Sunday, December 29, 2013

What can you do with an hour?

One-hour carvings by R. Olsen
  On my recent trip to Dayton  I had the opportunity to finally meet Ryan Olsen who in recent years dominated the CCA competition with some awe inspiring carvings and finishes.  Ryan has since become a member of the CCA and since that time put together another really nice carving of a barbershop quartet as part of the CCA's street scene (picture can be found on this blog).

  Ryan hails from western Idaho and is a young and energetic carver who not only takes his carving hobby seriously but also, with his wife, enjoys singing opera.  This is most likely why music plays prominently in his choice of carving subjects.

  My traveling companions and myself happened to be staying at the same hotel as the CCA members and spent our evenings in the lobby both socializing with the members but also carving.  In my discussion with Ryan he mentioned a method he was currently using to improve his skills...the one-hour carving. 

  As part of this effort Ryan was basically pushing himself through what I have termed "carvers paralysis" and as such the result is astounding and attractive.  The carving shown on the left was carved using one of my large Ron Wells knives.  This resulted in a carving with large facets and deep bold cuts.  Of course, in his methods I do not believe he limits himself to a whittling knife but you can't deny the results of his efforts.  This is something worth giving a try.

  Thanks Ryan for the idea, I have since bought myself a timer and will giving this a try.

  It's another beautiful carving day...stop 'em up and get to carving!!

I hope all have had a wonderful and warm holiday filled with carving gifts.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Advancing the form...

The Brawl - C. Hammack
Over the past months I had anticipated the Dayton Artistry in Wood show due to the fact that they were showcasing the Caricature Carvers of America, many of the members I have had the pleasure of learning from, carving with, or just discussing the art form.  I have been carving since the 80's (yup, I was around when dirt was born) and to my detriment until a couple of years ago I had not known about Chris Hammack and his art form.  Traveling with a couple of fellow carvers I looked forward to spending some time with like-minded carvers and learning something new.
Now if you have not had the pleasure please take the time to take a look at Mr. Hammack, the man has all around art skills (can also play the guitar and sing) and is worthy of your time.  This year Chris has taken it to another level by taking 2nd best-of-show honors at Dayton, only being eclipsed by Fred Zavadil.  (I believe he also took the Caricature category at Congress but as of this writing I am unable to confirm). 
In the last two years I have been fortunate to carve with Chris, who has recently been selected into the CCA,  and have many of his study casts.  Chris also has the rare ability of being able to carve women who actually appear feminine.  Some of this ability comes from the all around art skills and experience he possesses.
Chris also has composition abilities that elude most of us.  The carving above is truly a representation of that skill as this carving is one of those you can look at for hours all the while discovering new items while maintaining necessary proportions for all the figures (horses, skunk, dog, etc.).  His carvings also bring the humor, as he has a good wit about himself.  At Dayton, I was fortunate to spend some time playing guard dog to his display, while he was attending to other duties and it was a pleasure to observe the attendees reaction to seeing his display and discussing their observations.
All in all, Chris is worthy of your time and admiration for the skills and mentoring he brings to our art.  Chris has taken to the teaching circuit and will be traveling to many a state in the coming year.  If you get the opportunity and are serious about advancing your skills you would be well served to give him a look-see.
It's a good day to be a Caricature do something about it...research, learn, draw, sharpen, and get to carving!!