Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Beardless Wonder and The Fearless Wonder

First, The Beardless Wonder. He's not my first beardless face, but he is my first beardless wood spirit done in found wood. He turned out nicely, but I did some things I'm going to do differently next time. They aren't mistakes, they're learning experiences!

Overall I'm pretty happy with this guy. The biggest improvement I think I could make is going deeper into the branch for the chin. Most people's profile shows a convex curve when drawn from the hairline to the tip of the nose to the tip of the chin.

The other thing I would do is move the smile line on the left side closer to the corner of the mouth and smooth out the transition up to the cheek.

And now for The Fearless Wonder. Now you have to remember that this guy doesn't exist, never has, living or dead, in reality or in effigy. We've all got a bit of fear when it comes to our work. As you may have noticed, I've been trying to get more emotion into my faces. As I was coming down to the finish line on Beardless here, I was really happy with the way he was turning out. I got to the place that the only thing I needed to do to call him finished was to cut in the eyebrows.

He sat around for a WEEK before I could bring myself to finish the eyebrows. I started thinking (and this is not unusual for me) that I was going to screw up the eyebrows and ruin the whole thing! Never mind that I know how to fix such a screw up. Never mind that I had already fixed several things in the carving that I didn't like at first. I was going to screw up the eyebrows and that would totally ruin the entire carving. Have you ever heard of such a ridiculous thing?

Now admittedly this comes as a result of some self-examination. I didn't think specifically or rationally that I was going to screw it up. This was all some sort of subliminal gut type of feeling that didn't come out until I sat staring at the eyebrowless wonder yesterday.

This isn't the first time this gut-delay has happened, nor is it the first time I've come to this particular realization. I've got a potentially beautiful lovespoon WIP laying around that I've been ignoring for almost a year. One day I'll work up the guts to finish it.

This is all to illustrate that we all have these kinds of feelings to one degree or another, and that it is OK to give in to them on occasion. But you have to recognize that there is no rational reason for feeling that way and that sooner or later, preferably sooner, you're going to have to bite the bullet and finish the damn thing!

Until next time, let the chips fly!


  1. It looks GREAT! Don't be afraid of the mighty CHIN! lol. I mostly carve those female faces so I cant hide a smile, lips, or chin under a big mount of furry facial hair. But I still struggle with the expressions and the "female" look. ( Either they look "blank, or too masculine!) I like his nose and cheeks! ( that sounds funny,unless it comes from another carver)

  2. The face has great character. I'm glad I'm not the only one who worries about undoing hard work with a slip of a knife.

    Do you have to leave the 'found wood' to dry out before carving?

  3. Chris, it doesn't matter a whole heck of a lot whether you do it green or seasoned. Either way you might get some splits. Green wood is good because it's easier to carve, but you never know where or if it's going to split. Seasoned wood is good because it's already done most of the splitting it's going to do allowing you to work around it, but it's a lot harder to carve. The found wood I did Beardless with had been seasoned for about 8 months.

  4. Cheers for the info Bob. Had a quick look at your Etsy shop. Only a few items on there so far but was impressed.