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  • Unusual Portrait

    This is my next carving project. It is a Escher woodcut from 1920 called "Portrait of a Man." The original was 13-5/8" square. Can you picture those curves as V-grooves? Would it be a chip carving or an unusual relief? Should I start with dark wood or light wood?

    Comments & suggestions welcomed.


    Project2021.jpg

  • #2
    My first reaction is it was done on India ink scratch board. Paint the wood and cut back into it.
    Second thought is that it's a relief wood cut for printing. It's been cut then inked.

    Like a lot of the wood cuts in cherry that Maria Arango does. Cut up in pieces then printed in register with different colors. I don't see the typical geometry of Escher's work and your carvings that I Iike so much.
    Brian T

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    • #3
      I could see doing it as a glue up of a light coloured wood on top of a dark wood, the light wood for the head, highlighted with dark gel stain, dark wood for the background, incised chip style with the swirls and brought out with a light coloured fill in them

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      • #4
        Pallin,

        Not that I have any experience with this type of carving.

        I see this as:
        Paint,
        V tool and Gouge relief,
        Seal
        Paint fill where needed.

        Looks like just your sort of project.
        Ed
        https://www.ebay.com/sch/bmart50/m.h...1&_ipg=&_from=
        Local club
        https://www.facebook.com/CentralNebraskaWoodCarvers

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        • #5
          I'm a novice at this stuff. But if I were doing it, I'd lower the black areas and then color the lowered surface dark. Lots of options for coloring from paint, stain, dye, ink to burning. If light surfaces are left flat as they appear in the image, it would be easy to color and clean off the raised with some light sanding.

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          • #6
            Hi Phil , I think if you start with a Black Board you wouldn't be able to see the Pattern Lines very well . Make it in 2 Pcs. , the Portrait in a Light Wood and Background Board Black . Merle

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            • #7
              Start with light, cover the whole surface with masking fluid (liquid frisket), carve, paint then remove frisket. However you do this, I know it will be awesome!

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              • #8
                1. I don't see this as relief vs chip, but a combination of both. 2. I would keep it fairly large, and simplify some of the more intricate curlicues. 3. I would gel stain dark and carve through. 4. I would go nuts carving this!
                Arthur

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                • #9
                  I'm impressed with the consensus among us. I have a piece of Black Walnut that would be the base of this piece. The light portrait will be basswood or poplar. Perhaps fewer curlycues will allow the face to show more. It will likely be 12" square like the White Cat.

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                  • #10
                    Oh wow nice!

                    I would relief carve the face and chip in those lines in after yes i see them as v grooves but i think all done with chip knife would make it more handmade even..

                    Then i would torch it and sand the white areas for contrast.

                    Or somehow fill the grooves with paint and sand the surface or paint surface leaving groves.

                    A light wood or dark i think is the same they will need to be contrasted but notice face and background are opposed.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by pallin View Post
                      I'm impressed with the consensus among us. I have a piece of Black Walnut that would be the base of this piece. The light portrait will be basswood or poplar. Perhaps fewer curlycues will allow the face to show more. It will likely be 12" square like the White Cat.
                      Phil, do you intend to carve the lighter wood separately and then attach to the walnut or laminate the two and then carve? I didn't realize that you don't intend to carve and treat a single block of wood.

                      Here's one I did early on using basswood and stain with a dark finish added to the figure of St. Francis:

                      IMG_4361(20200807_164856).JPG Also an intaglio of Jesus with a child in the reverse manner, also done long ago: 12650277_10208784178784737_1363914747_n(20200807_164856).jpg
                      Attached Files
                      Arthur

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                      • #12
                        I had not seen that piece of Escher's portfolio before. So I looked at it and stared at it and tried to imagine a portrait and, well, nothing. Then all of a sudden, POOF. There it was. I shall never be able to unsee it - not that I would want to.

                        I look forward to seeing your rendition.
                        HonketyHank toot toot

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                        • #13
                          Escher did a lot of woodcuts which result in strong contrasts. I have built up some carvings with contrasting wood. On others I have used gel stains in the incised lines and undercuts. This project may involve both.

                          Arthur - I'll keep the base part (Black Walnut) fairly flat with incised lines for the curlycues. The light overlay will be relief carved to form the major hills & valleys of the head, then V-grooved with the details.

                          Honketyhank - This woodcut was done when Escher was only 22, probably while at the School of Decorative Arts in Haarlem. I also had to look at it for a while before the "POOF" happened.

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                          • #14
                            Here is the carving blank made up of Black Walnut and Basswood. I've cut the outline on the bandsaw, with a few planned modifications. The "break" in the waves of hair at the back of the head will be further down. The vertical dimension has been increased about an inch so the full curve of the beard can show. Dimensions: (Black Walnut)- 11-3/4" x 12-1/2"

                            Portrait1.jpg

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                            • #15
                              Phil, this will be an interesting and unique project!
                              Arthur

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