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Do your wizards, house and wood spirits all have the same expression on their face? Do they look as if they are related to each other and have the same blood line, but not in a good way? Do you need something to spark your imagination to find new and different faces to carve? Oh do I have a TV Show for you!
First, a caveat: I don’t watch scary movies. I don’t like scary movies, but for the last three years, I’ve been watching Face Off on the SyFy Channel simply because I am amazed at how artists can create “characters” which is exactly what we do when we carve faces.
Face Off is a competition series that explores the work of special-effects makeup artists. You can go to http://www.syfy.com/faceoff to see some of their work from past episodes, but it is best to watch full episodes (also available on their website) because it takes you through the artists’ (the series begins with approximately 10 different artists) thought processes, sketches, clay models, color choices, wardrobes, and reviews. Admittedly, you probably would not carve 90% of the creatures the artists create, but watching the creative process is mesmerizing, especially when they decide to create “nature” creatures. This is where our wood spirits, house spirits and wizards appear – even a few gnomes and dwarfs.
The judges, Ve Neill, Glenn Hetrick and Neville Page are special-effects masters who have worked on movies such as Star Trek, Pirates of the Caribbean, Beetlejuice, Mrs. Doubtfire (Ve Neill did Robin Williams’ makeup), Buffy, X‑Files, The Amazing Spider-Man, Planet of the Apes, The Incredible Hulk, The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe, and together have won Academy Awards and Emmys. When the judges point out the competitors’ errors, we are all given the opportunity to learn from them. The judges also discuss why certain artists fail, which often includes balance and proportion – something we all use in our carving.
Take time to watch one Face Off episode. Don’t be turned off if they are doing zombies or skeletons. Overlook the subject matter and listen to the judges. We can all pick up a few pointers, and you will definitely find new expressions for your carvings.
Last month, I did a shout-out for fellow carver, Rich Neely, who asked for tips, videos or books on carving a female face.
Shortly thereafter, the cavalry (consisting of “Ol’ Don” Burgdorf and Don Mertz) arrived full of educational information. I’ve downloaded a few pictures so you have an idea of their offerings. I love Ol’ Don’s warning.
Here are both of the “Don’s” TIPS.
From: “Ol’ Don” Burgdorf
Here is a link to my picture trail site on carving faces, and a taste of what you will find at: http://picturetrail.com/sfx/album/view/505338
Below is a page from one of my old pattern portfolios.
The web site is history but we’re still here — http://www.PictureTrail.com/carveroldon
Ol’ Don’s Warning: Any and all remarks my fingers have typed are translated from electrical and/or chemical signals coming from the organic matter inside of my head and therefore, may not make any sense at all… also, no trees were killed in the sending of this message. However, a number of electrons were inconvenienced.
From: Donald K. Mertz who writes under the by-line The WOOD BEE CARVER. His philosophy is “Would be carvers would be carvers if they would carve wood.” Don’s site is massive with education. I’ve pasted a print screen so you can see some of the items he has available. You can find information for face carving under the “Bee Hive” index, noted below at: http://woodbeecarver.com/
Thanks to both Don’s for such quick replies. Woodcarvers are the best people!!
We received an email from Jim Sullivan regarding preserving wood carving statues. It is a very interesting question.
Subject: Preserving wood carving statues
I own a nativity scene crèche of several carved wooden figures and a carved wood stable. The crèche was purchased in Oberamegau, Germany, in 1958. I think the carved wood stable may be of arolla (Swiss) pine, a type of white pine. It is stained a medium brown and the carved figures (probably from a different, close-grained wood) are unstained. What should be done to preserve the wood from drying out or otherwise improperly aging? Thank you.
We also received an email from a carver who received a flex-shaft grinder/carver for Christmas. He asks for any Reference Books or YouTube Videos that other carvers can recommend for power carving.
This is a shout-out to our readers. If you have tips regarding power-carving or preserving wood carved statues that you’d like to share, drop me an email at: SusanAlexanderCarvesonWOM@comcast.net and I’ll pass it on in our next issue.
Until next time, gentle reader, may your wood be plentiful and your tools stay sharp. Take care, carve lots, and always remember to smile.