Monday, April 30, 2007

Carving A Horse Head - Part 2

It's time to wrap this part of the horse project up. Along with the carving tips I'll give you a little lesson on horse anatomy that just might help you to understand just how much the inside of a thing can affect the outside.
There were several questions on the last post about how thick the head should be. With all the photos associated with this post you should have no trouble figuring that out on your own. Half the fun of doing something is figuring out how to do it.
In the very near future I'll continue this project by moving on to the body of the horse. So if that post is not up when your finished with the head just set it aside for a bit.
Again, there are a lot of photos in the gallery so let's get started.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Carving A Horse Head - Part 1

As Norm always says...."Before we start, let's take a moment and talk about shop safety!" This valid advice applies to woodcarving too so make sure your tools are sharp and you have a carving glove on along with a thumb protector. In the accompanying photos you'll see that I'm suited up. It's the only way to carve!
As you can see by in the photo you will need a basswood block 3-1/2" by 4" and at least 2" thick. Lay the head out with the grain running up and down. While the one block looks a little's not! It's just thicker. I will cut out two different blanks to show you a little trick to give a future project a little more interest. You will also note that on that thicker block I've moved the ears just a bit. This will make this horse just a little different than the other. No fun in carving the same thing over and over.
I've included a few reference photos of our horses that I will refer to as we go along. There will be lots of comments along with the photos so let's get started.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Carving A Horse Head

Some of you have been after me to do a horse and I've been giving a lot of thought on just how to go about it to keep it fun but to also make it a little easier to complete. So....we'll start with just the horse's head and expand the project from there.
Now this is a caricature carving but before you begin I'd suggest doing some research on a real horse to see just how the muscle structure works. Whatever you do, don't rush into this project before you have a good understanding just what a horse is. I think you're going to be surprised at just how easy this project will be if you do these things.
I've included a little pattern cutout that I use. It's about 3-1/2" across the head and neck. I'd suggest you lay the pattern out on a 2" thick piece of basswood. I'd also suggest you wait until the next installment of this project to see the best way to go about establishing grain direction plus a couple of other tips to make your animal more natural looking.
Once we get the head laid out and carved we'll move on to the body and hopefully end up with a complete horse.
A few more photos in the Gallery.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Will Rogers

Back in 2000 I was approached by the Will Rogers Memorial in Claremore, Oklahoma to do a number of carvings. As part of that project I did a carving of Will as a young cowhand on his Father's Dog Iron Ranch outside of Oologah, just up the road from Claremore. While the other pieces were sold in the Museum's gift shop the carving of young Will was displayed in the main hall up until the end of last year. As there was a change in the Museum's management, with a new Director taking over at the first of the year, I have a feeling that Will packed his bags and left with the old Director. Whatever happened to him I hope he's appreciated. Still, it was nice while it lasted to see my work displayed so prominently in such a prestigious place. The Charlie Russell bronze of Will on his horse was within sight of him. How's that for company?

While in Claremore today for another western event, my wife and I stopped by the Memorial to do a little research for a new piece I'd like to do. I managed to snap a few photos to use as go-bys and I've put them in the Gallery section of this Blog should you be interested. Will Rogers was really a fasinating person, especially as he started out not far from here in Jay. We've been truly lucky to have a close relationship with the Memorial. We were invited to bring our Chuckwagon to the Dog Iron for Will's 200th Birthday celebration a couple years ago. Serving biscuits and hot coffee to most of his living relatives was a real treat. It's such things that make my interest in woodcarving continue to grow and, most importantly, continue to be so much fun.

Just Wondering....

It's been just about a year now since I posted my first Blog entry. I guess this experiment is sucessful as I've talked to a number of people from across the woodcarving spectrum who have mentioned how much they enjoy following what I'm up to along with the tips I provide. I can also tell just how much traffic the Blog gets by the number counts on the photographs in the Gallery section. There is one thing that I would like to see a lot more of though and that's comments in the comment section. If you have a question about a Blog entry just ask and I'll try and give you a quick response. If you're just visiting to check out what's new how about a brief note to let me know what you think? That way I can see just what you're interested in and can try and aim my upcoming projects into those areas.

So, thanks for your interest over the past year. Here's looking to a productive year ahead.

Monday, April 16, 2007

A Frowning Cowboy - The Head`

Last night, while watching a real good modern western titled "Don't Come Knocking", starring Sam Shepard, I made a little sketch of a frowning Cowboy which ended up looking like it might make a good character. This morning, after cleaning out the horse stalls, carrying hay and picking hooves I went over to the shop and cut out a blank. As this is a little different from my normal heads I thought you might like to come along for the ride to see how I went about carving it out.

I won't put any descriptions next to the photos as there are about 40 of them and they are large enough for you to see the cuts I made as the project progressed along. Should you have any questions just drop me a note in the comment section and I'll try and answer it.

April 25....Okay! Here he is all painted but not in a very good mood. Evidently his trip down to the Sale Barn didn't work out like he thought it wood.

Lots of photos in the Gallery.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Global Warming

With the Global Warming issue in the news I couldn't pass up the opportunity of addressing it with a scene. I did a similar piece years ago titled "Back Draft" but this one should be much improved. At least I hope it is.

The main body of the stove was turned on a lathe with the legs and stack added. I hollowed out the interior so the viewer can look in and see the red coal. The coffee pot is green at the moment with automotive primer. The coal bucket has some jagged gravel added to simulate coal chunks. There is a square of tin beneath the stove to catch any falling embers. I blackened it with gun blueing and then painted it to look old and worn. The floor is basswood scribed and carved to look like a plank floor. I used the technique of adding a smaller circle of wood beneath it painted black to pop the piece off the oak base.

The figure is dressed in his well used long-johns and a pair of Monkey Socks that could also use some repair. I made the glasses out of bent wire and will also blacken them. I still have to come up with something to fill the floor area on the backside of the stove. Another carver suggested a pair of old boots which sounds pretty good.

This is a fairly large piece, standing about 15" tall. It should be pretty colorful once it's painted.
Page 2........
Okay! Here he is complete. Turned out pretty good. There is still the problem of the open floor space on the back side of the stove. I did some mockups of an ash bucket and pan but when put in place they and the stove overpowered the figure. Will have to keep giving this a little thought. It actually looks pretty good the way it is but that area will continue to haunt me until I can resolve it somehow.
I really like the Monkey Socks. I bought some of those years ago thinking they must be the ticket for work socks as they've been around for so long. Unfortunately, they kept falling down! Sure look good painted on a woodcarving though!!!

More photos in the gallery!