I have been showing the work of others for the past while. Thought it might be time to show something I have carved. These two pieces were begun at the end of last summer. They are now finished and hanging in our house. The work in progress is shown here. Will show the painted pieces soon, after I take a few more pictures. The carvings are roughly 18 long x 4 wide x 2 inches thick.
Both carvings are done in cottonwood bark. Last summer I revisited a lightening struck tree while on a family vacation. For years small sections or pieces have been falling off the tree. This past summer the tree’s entire bark skin came off. The morning we were to return home, while I still had an empty vehicle, I loaded up as much bark as would fit in my small SUV. I found some storage for the bark and was even able to squeeze a few pieces into the load returning home from vacation. Good thing we ate our way through some of supplies from the incoming trip. That left room for some bark.
I found inspiration for the pieces in a carving magazine. One picture gave the idea. The challenge was to get the correct cuts to recreate feeling of the photo. My dentist liked the pieces. Perhaps I will have to replace the bad spot in Big Mouth 1 with a gold filling.
Enjoy. Feed back is most welcome. Inquiries about purchasing pieces also.
“If a ruler listens to lies, all his officials become wicked.” Proverbs 29:12
One of the joys of carving bark is dealing with what each piece of bark brings to the table. The challenge, always, is finding ways to incorporate the natural features into the finished piece. In this piece of bark we have a very deep fissure bracketed by two nice, solid pieces of bark.
The fissure itself creates a wonderful negative space for the eye. The dark slash through the piece takes your eye up in to the house at the top. Shadows and light spots add lots of visual interest to the base of the carving.
The two solid masses of wood on either side of the fissure have been dealt with in view of the strong visual texture of the fissure. As you can see in the picture immediately above, lots of bark has been left on the base. This light bark stands in contrast to the dark fissure. But, in order to tie the base to the house above, some rocks have been cut into the bark of the base to expose the redbrown of the under wood. The shapes and the color add another layer of visual interest.
Moving up from the base we come to the house itself. The base has drawn our eye to the color and texture of the house. Small rocks in the chimney echo the larger rocks of the base. The rounded shapes of the chimney rock and base rocks are countered by the strong vertical and horizontal lines of the roof shingles, squared stones of the walls the steps and landings, and door and windows. More shadows and highlights are created by the bench underneath the window.
All in all a piece I really like. Trust you do too.
Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:22
The little guy really turned out nice. I like many things about him.
One thing I do enjoy about this Hobo is his color. I was really pleased with the way the colors worked together. Also, the wash of paint allowed the wood grain to show through this piece very nicely. I might have added a little more rosy coloration to his checks, but his face is cute enough to make up for that lack of color.
The next part about this carving to like is the movement created by the position of the legs, hands, feet, and coat. Their positions give the piece a more dynamic, rather than a static, stationary feel. The eye is invited to follow the lines of the carving, to find the interesting points along the way.
Hobos aren’t really a “cute” topic. They represent economic hardship and difficulty in life. But I am a fan of “Freddy the Freeloader” ala Red Skelton. Red’s portrayal of a hobo was “cute.” It is that character I looked for in this carving. So, you will notice the “cute” toes sticking out of the shoes. I also like the scrunched face, a little character being a little character.
The block of wood for this carving was 4″ x 2″ x 2″. The figure was not roughed out. The image was drawn on the square block and the roughed out by hand. This method has its advantages. One advantage is demonstrated in the coat tail. As you can see in “Hobo coat tails” there is a nice sweep to the coat, as if it were caught in the wind. This is the result of have had “extra” wood in the back of the carving with which to play.
On this last picture and on “Hobo coat tails” you can see how great a paint wash looks. You can see the color, but the wash allows the grain of the wood to come through in a pleasing way.
“A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” Proverbs 22:1