Thursday, October 22, 2009

Naiad Finished

Naiad was finished in time for her first show last week- after I waxed her in the motel room the night before. She came in second in her class, and the first place was also second best of show- so that was some good competition. The judges both liked her- I asked. Here are some photos of the finished carving:

There were many comments about how well I planned the grain of her fanny. Little did they know that it was a complete accident. That is just the way the grain goes.

She look peaceful and restful here, and that was the intent of the carving. Part of the way through the carving process I was sure I'd lost this feeling, but it is back and I'm pleased.

The face turned out OK, but next time I will get it better. More planning and a preliminary sculpture in clay would have made my job easier in the long run.
Thanks for your interest in my work. You can see more projects and blogs on my web site:

Thursday, October 8, 2009

All Finished but the Shouting

I thought you may like to see one of my work spaces. I just cleared 2 years worth of scrap wood and some tools off the surface so that I could sit down and do some serious deatil work. There were scraps from the harp project- so that gives you some idea about how often I clean up.

I got a little carried away with finding negative spaces and carved through my Naiad's heel. That would not work, so I took some scraps from the project and carved some filler pieces. After gluing them in place and then recarving the areas, adding some filler around the edges and I am hopeful it won't be too noticeable. On the bright side- I like the new negative space between her left foot and right thigh.

These are her 'good' sides. Some of the others look a little strange. I cannot figure out why now, but for the next figure I'll have a better reference and plan. Notice the stream below her right knee. This was one of the recommendations from some helpful people. Many suggested the rocks and I'm sure that is the best decision.

I think she looks a lot better now with a hairline and some texture in her hair. The idea is to have a smooth base, water, and figure with hair holder. Then the rocks and hair are textured for contrast. It will probably not be so obvious once some finish is applied, but I'm hopeful it will carry through and look good.
Tomorrow I'll sand her with 220 grit paper and retexture the stones and apply the first coat of finish. I leave here on Sunday and it would be nice if she were finished by then.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Pedestal Connundrum

Here are two possible variations for a base for my lady. The first one would be like a pillow on a trapezoid. I like this idea- but since she was carved to be sitting on top of a flat I'm not sure I could sink he into a softness.
The second is a design that would raise the figure above the ground- but it looks awkward to me. Either one of these would be 'carved' mostly with the band saw, so it wouldn't take much of my rapidly diminishing time. I need to decide and do this now before I go on with the figure, so that the entire carving can get finished at one time. Please make a comment/suggestion here or send me an email:

First Sanding- Miracle

Yippee- look at what sanding does!!! For one, it makes her look like she has skin- always a good thing. For another, it helps me to see the form better without the distraction of gouge marks. I will be doing some more carving as I go along to fix things as I discover problem areas, but seeing this back was thrilling.

Here is a front view. As the limbs get more refined there are more negative spaces developing- with interesting shapes. All good.

The face is not too bad after sanding. The butternut will not hold much detail, so I'll be happy if it just looks human- eyes closed- and peaceful.

Sanding brought out the chunkiness of her left foot- so out came the gouges and a lot of wood came off the top and around the ankle. Better now.
There are still some inaccessible areas inside the figure that I need to get at least a little smooth. I have used my micro-motor tool a little for some of the detail areas that were especially difficult to get to. I've been using some sanding cones for the first time- and they work very well, but 99% has been hand sanding and my fingers are getting sore.


Now she is starting to look like a woman. All the limbs and some of the details are there and I like it so far. I think the shape of the head is finally correct, and the face is OK, though she still looks a little strange. Her left hand looks like a pancake- and that isn't good, but I think if I reduce the knee right there I'll find enough wood to meke it right.

I've experimented with a part in her hair- but I don't think I'll keep it. Adding a hairline of some sort does make the shape of the head better. The ponytail was the original plan and I'm going to keep it. I've made it longer and more curly because it looks better- and because it covers up a possible problematic area around the neck.
I'm think about changing her name to Celtic Woman since she is so tied up in knots- no kidding. I don't have time to do the shallow relief on the sides of the base, so I need another base idea.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


This is getting exciting. Seeing her come to life is so satisfying. So far no major goofs, though the head is still a little off and that left hand looks kinda impossible to fix. Nothing is impossible though- so I will do my best to fix it all up.

I have made a lot of refinements this week. The problemmatic left foot is looking much better. Hubby thinks a foot cannot do that move, but mine can, so hers can too.
The left arm is slimmer, and so is her waist. They may have to get slimmer yet to remain in proportion to the left thigh. Gotta watch it or she will look anorexic.

I like the looks of the back. The buttocks are rounded and there is more of a waist now. The grain of the butternut is going to look super when it is sanded and oiled. I can't wait. The right breast has been brought much more to the front as it would be with the turned body.

Left foot has a lot more form to it now, ankle slimmed and foot better defined. Left hand. . . gotta have it curved around the knee- will have to shorten leg in order to find some wood. Right arm also thinner and more graceful. Second photo shows yet another void- this one under her chin. I wasn't sure if I could make a hole there, but it worked out fine. Now I'll be able to refine the areas around there- chin/hand interface. Notice that the face is much different now- much nicer expression. I think the mellow look is better and what I am after.

She is still mighty rough looking, but I see the light at the end of the tunnel. It won't be long before I can start to refine muscles and other finer details. Unfortunately the butternut will not tolerate very fine details so the image will have to be slightly blurred. Next time I will use a better wood- like walnut.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Third Void

After prodigious effort and lots of sweat Naiad has another void- this one above her left leg. I was anxious about doing this, but I needed to be able to visualize the top of the leg as well as the location of the breasts. Looking at the photos it looks as though the hole should have been above the breasts, but at this point I don't see the room that would be necessary for that.

Here on the front and front right you can see some progress. Not as much as the hours I've spent would imply- since a terrible lot of time is spent in contemplation- like "duh- what do I do next?" Her right hand has been refined and located so that I could make sure that the cheek of the face ended up resting on the hand- not in mid air or half-way through the hand. I hate it when that happens. There has also been considerable thinning and rounding of the forms.

Pore 'lil thang still looks like a fullback but that is just so I still have enough wood for minor modifications as I go along. She will be thinning down and feminizing a lot real soon.

In the first of these face photos the orientation looks OK- though there was something I didn't like about it- didn't seem just right. I tilted and turned the carving so that I faced it head on and I could see my problems. On the right you can see that the vertical centerline is not bisecting the head- it is lopsided. That happened when I rashly decided to change the angle of the face. So either I need to put the face back to where it was- may not have a nose left if I do that- or recarve the head to match the face. Decisions, decisions.

Here is a close-up of the top of the head- where I spent many hours trying to figure out how to do the hair. I have the same problem with my own hair. Go figure. One thing for sure is that the shape of the skull does not change depending on the angle, so that is what needs to be correct before any more details are finessed. The hand/cheek connection looks good so far- thank goodness for small favors.
Thanks to taking these photos and talking about problems and solutions I think I know what to do next.


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