Monday, 2 September 2013

Down To Business

Well it's been a little while but I'm still totally excited about the project, I just can't get to it as often as I'd like. So now I'm down to the carving but as I've realized you need a plan. And what is easy to sketch isn't always easy to carve. Okay, for me, there isn't much that is easy to carve but is the sketch that is the inspiration for the carving

I hope I can capture the energy of real leaves in the carving, and get the scale right.Now that I've started the carving I've already realized that I get to work in more dimensions so I have to think more about foreground and background and whether the leaves will curl in or out....OMG my head is spinning. It's definitely slowing down the actual carving having to think about all this stuff. Oh yah, so did I mention that one of the biggest mistakes beginning carvers make is not sharpening their tools often enough. Rick tells me that I should sharpen every 20 minutes while carving. Of course, I move so much more slowly than he does that maybe I could get away with every 30 minutes or maybe every 40 minutes. Ha ha

My current plan of attack: 1. Draw and then cut out the outline on the 'bad' side of the log, while deciding what's in the foreground and what is in the background. 2. Start doing the rough work around the leaves, just the big chunks. 3. By the time I get to the end of the bad side, I should have gained some minimal level of proficiency and be ready to start doing some of the more detailed shaping of the leaves. Gonna need some skill to capture the energy.

So here's where I've gotten to this weekend.
Here's the rough outline. So far I'm not too impressed the feeling it conveys but I'm hoping it'll get better. And I gotta remember, this is the bad side. I can boob it up and start over with all my lessons learned 

Close up showing some of the detail of the carving. It's actually hard from the photo to see how deep it is, but isn't the wood grain gorgeous?

So what have I learned this weekend. 1. It's way easier to carve with the grain. Going across the grain seems to tear the wood. I'm not sure if that's just because most of my tools aren't sharp enough. Head scratcher there. I'll investigate further 2. Try to keep the outline nice and clean as you go. It's much harder to clean up a jagged line after you've dug down past the depth of the parting tool. 3. When designing, be careful of the leaf intersections. Make em too fussy with tight spaces and the carving is REALLY HARD. 4. Don't work too long. It all gets harder when you get tired.

That's pretty good learning for one weekend.

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