This sun was carved from a pattern by the wonderful artist and woodcarver, Lora S. Irish and is in her book, 101 Artistic Relief Patterns for Woodcarvers, Woodburners & Crafters. I love her patterns and this book is a favorite of mine.
The first part of the blog was carving the little sun. However, before I got through carving the little sun I made up my mind that it wasn’t large enough or deep enough so I decided I would carve another one that was larger and deeper and also use some of the knowledge and skill I had gained during the carving of the first. After I started I was so into what I was doing that I forgot to take any pictures so we will have to begin at the first photograph. As you can see I have gotten it to the point at which we have the beginnings of a face.
The blank that I started with is almost 12 inches by 12 inches and 1-3/16 inches thick so the features will be much deeper and will have over 4 times the surface area.
I wanted the nose to be more prominent and the eyes to be more deeply set. I also begin to carve in the mouth.
I have rounded over the eye sockets and smoothed them with a number 3 gouge prior to drawing in the eyes. The next few photographs show the steps taken to carve the eyes. Naturally I try to get the eyes symmetrical but know I will not get them exactly so.
Leaving the eyes I have begun working on the cheeks and the mouth.
I also began on the outer circumference of the face ring. The ring will be deeper as well.
It may not show up from the photo but my idea here is to carve down from the outer perimeter of the piece of wood down into a stop cut around the outer perimeter of the ring. It will actually drop about 3/8 of an inch. While I do so I will try to leave gouge marks that look somewhat like flames as the light dances over the valleys and peaks of the gouge marks.
The gouge pattern is radial at this point but I will make many random cuts because that is the nature of fire. It is quite random you know? I am one who can look deeply into a fire and imagine all sorts of things going on there in the fire. You are liable to imagine yourself seeing all sorts of things. To view a fire is quite frightening if you look into it quite deeply but as long as we keep them contained then they become our servant and they give us warmth and actually become our companions and friends. You will know these things for sure when you are in the deep woods on a cold night in front of your dear companion, the fire.
I deepen the face.
The color of the basswood under the light reminds me of the flames of a fire or the rays of the sun who is also our companion.
You can see the depth of the ring.
So now I am beginning to round over the ring.
So the sun now has his ring for the most part. It is as though the sun has a great port hole to look down upon the face of the earth. To me he has the expression that says “I have seen it all; there is nothing new under the sun.”
I took a copy of my pattern and cut out the ring and face in order to transfer the rays to the wood with graphite paper.
So we see sort of what the rays will look like.
I drill small holes in strategic places to relieve the scroll saw.
Then I cut the rays out with the scroll saw.
So finally the sun has a halo of flames.
Of course while doing all of these steps I continue to try to improve all os the features of the sun’s face.
The sun’s appearance after I finished carving.
The two shots above is how the sun looked after I sprayed a coat of polyurethane on.
This is a shot of how I work and my setup. It’s really quite messy isn’t it? I wish that I were better organized. I never will be. My wife sometimes calls me Pigpen.
I enjoyed carving the sun and I appreciate you folks visiting my blog.
-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau