Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Tale of Two Santas, or Practice Makes . . . um . . . Better

I was talking with Don Mertz, The Woodbee Carver, about the shortcomings of my Old World Santa, the guy on the left with the lantern and the staff. It started out with a discussion of how to make a normally sober-sided old world Santa into a smiling Santa. I worked that out with Don's help and carved the guy on the left. I wasn't satisfied with the hands and arms. I always carve the hands too small. Don advised me to jump right in and carve another OWS and consiously try to make the hands too big. Thus, the guy on the right. This was my first attempt at doing hands with fingers. Turned out OK, I think. Hands still aren't big enough, but I'm getting there.

I learned something else while doing the second OWS. Actually I knew it all along, I just had never made it happen before. Compare the two profiles, particularly the nose and below. The first guy, on the left, I did as I have done all of my figures before: I made a straight, deep cut into the corner of the block to define the bottom of the nose. As I have mentioned before the face in profile should have approximately half of the nose behind where the filtrum (goove in the middle of the upper lip) and the septum (division between the two nostrils) meet. You can clearly see that this does not occur in OWS #1 due to the way I started the nose. On OWS #2, instead of cutting straight back, I cut into the corner less deeply and rocked the blade from side to side making deeper cuts on either side of the corner. This allows for the establishment of the dental mound prior to any detail carving and makes proper placement of the nose easier.

I had intended to make this post longer, with in-process photos, but Blogger is acting hinky, so I'll post what I have now and continue the post tomorrow.

Meantime, let the chips fly!

1 comment:

  1. Good work on the hands, I looked at the close up and they look pretty good! Hands give me trouble as well, because I hate just having a "non action" hand. I like them gripping or waving or something. Oh! and the nose, All my hu8man faces have a "flat" feel to them. All those years of relief carving seems to have ingrained in me the straight a head look. Basically if it looks good from the front: you're done! But these tree carvings have been rather eye opening. Well, with practice makes perfect, and who wants to be perfect anyway?