Pow-wow Dancer -painting in progress

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Blog entry by mpounders posted 04-15-2011 09:20 PM 1226 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

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,

6 comments so far

View Dez's profile


1166 posts in 4133 days

#1 posted 04-15-2011 09:33 PM

Not that you need me to tell you. Nice, looking good!

-- Folly ever comes cloaked in opportunity!

View mpounders's profile


877 posts in 2951 days

#2 posted 04-15-2011 10:48 PM

A pat on the back feels good though! I am always looking for feedback, good or bad! I try to learn a little with everything I do, and there are several things I learned on this one that I will try and implement on my next carving. But sometimes what I consider good, looks different from someone else’s perspective. I do some canes for extra cash and it can be challenging to come up with a design that both the customer and myself like. I usually think my designs are good but I have not had a single customer that didn’t have some change or improvement that they thought would make it better. I am trying to use that as a way to challenge myself to create a design that pleases us both, because the customer is the one that is writing the check to support my artistic endeavours.

-- Mike P., Arkansas,

View Rustic's profile


3253 posts in 3652 days

#3 posted 04-16-2011 03:08 AM

All I can say is….WOW. Lookin good Mike

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View Roger's profile


20929 posts in 2860 days

#4 posted 04-16-2011 03:22 PM

coming to life completely.. very nice

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Dave's profile


11429 posts in 2896 days

#5 posted 04-17-2011 03:50 AM

Where do the batteries go? ;)jk. Great job the only problem is the kids are going to want to play with it. You sir are an artist. I hope that didn’t offend.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View a1Jim's profile


117160 posts in 3633 days

#6 posted 04-17-2011 03:53 AM

good progress .

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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