re-using, recycling, and redeeming old wood

Posts tagged “driftwood

98 Whale ho!

Stylized blue whale

Stylized blue whale

Do any of you remember a childhood book entitled, “Burt Dow, Deep Water Man”?  Author Robert McCloskey (http://www.robertmccloskeymemoir.com/) wrote about an east coast deep sea fisherman named Burt who ends up inside a whale in a gale.  The story begins with Burt hooking a whooper, a whale.  His tiny boat can’t hold the whale, so Burt removes his hook and patches the whales tail with colorful bandage.  The story ends with Burt placing a colorful band-aid on the tails an entire pod of whales.  You will have to read it to find out about the gale and the whale.

Acrylic wash over cedar finished with boiled linseed oil.

Acrylic wash over cedar finished with boiled linseed oil.

Of course, these photos are not part of Burt Dow’s story, but the whale here reminds me of McCloskey’s whales.  And certainly this whale, with the notch out of one side and a knot in the other side of his tail might be able to use one of Burt’s bandages, or two or three.

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Cedar wood grain comes through in interesting ways.

But of course, this whale could be as friendly and helpful as any of the whales in McCloskey’s story.

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Smile

I think the smile on this guy comes across really well.  Of course, whales don’t smile, but if they did, this is what they would look like.

Cedar wood whale on lake driftwood.

Cedar wood whale on lake driftwood.

So, another whale.  This one came out beautifully.  While cedar is not the easiest wood to work with, an acrylic wash has allowed the cedar wood grain to pour through adding another dimension of texture to the piece.  The whale is a stylized blue whale.  The piece about 12 x x 4 without the base.

The base is a piece of lake drift wood.  Some color has been added to give the feel of ocean floor.  The colors seem a bit intense in these photos, but when the piece is sitting on a counter or mantel the colors come through more subtly.  The mounting, at angle, gives the piece a little more movement.  I really like the last picture.  The shadow and light make for a happy face.

This whale is now part of the collection of Mr. Rick Buteyn.

Shalom.

“It is not good to be partial to the wicked and so deprive the innocent of justice.”  Proverbs 18:5

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#67 Wood carving: Lighthouses and driftwood.

Lighthouse and driftwood, collection of Beth Klompmaker

Visiting family and friends is always a blessing, a good time.  One of the added joys for wood carvers is seeing works that have been gifted or purchased which have been pushed from memory by newer carvings and carving ideas.  This Easter weekend was no different.  The picture above was a driftwood scene I found in my sister-in-laws basement.  I remembered the piece the moment I saw it.

Lighthouse, reverse view

Lighthouse, side view

The first thing carved was the lighthouse itself.  The large size of the driftwood demanded a larger lighthouse carving than I had carved previously.  Once the lighthouse was completed and “tacked” in place the piece called for more.
So, the keeper’s house was next.

Lighthouse and keeper’s house

You will notice that the lighthouse and keeper’s cottage were set into the driftwood.  This a feeling of solidity in the face of a storm.  The setting in process came after both carvings had been completed so that they could be fitted exactly.

Lighthouse, tree and walkway detail

One of the interesting things of which I was reminded when I revisited this carving were the “scrap” trees.  Each tree and clump of trees were carved from basswood scraps.  The driftwood, picked because its gray coloring resembled the rocks of the Atlantic Coast, called for something more along its length.  I was reminded of the pines one finds on in the American Northeast.  I have traveled there with family and have always enjoyed the pines.  So, we added a few pines and pines clusters.

Another view of the “forest”

pine tree clump

You will notice that the pines do not fit into the driftwood like the lighthouse and the cottage.  This adds a bit to the realism of the piece since trees come close to the ground but do not fit neatly as “factory made” trees might.  The added benefit for the viewer are  shadows created by the tree bottoms.

A view “from the forest walkway”

One more feature makes the entire piece.  After the trees were mounted to the driftwood something was needed to tie the entire work together.  Unpainted basswood strips proved to be just the thing.  I had a hand full of thin strips of basswood left over from another project.  These were trimmed down to make the cottage landing, the walk ways, and the stairs.  The light color of the wood provides a nice contrast to the darker driftwood and the green trees.

Map of Michigan lighthouses and the carving

Two last thoughts.  First, you will notice in the final picture how my sister-in-law has augmented the piece with a map of Michigan lighthouses.  The map even has pines and rocks around the lighthouses shown.  Against the white walls the picture and the carving compliment each other well.

Second, since this is a wood carving blog, I will raise a question I often hear or give to others – Is there anything on this piece you would change.  Yes, had I known how great the entire piece would look with the trees and walkways, I would have spent a little more time on detailing the lighthouse and the cottage.  Perhaps more lines for stone or bricks or more work on the windows.   Then again, the work has to be finished sometime.  Enjoy.

“An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends  and against all sound judgment starts quarrels.”  Proverbs 18:1