Friday, December 24, 2010

Nothing like a gift of Heinecke wood...

...yep, to a woodcarver there is nothing better than receiving another shipment of fresh stock from the Heinecke family.  These folks harvest some of the finest basswood out there and it cuts beautifully!  In preparation for my upcoming instructing at my club I ordered up some practice sticks and couldn't resist ordering up some additional blocks...Merry Christmas to me!!!

  To all my friends and fellow carvers out there I wish the wamest and happiest of holidays may it be filled with joy!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

FINALLY...a little bit of carving...

 Well, not so much for me, but for others.  While my ability to carve has been severely impacted by other forces I have been able to regularly attend the local Woodcarving club meetings and will be providing 6 sessions of instruction for my fellow woodcarvers.  This is my first formal class as usually I impart advice on an as needed basis.  Feeling the need to fill the void in instruction I have decided to instruct the class on basic knife carving.  Since I have observed that the need exists I will begin with the basics...wish me luck!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks!

  Today is a day for giving thanks here in the states.  It is a day I hope all take to heart and truly find something to be thankful for.  For those who are unable to be with their loved ones or just find themselves alone on this holiday I wish a day of peace and comfort.  For those of us who are fortunate to have many blessing please remember to pay it forward and reach out to others.  Wishing all of you a blessed day filled with all the best!

  For all of our servicemen and women, thank you for your service and preserving the freedoms we enjoy every day.  We are truly thankful for your service.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Wow, the sun does shine in NY...

After many months of our normal gray winter season here in Western NY we are finally seeing gradually more sun.  It is nice to know spring is around the corner.

Now that the Charlotte show is complete my next focus is on the local show put on by the Geneseee Valley Woodcarvers.  The show is held in Rochester every spring at the Rochester Museum and Science center.   Like most woodcarving clubs it does suffer from the lack of youth.  It is not from trying though.  These are a great group of accomplished gentlemen and ladies.  The majority of the group appears to be bird carvers,  but there is always a chance I can pass along my sickness, a love for Caricature carving.  Last fall I worked on an original design which is a display of my typical brand of humor.  It is keenly appropriate that I will be taking it to the show, a show where some of the members have achieved such aclaim with their bird carvings even to the level of the Ward's World Championships.

And so it goes that my original carving "The Elusive Baltimore Oreo" will make it's trek to this show...
I hope it's worth a smile!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Moderate success...

...I'm back!!  It was a beautiful weekend in North Carolina where I was vacationing/competing in the Charlotte Woodcarvers annual show.  The weather was perfect...sunny and in the 60's!!

  As you can see from the picture at the left I completed the bust and mounted it on a glued up base made from Mahogany which I gave a tung oil finish to.  The carving itself has only been sprayer with Deft as a sealer.  The carving itself was given several once overs to ensure it had good clean cuts and turned out pretty good for an experiment.  It took second in a two horse race and was beat by a natural carving with far more detail. 

  Overall I am displeased with my presentation/composition of the piece, I know I could have done better but was under a deadline.  Other critiques I would make are that the mustache is lifeless,  the sweater needs more detail, and too much wood was taken from the inner cheekbone area near the sides of the nose.

  You might say I am being overly critical of this work,  but I believe that to be our best we must be able to objectively and fairly critique our own work.  Overall I would grade this carving a B-, not my best effort.

Having said all this I can take away a couple of things from this experience,  I had fun and I gained experience on a large bust using mallet and gouges.

Hope today is a good one!!! (I know tomorrow we are slated to recieve a12" of snow...)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Making some headway...

...well folks we're finally into some of the details.  I've spent quite a bit of time ensuring the overall shape of the head is what I desire and I believe I am close.  There are a lot of things that have to be considered and you have to be somewhat anatomically close in order to carry the work without it stepping from the Caricature to the Cartoon.  I've spent a good amount of time on the eye shape and it's layout to ensure it is indicative of the mood and look I am going for.  This is just a straight forward look without a dominant mood so the eye shapes are somewhat symmetrical in shape and neutral in position.
   I also spent some time on the mouth ensuring the corners of curve back into the face and creating a curl from the chin up into the lip.  I continued my shaping down to the neck and also started adding detail to the mustache.  It should be noted that the mustache is not finished as I will be adding some breaks to both the upper side of the mustache where it extends from the face and also some larger breaks along the bottom edge.  Once the breaks are cut in I will continue shaping with progressively smaller #11 (veiner) and #9 gouges until the desired level of detail is desired.
    All-in-all the piece needs several more hours of work and I'll keep you posted on my progress.

  Enjoy the day (there may have been a couple of blizzards in DC but it ain't that bad up here in the snow belt !!)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

2010 International Woodcarvers website

I have been waiting and wondering why I had not heard any details regarding the upcoming Congress Competition and seminars.  Well it would appear that maybe they were waiting on their new website to come about.  It has now been published and the Afilliated Wood Carvers website has moved to a new URL, so ya might want to update your bookmark as the address has changed...


Good luck to all participants.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

...slow does not begin to describe my progress...

   Well another couple of weeks closer to the Charlotte show and a little progress has been made.  As you can tell I am still outlining and blocking in the figure.  When carving it is important to save the detail for last and ensure you have the layout correct first.  Trust me (and the all of my instructors) will save a lot of wasted effort if you ensure you have the areas blocked out. 
   As you can see I have the basic head shape and form I was looking for.  The nose is beginning to show basic form , the jaw line is in place,  the ear shape is somewhat defined ,  the shirt collar is starting its curl,  the tie has been sketched and outlined, the hair and crown of the head have the shape I desire, the cheeks and hollows are where I'd like them,  the eye mounds have not been defined yet but I have ensured the brow line I desire will be accomodated by the wood left there.
  So, for next steps I will begin adding detail.  I usually start with the nose, then eyes, moustache and mouth.  I will ensure I have the proper shape to cheeks and temple, And complete the eye brows.  I next will most likely will finish the crown of the head, then on to the ears and hair.  Once complete I will move south until it is complete. 
  As I add the aforementioned detail, I will kepp in mind my work on actual Caricature.  Given my timeline I better get moving so I ensure I leave time for the base. 

  Stay warm and carve something!!

Friday, January 29, 2010

2010 CCA Seminar and Competition

  Just a quick note to let everyone know that the CCA has published the brochures for the 2010 Seminars and Competition to be held in Converse, IN. 


  Good luck to all...

Saturday, January 16, 2010


So yes, I do still exist...and yes I do need to apologize for not posting my progress...

...sometimes life does get in the way and of course the first to suffer is our art.  My job has taken up a good portion of my time lately and during those times I do not like to push myself to carve as the quality I like will not be there.  What I love about carving is that it's always there waiting for you like an old friend and even when you are too busy to carve you can at least plan your next moves or solve the next riddle.  In my case I was having problems getting my sand paper belts to adhere properly on my sharpening machine and had to turn to my good friend Mark for advice.  It was a good reason to give him a call and catch up on what he's up to as well.

As you can see from the pictures I made some further modifications to the clay model and I went ahead and made a side profile cutout of him.  I then tooks steps to start blocking in the carving.  Mind you no detail will be added to the carving until this "layout" or "blocking in" process has been completed.  At this point in the process it pays to acknowledge the anatomy of the gentlemen to ensure all parts properly line up.  An example of this is ensuring that that the jaw eminates stright down from the front of the earlobe and then curves towards the chin.  Details like this make the carving "believable".  The study of the anatomical features of the face is crucial and if you get a good reference book it will show you the difference between a male and female skull and differing characterisitics.

Have a great day carving, and I'll post updates as I can....ENJOY!!