tributesinwood

Wood Carvings by Mark Sheridan

Archive for the tag “caricature carvings”

Some Slow Progress

It seems like we moved from the “rake leaves” mode to the “prep for Christmas” mode pretty quickly around here and, as a result, I haven’t spent all that great amount of time carving.  But, the snow is coming tonight apparently with a good sized storm, so maybe that will slow things down enough to sit in one spot for a while.

There…I knew you could look on the bright side of a snow storm!

With the body roughed in to some extent, it was time to start to shape the arms.  His right arm, which will be holding a cloth and cleaning a window, will be bent so I glued a couple of pieces of basswood together to keep the grain running along the length of the arm.  Now, you might question why I’m so concerned with the strength and direction of the grain when I’m putting a glued joint in the middle of things…but, actually, a tight fitting glued joint will be stronger than the surrounding wood.

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With a bit of trimming and then a hand glued on ( again with the grain direction running in the “right” direction ), the arm started to take shape.

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The left arm will be pretty straight with the hand holding a bucket of suds.  Because the grain is pretty much in a single direction, I was able to make the arm and hand in one piece.

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Once these were glued into some drilled holes in the shoulder sections, I was able to do some light detailing of the rolled shirt cuffs, hands and fingers.

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And now, I’m putting a bit of effort into the wrinkles on the shirt and pants.  Now, I’m not of the generation that enjoys “selfies”, but I have to admit that it was the only way that I could figure out how the wrinkles should turn out.  So, yes, I stood with my back to a mirror in my little window-washer’s posture and clicked away!

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Placing the Head

I want to get that tilt to the head just right as that will give the body a good contorted look to it…like he’s hanging there on his rope and twisting around to get a good swipe on that dirty window.

I carved the head much the same way as I’ve done my previous carvings, which is very similar to the way that Lynn Doughty teaches on his videos.  Take a look at Lynne’s site (www.outwestwoodcarving.blogspot.ca) and specifically his videos on carving the head…they’re very helpful.

I have to say, though, I’m disappointed in the quality of the basswood that I’m using.  I probably should have just stopped carving the head and started again on a less grainy piece of wood.  It seems that regardless of how often I’m sharpening my knife, the grain is occasionally tending to crush rather than slice.  If anyone has any advice about basswood selection, I’m all ears.

Paul is my hand model in the first shot and I’ve also included him as “Gaston” from Beauty and the Beast!  Click on the photo to make it bigger.

 

 

 

 

Back to Mervin

Well, it’s back to my little window cleaner.  I can’t let that sound like I’m going to be completely dedicated to this little guy in the next while because it’s fall now and that means lots of clean-up around the house when you live in Ontario.  But it’s all fun.

I’ve taken the roughed-in version of the carving that I did with the Foredom tool and Typhoon bit and trimmed everything down a bit with knives and gouges.  Not a lot to tell you on this other than the fact that I used some simple callipers to take measurements from the clay sculpture that I did and transferred those dimensions to the carving.  I’m not all that particular when I do this…I’m just using the clay as a general model for what the carving might look like.  If it’s out a bit, I’m not going to lose sleep over it.

Now that I have it to this point, I’ll do a bit of work on the head before returning with more dimensioning and detail.

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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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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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A Change of Plans

From an earlier post, you’ll remember the little Basset-in-a-Box.  This little guy is intended as a “Learning by Doing” project at the upcoming Magic in Wood Competition and Show held in Pickering, Ontario this October.  The basic idea is to have several carvers come up with a carving that can be accomplished in about two hours and invite small groups to join them in completing a project of their own.  Registration will be on the Ontariowoodcarvers.ca site shortly for all of the different projects.  I was asked to lead a carving session for a Basset carving and this is what I’m planning to bring.

Actually, because we only have a couple of hours in the carving session, I’m bringing a “rough-out” of the carving for each participant that will look something like this…

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From that roughed in version, the hope is to get everyone within a couple of hours to this stage…

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Beyond that, I’m planning to leave some instructions and photos with the participants so, if they choose, they can go home and paint the figure along the lines that I’ve painted mine.

Now, about the change in plans.  Well, although I started out with the idea that the pup would be in a box, it struck me along the way that it would either be a pretty big pup or a pretty small box.  So, I decided that the box needed to become a bag…a gift bag.

So, come on, who wouldn’t want to receive a howling hound in a surprise gift bag?  Really.

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Basset-in-a-Box

I’ve been asked to lead a carving session at the fall Magic in Wood carving show and competition held in Pickering, Ontario.  This session is part of the “Learning by Doing” program where carvers sign up to take part in one of a variety of two hour carving projects during the show.   For some reason, it was suggested that I take on a Basset Hound carving…

Here’s a few photos of what I’m planning to do.  I’ll finish this carving with some acrylic paint in the next little while such that it depicts the little hound popping out of an opened gift box or moving box.  The painting portion will have to be done by the participants outside of the two hour session.

I first cut out of basswood the pencil drawing that I made.

Then, with a Foredom tool equipped with a very aggressive “Typhoon” bit, I roughed out the general shape of the carving.  My plan is to provide the participants with this “rough-out” to begin their carving.  I thought that this would give people ample time to detail their carving within the two hour session, yet still have the opportunity to do a lot of carving.

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Then with smaller gouges and a carving knife, I began drawing out the details of the ears, paws and head.  The grain runs from top to bottom which makes it fairly easy to carve away the excess material.  You can do the carving with just a knife, however, it is much easier to get the sweeping curves of this little sculpture using gouges.

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With some more attention to the detail and, again, using gouges and knives, I undercut the ears and around the paws to a greater extent.  I added squinted eyes rather than round eyes as the little dog is howling his glee in meeting his new owner…or, maybe just because he’s finally out of the box!  Of course, the squinted eyes are easier to carve quickly but the individual carver can change that if they like.  I plan to bring some reference photos for people to use so they can add details of their own based on their carving experience.

I’ll add another post in the next few days of the box lid that will be a separate piece propped up against the base of the box.

Running a session like this is a first for me, so if you have some feedback or advice for me I would appreciate hearing about that.  Although the “sign-up” registration for “Learning by Doing” is not on the Ontario Wood Carvers’ website just yet, I’m the webmaster for that site ( ontariowoodcarvers.ca ) and plan to get that up on the site in August.

Finished and “On The Road Again”

Here are some final photos of the carving.  That was a really enjoyable carving to do and the first time that I’ve carved a vehicle.  I enjoyed that so much that the next caricature that I do is going to include a scooter and sidecar!

 

 

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