I’m more adept with light and shadow than with color.  I wonder, in fact, if I haven’t carved away more paint than I’ve put on.  But I can be stubborn perseverant.

The top photo shows a bowl shortly after I had re-carved the exterior surfaces.  Below, is the same bowl as it had been.


I carved it mainly as a sample bowl to take to classes, but as it turned out, I didn’t like the carving pattern on the end surfaces, and it was a pain to carve — an unnatural fit for the tools and flow of the piece.  I didn’t like the paint job either.  There was too little contrast with the poplar wood and I hadn’t thinned the artist oils enough.

Worst of all, it occupied a shelf in my workshop.  Once in awhile it would call to me, “Psst… hey, you… dummy.  Thanks a lot.”  I felt like a barber who’d given a guy a bad haircut then ended up sitting behind him at the theater.  But hair grows back and wood doesn’t.  I tried to cover things up with different (red) paint, but it was about as effective as that Ronco hair paint stuff:

Still, maybe there was enough wood there to set things right.  One day, after one too many taunts, I seized the bowl from the shelf and gleefully went to work with a gouge.  As blonde curls of wood fell to the shop floor, a fresh surface and a new pattern emerged.  The redemption was complete except for a few bits of color that had been pulled more deeply into the end grain.


Undaunted, I mixed up a red color with some artist oils, adding a little flax oil and citrus thinner.  I wanted the consistency, in this case, of a strong wood stain that would allow the grain to read through, but still have an intense color.



That’s better.  I like the flow of the flutes, and the gouge wants to make this pattern — it’s a natural fit.

I like it.  The paint is back in the drawer for awhile, and the bowl has stopped calling me names.

This entry was posted in carving, paint, patterns, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Re-Carving

  1. Bob Easton says:

    It wasn’t nearly as bad as you imagined, and now is much better than you imagine. Beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dave Fisher says:

    Thanks Bob. The voices are exaggerated in my head!


  3. John Fielding says:

    Great creative evolution, Dave! And a good example of “listening to your gouge”…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gosia says:

    Beautiful! And fully redeemed 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Scott Kinsey says:

    The hoop patterns absolutely kill me. There’s no telling where you might go with it!
    Masterful and ever beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Mark Taylor says:

    funny…now I think I hear it calling my name!


  7. francedozois says:

    love the pattern–

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jim says:

    It’s called “letting the artist in you out” ! Wonderful work.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Gary ilse says:

    The bowl looks good to me I may try carving one
    Most peopgale just think of lathes for bowls

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Nice save! It’s always worth it to go bold when painting. I try to channel some Jögge Sundqvist or Magnus Sundelin when hitting the paints.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Eddie mack says:

    So glad to hear that this type of thing happens to such an artists as you. I am having to do work overs all the time and I’m still not happy with the results. I keep telling myself more practice and I’ll get better. The real problem is I am artisticly challenged.


  12. Skip Florey says:

    I really like the hairpin or hoop patterns in the first picture. I like that they are still evident with the paint. Both are terrific….Guess I just favor the wood.
    Thanks for the inspiration! I’ll keep practicing 👍

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Looks great, Dave! “The babes are back!”

    Liked by 1 person

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