This is a
first book for Carole Boyd, but you have probably seen
her work and a little of her writing before, like maybe in Carving
Found Wood by Vic Hood and Jack A. Williams. I know
I have seen her work there and several other places as well.
It doesn't take long to recognize her work because she has "a
style". They're recognizable for the same
reason you can pick out a Pete LeClair face, an Ian Norbury figure,
a Desiree Hajny animal, a Native American bust by Jeff Phares,
or a Pete Ortel caricature. They have "a style".
So there I was, sitting at the computer, breaking open this book
for the very first time, opened it up randomly, and from over
my shoulder came, "Wow, nice eyes! How did they paint them!?". This was
simultaneous with it vanishing from my hands. Seems that
Yvonne, my decorative painter wife <Matt refers to her as the
long suffering Mrs. Bloomquist>, REALLY likes Carole Jean's
painting technique, and especially the eyes. When I finally
got the book back, I had to agree with her. The style Carole
Jean Boyd carvings have are equal parts fantastic carving technique
and fantastic painting technique, and I think she communicates
both very well in this book.
Rapid fire... There's a wonderful 19
page gallery of her work, as well as some of her students.
Floyd Rhadigan is in there... Man! She must really know
how to teach <said with an extreme grin>. If there's
nothing there that inspires you, then you have my sympathy.
There's several pages of excellent painting techniques that uses
acrylics AND oil colors. Each project leads off with a list
of tools, and a list of colors. Just like carving cottonwood
bark is "different", so are cypress knees. The
author discusses these differences and the carving techniques
she has found work best with the medium. And , finally,
there's that Jack Williams photography. Throughout several
books we haven't seen him shoot a mediocre step-by-step yet.
A brief tour:
Cypress Trees and Knees
Chapter Two: Carving Basics
Chapter Three: Design and Composition
Chapter Four: Gallery
Chapter Five: Carving a Knee Spirit
Chapter Six: Carving Father Christmas
Chapter Seven: Carving an Elf
In the past I have cautioned you about
books that have a very specialied woodcarving subject. As
focused as this book is on cypress knees, the majority of carving
and painting techniques are readily applied to basswood
or white pine. I would highly recommend it for your library
even if you've never laid eyes on a cypress knee, but might try
just one. If they don't do anything for you, the book is
still a very good reference, and I think it deserves four thumbs...
if they're still available... the thumbs I mean. Matt says
I've been depleating his supply... of thumbs that is.
This 4-thumb level for Fox/Chapel books is
a bit repetitive I realize, but it can't be helped. With
the exception of one book we discussed earlier, this publisher
has a very strong track record publishing woodcarving books lately.
Tell ya what... in a future issue we'll give you a short
list of woodcarving books you should not
put on your wish list and why. There will actually be some
Fox/Chapel books there, honest.
So fellow woodcarvers, keep them edges keen,
the chips piled high, and only buy the good stuff <no matter
what it is.
Keep on Carvin'
Mike Bloomquist is a carver and carving teacher, and a regular contributor to WOM.
He and the "long suffering" Mrs. Bloomquist live in the Mohawk Valley in New York state.
You may visit Mike's web site, Wooden Dreams Woodcarving HERE or email him at m.bloomquistATverizonDOTnet.