Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Variations on a Theme
Pictured below is a favorite subject of mine - a woodland gnome. This one is named Kavish. I think this is maybe the 7th or 8th one like him carved over the past year. They have all found good homes, so I keep making them. His basic scope and scale is always the same ( I start with a pattern from an article in WCI magazine), but each one is different in many ways. After carving one or two, I started making him in parts - separate head, body and legs. Kavish was carved from one piece. There are benefits to each method. The reasons I sometimes carve discreet parts is partly to be able to use smaller, scrap pieces of wood (it takes a 4" X 4" X 10"+ block to carve this in one piece) and It's a little easier to handle in pieces... easier to paint too. But the work it takes to get the head to fit the body is a down side. I thought I'd be able to turn the head a little for some "attitude", but the beard limits that and besides, gnomes are peaceful and don't exhibit a lot of attitude! The benefit of making the one piece is I can hold him in a vice for much of the roughing stage, which I really like.
The variable features, that which really makes each one unique is in how I approach the facial features, the tools I use and the method of applying texture to the boots. Each successive gnome I carve gives me a chance to try slightly different eyes, noses, ears and facial hair. Since no one really gets a good look at these elusive characters, the details are up to me and quite forgiving of accuracy. Painting also varies and I have improved quite a bit in that area as well. The color palette hasn't changed a lot - he's still wearing red and blue, but I have a lot of fun trying to get the perfect face and beard colors and shadings. He'll be up for sale on my Etsy shop.