Friday, December 28, 2012

Two Men in the Moon

Over the past few years, I have produced two other carvings using the pattern that I call “The Man in the Moon”.  This pattern was adapted from an image that I found on the Internet probably 8 or 10 years ago.  I think that it has appeared in my blog at some point in the past.

Both of these carvings were gifts to commemorate the birth of newborns -- one of which was our first grandchild -- and to decorate their rooms with something a bit whimsical and to perhaps help induce a little extra sleepiness to the room for the benefit of the weary new parents.
We have some friends in Virginia who were recently blessed with a brand new grandson and we also have a member of our (now) extended family in Germany who is expecting in February, so I dusted off this old pattern to carve a couple more. 

I decided that this might a good opportunity to play around a bit with the design.   I’ll let you decide which one you like best.

The first of these two is somewhat more “dramatic” with his very pronounced eyebrow on the left. :-) 
This is the one that my wife prefers.   

While I like that piece, personally, I like the other carving more.  I was experimenting here with shaping facial features such as dimples, wrinkles, smile-lines and making them more pronounced.  I even added a "philtrum" . case you don't know what a philtrum is, it is the funny little vertical groove located under your nose, right in the middle area of your upper lip -- you can just make it out in the photo to the right).  

I think these added details makes the piece a little more “realistic”, if a cartoon-ish carving of a Man in the Moon could actually be considered realistic.

Not much else to say about these two guys.  Except to say that they are about 9" tall and that I hope you like them!

‘Til next time…keep makin’ chips!

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Christmas Angel

The Christmas Angel
I don’t normally do carvings from “store-bought” patterns.  I may “borrow” ideas from other carvers and articles I see in magazines now and again, but I usually change them enough that I can at least call them my own. 

I think that the most amazing fact about this piece is that I was actually able to find all of the design credits to go with it.  The original carving was done by Maureen Hockley, published in the Holiday 2011 issue of Woodcarving Illustrated. 

This is the second angel that I have cranked out for this Christmas from this pattern.  The first was done as a present and so I cannot discuss it at this time.  

I feel that I do a “pretty good job” on carvings that are “things”, but I always seem to have problems with faces.  Ms. Hockley’s version of the carving was 15” tall but my first carving was only about 9 ½” tall -- I was trying to conserve material.  Unfortunately, my stinginess made the face so small that is was nearly impossible (for me, at least) to carve.  I went through about 4 attempts (and layers of wood) trying to get the face right. 

Each time I started over I had slightly less real estate to work with because I kept carving it away.  Face #3 was starting to pretty good but instead of being satisfied with what I had, I kept at it and turned what was starting to look “sort of reasonable” into something that looked absolutely ghastly.  I ended up making the face, a stylized “non-face”.  It wasn’t as nice as I had hoped but it was OK.

I bumped the size of this carving up by about 20%.  This gave me slightly more face area to work with.   I jumped in and did the entire Angel, leaving the face for last.  The face started pretty well but when it started to turn demonic, I regrouped and started over.  That is when I came up with the idea to give her some bangs.  This made her face a little softer, rounder and a bit more cherub-like.  She still is no heavenly beauty but at least she looks happy and more angelic.

We have her hanging next to the front door.  Longtime readers will probably remember the postings related to "the Snow Demon" that hung on the same nail a couple of years ago.  We believe that he "might" have been responsible for most of the heavy snows we had those years.
I have high hopes for this angel. But, if the weather suddenly goes "north" on us she may find herself resigned to the decorations box with the Snow Demon plate:-)

'Til next time...Keep makin' chips!