19 August 2010

wood carving

I have become aware of some excellent items around the house where I can built experience with wood carving.

Two years ago I had a large cypress cut down in the front yard. There is a big stump still out there for me to carve when a little more experienced (entirely in the public eye). There is, from the same tree, a post in ground in the back yard, which I put there with a view to carving one day. And there are two benches, sliced halves of that cypress, in the back garden. Today, brain fagged with a virus and restless, I was able to go and work on one of those logs, part done a figurative carving, practice for the big vertical items.  Here below is a progress report in photos. As I worked I was thinking of the Etruscan woman whose tomb we saw in Viterbo, photo here. The tools I am using are the Pro-4 Woodcarver and the Mini Grinder from Arbortec. The burn marks, which I may leave for effect (ears, eyes, hair, breast), are caused by using the Mini Grinder with the cutter getting blunt.

Enough done for today, nice to be able to go look and think about where to go next. Already been interesting, you shape it then you realise as a novice that it still looks like a block of wood more than anything else, and cut more and more and more. I came to the view that for the artistic form the minimum amount of remaining wood is probably the ideal and also most real or moving... but that is to be balanced with the practical need to sit on her...

Bottom and legs not yet begun. Some detail and refinement in the upper body needed. Having worked from above, seeking satisfaction looking at it from above or obliquely close up, when I walked to the house and turned around to look from a distance, she looks a bit dim and half faced. I will have to lie down to complete shaping the face, including the lower side.

08 August 2010

wood carving

I have been carving a burl cut from this great log

and realised just now, in the evening, talking to a friend and trying to describe it, that I have been so preoccupied with the carving that I have failed to photograph it. As burls go it is very big, about 50cm x 80cm, and 25cm deep. Old, complex, dark swirls from fire and - in the swirls - traps of black amber, surely the product of the baking of sap in bushfires. I am endeavouring not to carve out a bowl form but a landcape. The tree washed into our place by violent flood. The burl reveals now, as I carve, shapes which evince the rugged landscape where the tree grew. So I am calling it Forest Escarpment. The form evolves, not defined in advance, shaped by its own natural swirls.

This is a primitive flash photo, I need to use daylight to effect to show the carving, which is up to 10cm deep now, in basins and ravines. This is a pretty poor way to display this, I will do better next day or so.

... and as to quality in the carving of burls, here is some extraordinary work, albeit with very different wood from the type and character of the wood I am working on... it encourages me to seek refinement...

04 August 2010

nude while listening to Liberal candidate

Title sounds a bit exciting...

I had been listening to local ABC radio, waiting to hear if they gave time to Matt Sproule, talking about our community forum on mental health, tomorrow, with election candidates

... instead of Matt, I listened to Joanna Gash, seeking reelection to parliament,

... and and and, I just kept working with charcoals on this figure, 120 x 75cm , charcoal pencils on black gesso on masonite. I think she looks better on the board than on the screen, but the harsh impact of the photo is educational for reviewing where to go next with the drawing. And of course, with nudes or whatever, the biggest question is knowing when to stop...

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Family photo - Cat

I just discovered on the iPhone this photo of Cat serving crepes with strawberry sauce last month. Tasted as good as looks. "You brought us up as food snobs Dad," she said many years ago.

02 August 2010

Strange photos

I had been concentrating on design of The Back House Press and then suddenly, or eventually, there arose the opportunity to take these photos...

I will reveal what they are in a few days.

Guesses welcome - use comment box!