tributesinwood

Wood Carvings by Mark Sheridan

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Bricks and Mortar

You can look back at an earlier posting of when I created the brickwork and the stonework for this carving…just look under “Themes” for “Missed A Spot” and scroll back to see the original wood version of what follows.

The painting was fun.  I started with the stonework by initially carving in a stylized “S” onto the two keystones.  I found a nice font on the web, flipped the image vertically and then printed it off on an ink-jet printer.  With the letter now printed backwards, it was a simple matter to rub the back surface and leave a faint image directly on the wood.  A sharp knife and a bit of wood burning then created the image into the wood.  I suppose we could argue that the “S” is like the Sheraton chain, but I’m going with Sheridan.

The stone ledges and headers were initially painted a light grey and then were covered with multiple “washes” of a sand coloured beige, yellow ochre and light grey.  I then finished them up with some age related “stains” of yellow ochre, burnt sienna and asphaltum in the corners and “dripping” down the edges.

The mortar between the bricks was painted first with a light grey.  I then dabbed more than brushed on a brown/red combination followed by some grey and yellow ochre.  The dabbing was effective in giving the bricks a mottled look…I was careful to dab the colours randomly.

Now the kicker:  I remembered using an antiquing stain back ( way back ) when Peggy and I dabbled in ceramic painting.  I’m not sure how to describe this but I’m sure that it still can be purchased at ceramic shops or hobby shops.  It’s black, looks similar to a wood gel-type stain and has a slight solvent smell.  With a bit on the end of an artists brush, I dabbed an area of several bricks with this black stain and then wiped it off with a paper towel.  I used the same stain on the stonework, but in that case I painted the complete stone and then wiped off the stain.

Here are some pictures that show the “before” with just the acrylic paints and the “after” with the stain applied.  I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out and I’m looking forward to seeing how it looks with the urethane finish coat.

Before…

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After…

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And here’s how the whole thing is looking so far…

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Braided Rug

The braided rug where the three little dogs will sit came together pretty nicely.

It’s nothing more than a thin layer of basswood, maybe 3/16″, in which I made some spiral cuts with both a v-tool and followed up with a burning tool tip to clean things up a bit.  The individual braided part was created using a burning tool tip.  I guess you’d call it a herringbone pattern and it’s pretty simple to do but it takes a bit of time.  If you make a rug like this, just remember to give yourself enough room between spirals as you’ll need the room for the burned-in pattern.

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Once that was done, I used three alternating colours to paint the patterns.  You don’t have to actually switch between colours…just paint one “braid” or block, skip two and then paint the next braid until you’re finished with that colour.  The other two colours will follow the same pattern and eventually fill in all of the braids.

I actually used a three colour combination of blues, greens and reds.  Just pick a dark, medium and light colour in each of the blue, green and red combinations and start painting.  Water down your acrylic paint and you’ll find that the paint flows nicely over the braid that you’re painting and the burned line keeps it from flowing beyond that braid.

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The final touch was to do some dry brushing with a light beige colour just to pick up the high points and add a little more interest.  So, this was just using a fanning motion lightly over the carving with a large brush loaded with little and almost dry paint.  I think that without the dry brushing, the rug would look a little too new and a bit plastic looking.  I’ll add a urethane finish for the final touch a bit later.

On A Roll

Well, I guess that I’m on a bit of a roll having not done anything creative for some time.  It’s actually Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, so I’m painting in between eating too much turkey and goodies…and napping…eating turkey makes you tired ( at least that’s the story that I’m going with ).

Here are the three little dogs in their new colours.  Once the acrylic paint is cured a bit more, I’ll add a final urethane coating for sealing things up.

 

Here’s how they’ll look when they’re all together inspecting Wendell’s cleaning efforts.  I should mention that the first little dog that Peggy and I had was a white Westie just like the one I’ve carved…his name was Angus MacGregor.  Angus once had an altercation with a skunk and after I bathed him in tomato juice to get rid of the smell, he was pink for several months.

 

 

 

 

 

Adding a Watchful Dog

I can’t seem to finish many carvings without adding a dog and this one isn’t going to be different.

This little dog will be watching the window washer with just about the same tilt to his head as that of the window washer.  I may even add in another dog along the way.

I started with a fairly straight forward clay model of the dog and then just traced the outline of the front and side view of the model on to a piece of paper.  Once I cut the pattern out on the bandsaw, I also cut the head of the dog off and with a wedge of basswood I glued everything back together again with what I thought looked like a nice tilt and sideways glance of the head.

I used Typhoon bits and a Foredom tool to do the initially roughing and followed that up with knives and a small gouge to make the fur along the body.

Some Masonry and Carpentry Work

Now for a bit of detail on the brickwork.  Remember, the idea here is to make it look like a 1930’s style high rise building…and, a little on the ritzy side.

I turned to my dremel tool for both the brick and masonry work ( on the outside ) and the carpentry work ( on the inside ).  Some time ago, I purchased a plunge router base for the dremel tool from Lee Valley.  It was a bit pricey but well worth the quality of the tool.

With a decorative bit, I outlined the masonry pieces to give them that finished look that you see in older, upper end buildings.  I wasn’t too particular that everything looked perfectly straight as I wanted it to come across as masonry and not milled wood.  I’ll add some roughness to these pieces before I paint them to make them look a bit porous.

I then drew in some mortar lines and, just by hand, used the dremel tool to follow those lines.  Again, I didn’t use a straight edge as a guide as I didn’t want it to look too perfectly square.  With a combination of banging on the brick surface with a couple of different size hammers and rasps, and finally poking it a million times with an awl ( looks like an ice pick ), I created what I think looks awfully close to a brick.  Once I put multiple colours on this surface, I think it’s going to really pop out.

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For the inside, I set up the dremel tool so that I could pass the baseboard and window trim between two clamped edges and made my own little wood mill.  It was actually a lot of fun.

So, that’s where I’ll finish up on a very cold ( -23 C ) day.  If you’re reading this post from somewhere that doesn’t measure temperature in Celsius…that’s cold.

A 1930’s High Rise

Now, on to the high rise windows that need cleaning…

It’s a bit of an interesting challenge:  I want it to look high but not be too tall…I want a window and frame but not be so small that you can’t see the details of the caricature…I want both the interior and exterior of the building…and, I want enough brickwork around the window to make it look like a building, but I don’t want the whole carving to be brickwork.

So, here’s the start to that process.  I planed down a good sized piece of basswood to a little over an inch thick and then marked out the open window.  I actually cut the window opening on the bandsaw to ensure nice straight lines and then glued and clamped the single cut “into” the window opening to patch things up.

Once that was done, I used a dremel tool with a dado bit on it to route out the window jambs and then went back to the bandsaw to cut out some stone work for the top and bottom ledge.  I added a second “top” piece of stonework to add below the window to make it look like there are many other windows below.  With the stone work cut-outs, I marked them on the basswood above and below the window and channeled out that area so that I’d have a place to glue the pieces.

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And…here’s what it looks like so far from the inside.  Lots of detailing to do.

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A Hat and Some Detail

The window cleaner will be sitting on a rope held “chair”…actually a plank with a couple of holes in the ends to tie a rope.  Safety wasn’t a big thing in the 30’s for this particular fellow.

To get the right angle, I made up a bit of a jig so that I would be able to tell where the ropes would land against his body and where the flat portion of the seat of his pants needed to be to rest against the board.

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Then it was on to the hat.  I followed my now usual way of creating the hat…modelled off of the way that Lynn Doughty creates his cowboy hats.  Basically, it’s cut a flat section off of the head and then carve the hat brow and crown in separate pieces by centering both on a dowel ( for locating ) and then using lead pencil to mark the high spots on mating surfaces…carve them away and then glue the hat together.

So, all together and with a bit of wood burning to make some seams and highlight some edges, here’s where we ended up.

So, that’s where we start in 2018.  Happy New Year to you all!

From Clay to Wood

Why is it that everytime I start a little fun project, a bunch of seemingly necessary projects come up to interfere?  I can remember as a kid always enjoying the fall period as it meant the start of a new winter project…usually a model airplane…and nothing seemed to get in the way of that.

But I did take a bit of time to rough in the basswood blank based on the clay sculpture.

I decided to do the head separately again just so that I could get the right sideways glance that I wanted.  I also decided to do the arms separately so that I would have a better chance at getting the wood grain going in the strongest direction.  My plan is to attach the arms just below the rolled sleeves.

So with a quick approximation on the bandsaw and them some callipers to transfer the dimensions from the clay to the wood, here’s where I ended up.  Note again that I used a Foredom tool with a typhoon bit to remove the wood quickly.  That’s what created the fuzzy appearance on the wood.  Now that it’s at this point, I’ll get to carving with a knife and gouges.   Still a lot of slimming down to do.

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Mervin Moves Up

Well, Mervin of “Mervin the Mover” fame was so successful that he has decided to add another venture to his business empire.  Plus, his slogan of “One Haul…That’s All” is taking its toll on his back.  Time to move up, lean back and enjoy life.

Yup…window cleaning.

So, I dug out the old clay figure that I had created for Mervin the Mover and with a bit of bending and breaking away the dry clay from the copper armature that I made, I’ve twisted him into a posture for window cleaning.  Now, Mervin is vintage ’30s so don’t expect him to have the best safety harness as he’s cleaning downtown, high rise apartments….just a sling or rope that he’s leaning back against.

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With a bit of clay added, you can see that he’s leaning back with his heels planted on the ledge of the high rise window.  He’ll have a rag in his right hand as he wipes away a spot and his left hand will be holding a bucket of suds and a squeegee.

I’m thinking that this one’s going to be called “Missed A Spot.”  And I’m pretty sure that it will somehow include a little dog.

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The Completed Carving

Here’s the completed carving of “Another Dam Carver”.  I’ll get some more pictures up later in the week.  A nice little momento of Canada’s 150th birthday.

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