Wood Carvings by Mark Sheridan

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A Bit of Painting

Here’s the start to the painting.

The apron is a blend of washes of yellow ochre and asphaltum ( brown ).  I then added a few dabs of burnt sienna and raw sienna for highlights.  The whole thing was then dry brushed with an ivory.

The fur has many washes of asphaltum, burnt umber and yellow ochre.  I even added a single light wash of purple to give it a bit of richness.  I still want to go back and lighten up spots, especially around the face area.



Back to Caricatures

With the last project wrapped up, I’m returning to “Another Dam Carver.”

Any hard working Canadian beaver needs a toque…so, that’s what we’re working on this afternoon.  Now, for non-Canadians ( you unfortunates! ), a toque is a knitted wool hat that absolutely everyone owns.  They’re great for those cold Canadian winters and can be generally worn anytime from about the end of August to the following first of June!

I still use and enjoy Lynn Doughty’s method of “sizing” the hat to the head of the caricature with a bit of pencil lead on the head that transfers to the inside of the hat to highlight the high points that need to be shaved away.  The dowel is used to ensure that you’re replacing the hat in the exact same spot every time.


As you can see from the photo above and below, after shaping the toque, I used a burning tool to make vertical ridges in the hat.  Later,  I burned further marks into each of the ridges to make a herringbone pattern.  All in all, it looks pretty close to a knit pattern ( if you squint a bit ).



Happy 150th Canada!

Here’s another entry on Emily’s crocheting blog. This one reminds me of the stylized maple leaf that was used in 1967 to celebrate Canada’s 100th birthday. Dad and I mapped it out and mowed it into the front lawn for everyone in the neighbourhood to enjoy. I remember Dad saying that I should think about him on the 150th birthday of Canada…so I am with Emily’s help.

Ms Premise-Conclusion

Wishing everyone a Happy Canada Day!!


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(Crochet) Maple Leaf Forever

Here’s an entry to my daughter’s blog that I liked. Mark

Ms Premise-Conclusion

Well, Canada Day is right around the corner. This Canada Day, of course, is special because it’s 150 years since confederation. If you’d rather not say “Happy 150th, Canada!” (because age is just a number after all) you can always go with “Happy Sesquicentennial, Canada!”, because silly words are more fun to say.

My Dad is experiencing some crafty patriotism – and I think it’s his fault that I’ve felt the Canada-crafty bug recently. He recently finished his part of a project called the Maple Leaf Forever Project.


Here’s the background: 150 years ago, Alexander Muir wrote a song called ‘The Maple Leaf Forever’, which was inspired by a large maple tree in Toronto. That tree stood where Alexander saw it for almost 150 years; in 2013 it was damaged by a wind storm and had to be taken down. Since the tree was so culturally significant, parts of…

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This and That

Well, things have been pretty busy around the homestead lately, but here’s an update on some of my activities.

The Maple Leaf Forever Tree project is coming along nicely.  You’ll recall from my last post that this particular maple tree which was felled in a wind storm was the inspiration for our first national anthem written by Alexander Muir back in 1867 or so.  The Ontario Wood Carvers Association saved a small portion of the tree and have carved a memorial that will be displayed at the Ontario Science Centre for years to come.

I spent several days travelling between Kingston and Toronto so that I could carve a portion of the tree at the Centre in Toronto.   The carving and just being a part of this project with twenty other carvers from Ontario was a delight…the traffic was not.

The unveiling of the tree is planned for July 19th at the Science Centre.  Guest speakers, a band playing “The Maple Leaf Forever”, and several carving activities for the kids who are always present at the Science Centre will round out the day’s activities.

The tree is just getting the final coats of stain-over-urethane finish and it’s looking superb.


I’ve also finished up the chalice box depicting Saints Timothy and Maura and am pleased with the way that it turned out.


I’ve been spending more time with the Ontario Wood Carvers Association and had a chance to drop by the Burlington Ontario Club to see what they’ve been up to.  All of you carvers will be very jealous ( as I am ) of their workshop.  They meet at the Art Gallery of Burlington ( south of Toronto ) for their weekly carving sessions and have full access to a very well equipped workshop in the middle of the art gallery.  Pretty nice set-up.


And last, but not least, Rosie and I have been doing our fair share of gardening.  Now it’s back to some more carving.


The Maple Leaf Forever Project

Some years ago a very old Maple tree, some 170 years old,  blew down in a windstorm in Toronto.  This particular tree had an interesting history in that it was believed to be the tree that inspired Alexander Muir to write the song “The Maple Leaf Forever” in 1867.  This song stood as the unofficial national anthem of Canada for some time.

In preparation for Canada’s sesquicentennial ( 150 years ) celebration this July 1st, the Ontario Wood Carvers Association got hold of a portion of this old tree over three years ago and began the design work and the carving of the tree trunk as a Toronto area tribute.

Thirty Maple “Leafs” are situated around the trunk, each with a particular image representing famous people ( including Muir ), famous landmarks and area First Nation artifacts and scenes.

I’ll be taking part in completing the “monument” by carving a depiction of the Toronto Old City Hall.  I’m starting next week and will be carving a couple of days at the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto, where the tree will continue to be on display after it’s finished.

Last week, I spent a few hours at the Ontario Science Centre and enjoyed chatting with the other carvers and hearing the young visitors’ questions…one question aimed at me by a youngster was “Isn’t it illegal to be carving a tree”…certainly a young fellow on his way to a career in litigation.


The Finished Chalice Box

I’ve been spending some time putting a finish on the basswood and oak chalice box and have learned a lot from the process.

Basswood doesn’t really stain very nicely, in my opinion.  So, I used a method of finishing the basswood that Fred Zavadil has perfected…and I’ve just started to learn how to do.  The result is pretty nice, however, I’ll do a few things a bit differently next time that I finish basswood in this fashion.

I started by covering the basswood with a urethane finish, starting with a very thinned version of urethane and ending up with a more concentrated urethane.  Although I thought that I had put a lot of urethane on the carving, I could have used more and next time I’ll ensure that the basswood is thoroughly saturated with the urethane before going on to the next step.

And the next step is applying some artists colours right over top of the urethane.  With the urethane hardened on the basswood, the artists paints do not soak into the wood and you can manipulate the colouring to your liking.  What I found with my first attempt is that the urethane hadn’t completely saturated all of the end grain portions of the carving, so the thinned down artists paints had an opportunity to soak to a minor degree into the wood.  This made the process of manipulating the darker artists colours a bit more difficult.

I used a combination of burnt sienna and burnt umber for the colouring and I’m pleased with the way that it turned out.  The colour is quite rich and the box has a bit of an antiqued look to it.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this diversion from caricatures as much as I have.  Just click on the photos to make them bigger.


Joining the Box Panels

I had originally intended to join the box together using bevel joints…basically, a 45 degree saw cut along the length of the box side with each side glued to the adjoining panel.  I don’t have a table saw but I do have a nice radial arm saw that was given to me by my Dad.

When I cut the basic panels out of the basswood length that I bought, I had set the saw up pretty accurately for a nice square cut.  There’s actually a lot to setting up a radial arm saw and I had it within about 1/64″ accuracy.  When I went to cut a bevel cut, however, it was a different story.  The bevel cut of about a 12″ length and through an inch thick stock just could not be kept accurate ( and I’m honestly still not sure why )…so, I gave up and went to Plan ‘B’.

And Plan ‘B’ worked out so well it will now become Plan ‘A’ for remaining projects!

As you can see from the photos, I created a bit of a more complex rabbet joint using a router.  I just carefully measured out the dimension of the rabbets and used a fence and hand-held router.  I wanted to keep any joint lines that might be slightly visible as thin as possible…that’s why there’s that little 1/8″ ‘cap’ on one of the panel sides.  Next step is to add a top and bottom to the box.

Last But Not Least!

You guessed it…it’s Saint Mark.


My Wonderful Daughter

Emily sent me a couple of photos of her fun night out with friends.  You’ve probably heard of “paint night” activities…where you join a group for a night of painting a particular scene led by a local artist.

Well, Emily went to such a get together last night and came up with this acrylic masterpiece!   She had just a great time and tells me that this group has a Facebook page at paintniteHamilton if you’re interested in seeing other nights that they’ve sponsored.

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