|J. Butlin the model|
...a long time ago in a carving world far, far away I took classes from my friends (and yours) Phil & Vicki Bishop. As part of the roughout classes I took were all the many lessons reaffirmed by the likes of Gary Falin and others. A particular lesson that I learned that is vital is that before we can truly create a great caricature carving we need to understand some measure of anatomy and what is "normal". This teaching came up on a recent visit to our family in NC (Mitch and Page) when Jim was beginning to work on one of his first full figure carvings. He had experience with roughouts which allowed him to work on the general anatomical layout which also allowed him to start carving hands. Through minimal guidance he was able to generate some fine hands in many positions. The challenge came as he advanced through to generating his original ideas in carvings of his own design. One in particular was a barefoot banjo player, "T. Wang" as I understand he was named but his far better half. The design of a instrument playing figure did pose challenges for general hand and finger placements but also represented his first time carving a bare foot. While the picture may seem funny and while we did have some safety concerns (we wanted that knife on a leash) the fact is he was able to generate a mighty fine resemblance of a foot by using himself as a model.
I remember Vicki often stating that we are our best model and I have to say many years later that this is a lesson I have retained and continue to utilize today. If you have ever spent much time around caricature carvers we spend a lot of time in front of a camera trying to capture a pose, in front of a mirror creating a visual memory, or just like Jim trying to remember how to count to 5...this simple method should be used often as it pays dividends and results in much finer carvings.
Well, I don't much pay attention to that critter in PA,as it is beginning to look a lot like spring is just around the corner...so now is the time to carve before the spring chores arrive and our cutting time is whittled away.
I am spending the day with my carving thoughts...how about you?