good suggestions which might catch your attention. Full carving, turning, chip carving, spoons, decorative arts, and tools were represented.
Do you have an other links you could share?
This carving, my own, is not in any of the blogs cited in the site, but it’s a sight. I like “Ed”.
“The greedy bring ruin to their households, but the one who hates bribes will live.” Prov 15:27
Carvings shown here will be offered for sale by a friend of ours back in the States while we reside here in Beijing.
The first picture shows an array of bark pieces, houses, churches, and a light house/sailboat. It shows the kind of variety I try to have at a sale. For me, this is a combination of what I like and what kinds of pieces have sold in the past, always a marketing challenge.
The second shows event more variety. Here a larger lighthouse, a book carved out of white pine, a sparrow and a related verse from the Bible, and a basswood relief of a recognizable viking.
What would you consider a good variety for a sale? How many carvings would you bring? How do you go about pricing your pieces?
“The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.” Prov 14:8
Of course, you are asking yourself what this photo is all about. Well, if you haven’t skipped to the bottom and looked through the gallery yet, it is a mouth full of teeth. Not my original idea, I found it in one of the myriad of carving magazines lying around my carving space. This is a final post of a project shown earlier in 83 Big mouth 1 and 2. This is Big mouth 2 painted.
I didn’t want to make all the pictures large, but I thought at least these two would make a nice showing, giving the full effect of the piece. I really like the strong white on the teeth. It is acrylic white at full strength. I do like the softer blue for a hint of a hat and the natural red or umber of the unpainted wood for the face. Every piece teaches something for the next time. On this piece I would paint the gums a stronger red. Without it, there is some confusion about where the gum is and where the lip begins. Having said that, the piece is fun. Anyone interested in buying it? We can talk.
“Desire without knowledge is not good—how much more will hasty feet miss the way! ” Proverbs 18
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
There is no better place to carve than outside in the sunshine, especially with friends. Two friends, Ed and Jeff, and I spent last Saturday carving in my back yard. Jeff worked on a cypress knee while Ed and I worked on some bark houses.
Jeff has received lessons for the cypress knee from another carver so we left him on his own. He was working on a few of the extra details for the piece.
Ed was making his first attempts at carving houses out of cotton wood bark. We talked about setting up the piece first. We looked the bark over for defects, taking off the lose or weak pieces. Then we drew on the back of the bark to get an idea of how we wanted the house to stand on a hill, the angles of the roof line, walls and hill. Next we began to rough in the roof, the walls and hill lines.
Cotton wood always forces you to deal with weak spots, pieces that fall off or break off in the process of carving. Ed’s piece had two wings, but one broke off while the piece was being handled. In the end the carving
will actually be stronger as a result of have less wood. Ed had to figure out how to make the house fit on the rearranged piece.
After roughing in the house and spotting it correctly on the hill the next work was to begin adding windows and doors. On bark house I tend to make the doors and
windows oversized so they are easier to set in and carve.
The tedious work began here. Roof lines had to be finally set in and shingles drawn out and carved. Doors and windows had to be pierced to let light through. Exterior siding were sketched on and carved in. Details for the hill, rocks, benches were added at this point in the carving.
While we did not get the project completed the final steps after details are fixed in place will be to spray the piece with sealer bringing out and preserving the rich colors of the bark. And then the piece is ready for signing and dating. And, as Jeff keeps reminding us, once the piece is signed no more carving on it.
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Another carving. Three photos to go with our article. Amazing what one can learn. Of course, we aren’t saying how long it took.
A DIFFERENT SLANT ON THINGS.
Cottonwood is one of my favorite materials to use. As you can see, the bark of the cottonwood can be very thick. The exterior layer is usually gray and dark. The fun begins when the exterior is open and the grain of the bark is displayed.
Rich, deep reds, browns and yellows interplay in pleasing and exciting patterns. Before finish coats are added the exposed bark is a soft brown, often unremarkable. When a coat of sealer or wax is added cottonwood bark really stands out.
Cottonwood is a pleasing wood to carve. It is softer than most carving material. It holds detail nicely. One drawback is its fragility. When carving, you always need to be aware of the pressure being put on the various parts of the carving. Flexibility in design is a must when carving with cottonwood.
This piece is for sale today at a 10% discount on the Gift shop price. Contact me if you are interested.