tributesinwood

Wood Carvings by Mark Sheridan

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.

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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.

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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 ).

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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Timothy and Maura Panel

I’ve completed the latest panel for the new chalice box and now all panels are ready for joining.  This was an interesting panel as the figures were a bit smaller due to the fact that I had to include two figures together on the panel.  The folds in their robes and their facial expressions were also fun to carve.

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A New Panel

Here’s the start to a new panel and chalice box.  This panel of St. Timothy and St. Maura will replace the St. Mark panel and will accompany the three other panels similar to my original versions of Jesus, Mary and Archangel Michael.

To speed up the roughing-in process of the previous panels that I had carved, I made what I’ll call a 3-axis pantograph.

Do you remember “X and Y” coordinates from high school?  Going back in time isn’t it?  A 2-axis pantograph that follows a horizontal x and y plane is often used with a router for sign making.  It’s basically a stylus and router both mounted on a pivoting arm.  By tracing the stylus along a pattern, and because the router is attached to the same arm,  the router will follow an identical path while cutting into a horizontal wood panel.

Now, for roughing in my 3-dimensional relief carvings, I needed a third, or vertical, axis…”Z.” Now it’s all coming back to you.

The horizontal XY was accomplished with three pieces of plywood stacked one on the other and attached with metal drawer sliders.  The Z axis came about by attaching to this contraption a fourth piece of plywood with an attached router and stylus…and…hinges.  The result was that the drawer sliders allowed the router and stylus to move back and forth and sideways on a horizontal plane ( XY ) and the hinges allowed it to move up and down ( Z ).

It worked great.  With my previous carved panels in place beside a blank piece of wood I was able to transfer a roughed in version of the images pretty quickly to the wood.  From there, it was still a matter of doing all of the detailing…but, it speeded up the process and it was just plain fun for an old time engineer.

 

Tools of the Trade

I spent a bit of time on the little carver today.  One of the things I wanted to do is add a bit of texture to his tail.  After some exhaustive(!) google research…I learned that the beaver has a bit of a scale-like texture on his tail.  I didn’t really feel like putting that much time into it so I went with a multitude of little scoops made with a small gouge.  Once it’s painted and highlighted with some dry brushing, I think that it’ll look fairly reasonable.

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Of course, he also needed some tools…a long handled chisel, a palm handled chisel and a ruler.  Rather than spend a lot of time digging out the pouch, I just used my wood burner and let the burning tool do the digging.  It made the basement smell nice, too.

You’ll also notice the carver’s project at the bandsaw stage: a birch stump with his carved Canadian Maple Leaf commemorating Canada’s 150th year in 2017!   Aren’t I clever today?

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That Dam Carver

Yup, the dam carver is coming along nicely.  I actually haven’t been able to spend much time on it as of late, but I’m enjoying the bit of carving that I’m doing.  It’s surprisingly cold here today with a wind chill of -15 C, so being indoors and carving felt about right.

I’ve been using a medium sized gouge to scoop out a depression here and there along the beaver’s coat.  This makes the coat look a bit more realistic with some sections that will look a bit tufted.  I’ve also made sure not to make the carving too symmetrical.  By not having each side a mirror image of the other side, I think that it makes the little guy more life-like…plus, the tilt of the head and the sway to one side looks pretty good, I think.

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As you can see, I added some more wrinkles to his apron and, with the end of a very small gouge, made the outline of a couple of beady beaver eyes.  Finally, with a fine v-shaped chisel, I made many short cuts that produced pretty reasonable fur.  Those little v cuts look especially nice where I had made the larger gouge marks as the fur seems to be following the contours of what you’d imagine as the folds in his skin.

Wildlife carvers would be very proud of me…

 

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