I have been painting on this guy for about a week and still haven’t got him finished! There are a lot of little details and it just seems to take a while. I hate not to be carving, but I really don’t mind the painting that much, at least not like some carvers do! It can really add to a good carving, depending on the subject or style of the carving and I learned to draw and paint a long time before I started carving. I use different painting techniques, but I’ll describe part of the process I used on this one. After carving and burning, I dip the carving in a bucket of water and then start painting with thinned artist acrylic paints. The damp wood gives you an idea of how the piece will look with a finish applied, can keep paint from bleeding into unwanted areas, and also aids in the blending of a more washed-out water color effect…. I like the wood to show through in certain areas. Too much paint or finish can give it a plastic look.
I mixed brown, yellow, and red and thinned it for the flesh color, using thinned brown paint to create shadows. I watered down some black to give his scalp a “5 o’clock” shadow where his head is shaved. The warpaint and eyes were all painted after it had dried out, because I wasn’t trying to blend any large areas, such as the skin and the pants. All of the bead-work areas were first painted with gesso, to make the colors brighter, before painting first with white and then painting different sections other colors. I am trying to paint all the areas that I won’t be able to reach when I add some of the attachments like the shield and the fan in the back. It is easier to complete some sections without all those delicate pieces stuck on! If I have any mistakes, I either paint over them or carve it away and repaint. When I have it as I like it, I put a heavy coat of fresh polyurethane over the entire piece and let it soak in for a few minutes. I remove any excess with a paper towel. I don’t want a heavy shiny coat sitting on top of the wood, so I wipe off what hasn’t soaked in. This protects the carving with a durable finish and really makes the colors vibrant. I buy the smallest cans of satin polyurethane so that it is always fresh and thin, which absorbs better into the wood rather than sitting on top.
I’ll be painting and finishing all the attachments separately before attaching them with either wood glue or CA glue. I hope to finish him this weekend and have the finished project posted soon. Thanks for looking!
-- Mike P., Arkansas, http://mpounders1.blogspot.com