Bright Bowl

Saw a king fisher on a tree over the water. Does not its arrival mark some new movement in its finny prey? He the bright buoy that betrays it!

Henry David Thoreau, Journal Entry, April 11, 1856

As I was carving this maple bowl with thoughts of spring on my mind, I decided to brighten it up with some color. I had been reading about kingfishers, learning more about the ones I watch around here — belted kingfishers. Why not let the bird inspire the colors for the bowl?

With that in mind, I carved an outline of a kingfisher into the foot of the bowl, then got out some artist oils (which are a mix of linseed oil and pigment). I did a ground coat of white, and let it dry for a few days. Then I went over that on the top and bottom with the blue shade, leaving the edges of the rim and handles white. As the paint wears over the years, hints of white will peak through the blue here and there.

Color like this is tricky to photograph; it changes so much depending on the characteristics of the light. I took some photos of the bowl this morning in our little cherry tree, full of spring blossoms now.

In the more subdued light of the workshop, the color seems to deepen.

And these last two from the cherry tree again, but in the evening light.

This bowl is available for purchase. The hollow has been treated with linseed oil and is ready for use. The dimensions are 16″ long, 8″ wide, and 3 1/4″ high. $625 includes shipping. Email me at if you’re interested. Update: SOLD

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11 Responses to Bright Bowl

  1. irving dingwell says:

    Wonderful Kingfisher bowl !

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Darren MacMartin says:

    It’s a really beautiful bowl Dave, I love the addition of some color! Reminds me of something Jogge Sundqvist might dream up.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Skip Florey says:

    It’s a beautiful bowl David! It is interesting the color changes with the different light. The triangles on the sides drew my attention. They are so uniform and precise. Do you measure each one or is it done with the tool being used as a guide?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Michael O’Brien says:

    What a lovely bowl Dave, like the color choice too.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. francedozois says:

    All I can say is wow. A bird and a bowl with an appropriate Thoreau introductory quote. Who could ask for anything more?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Scott Thomas says:

    The addition of this much color is a new look for you Dave, but it’s indeed beautiful, as is it’s inspirational bird. By a Fisher for a fisher, very well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sam Glenn says:

    Beautiful work Dave.
    The paint mix, where do you get your pigment?


    • Dave Fisher says:

      I didn’t mix up the paint for this bowl from dry pigment. Artist oil paints are simply a mix of a drying oil (usually linseed) and pigment, so I typically just buy the pigment and oil premixed, so to speak — already in the tube. Here, for example: Regardless of the brand, you can click on any color and find out exactly what pigment(s) are in it. You can then look into how those pigments are sourced/produced and so on, if you’re interested. It can be fascinating in itself.
      That said, I have used dry pigments that I have ground myself and also purchased some. Here’s one source I’ve used: For mixing into oils well, you’ll want a muller and a sheet of glass.


  8. That’s a fun bowl. Nice color. I like how the paint highlights the finish cuts on the outside of the bowl. All of those glinting facets are delightful.

    Liked by 1 person

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