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Evolution in Woodcarving

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  • Evolution in Woodcarving

    I have been hacking away at wood ~ in an attempt to produce a worthwhile woodcarving for quite a long time now. A few days ago I came to the realization that I had reached an evolution in carving. I lay no claim to being an artist ~ but my latest piece is on a shelf in front of my recliner. Looking at the peregrine falcon ~ I thought, "The painting is not too bad!" This led to my realizing that I was looking forward to painting the barn owl ~ usually something I approached with great trepidation. .

    I am still only at the "base coat, con sealing" stage ~ but thoroughly enjoying the process. My major regret as I reached the "my traveling days are over" stage of life ~ is that I never made the trip to Idaho to study with Lori Corbett. I am using her instructions in the book, "Illustrated Owl: Barn, Barred & Great Horned: The Ultimate Reference Guide for Bird Lovers, Artists, & Woodcarvers" by Denny Rogers. I do have to translate some of the paints used ~ from acrylic to watercolor. Luckily, long ago, somewhere, I found that Lori Corbett advised, "Pay attention to the pigment information on paints and not the name." This advice has served me well.

    Fortune is smiling! Yesterday, I received my current copy of, "Wild Fowl Carving" and there was an article by Jerry Simchuk on painting a barn owl. Using the information from both Corbett and Simchuk ~ I feel a lot more confident in mixing the colors I need.

  • #2
    My thought on painting wood carvings is generally the old saying, "Less is more." Better to be subtle in applying color; it's all too easy to overdo it.


    • #3
      Great trepidation describes how I approach painting most carving Paul. Normally they come out OK but I am never comfortable with the process.
      We live in the land of the free because of the brave!


      • #4
        Painted vs. unpainted?

        I know before I start a carving whether or not I will paint it. In general: if the carving is basswood, tupelo, laminated, requires mending or has inserts, it will be painted ~ if the carving is any other species of wood, has striking color/markings, is stylized, it will not be painted.

        My wife and daughter-in-law much prefer my unpainted pieces and would be happy if I concentrated totally on them. I like doing both and try to keep some of each in varying stages of finish.


        • #5
          Although my carvings are generally small, I prefer to leave them natural with maybe a highlight here or there. I'm not a big fan of painting. Since I have been doing drawing for a long time, I should try using paint pens or maybe the Rapidograph pens with watered down paint.

          Bob L


          • #6
            Hey Paul, I'm at that stage too, with an Osprey. Now my painting skills come no where close to yours or other fine bird/wildlife carvers here, I am attempting to improve through practice and study. I have the book, "Carving a 1/2 size Osprey and have been reading the chapter on painting, and am so thankful for the authors reference material on paint colours. Being partly colour blind certainly doesn't help, but I rely on my daughter to help and guide me, she is the artist in the family.

            Before they slip me over the standing part of the fore sheet, let them pipe: "Up Spirits" one more time.


            • #7
              I'm wallowing in indecision. To paint or not to paint? Do the carvings in pairs. Paint one.

              Some of mine are obvious = Ravens are black with deep violet highlights.
              Most need some paint and some plain wood, it's a color, too.

              Those of you carving birds and looking for accurate paint might look at the Peterson Field Guides, they are all paintings.
              While named paint colors are similar ( eg Payne's Gray, Yellow Ochre, etc) they do vary from one big brand name to another.
              I have 4 different Payne's Gray watercolors. Only one of those (Grumbacher student) is what I'm looking for.
              Brian T


              • #8
                Painting isn't one of my favorite things to do. I use to never do any, but the wife thought I should and then for a while she helped. I agree that some are best shown unpaint or maybe just a few highlights, but fully paint carvings help make some carving, sorry to day
                . . .JoeB