Three things that I definitely try to remember:
1. Learn to recognize, to see your mistakes.
2. Learn how to correct your mistakes.
3. Learn to not be afraid to make corrections!
Sometimes that correction may seem quite drastic, if you have not recognized it early in the carving progress. I have a tendency to get too detailed too early in the carving process, rather than carving the overall piece to make sure everything is where it is supposed to be. Doing that, and getting an area such as a nose or an eye carved absolutely perfect can make you afraid to make necessary corections. You hesitate to shorten that beautiful nose to make it fit the rest of the face or to do the eyes completely over. But it has to be done. It is only a piece of wood, after all! That sounds so simple, but it can be difficult to do. I lost my fear after learning a few ways to make corrections and that it really does look better after it has been corrected. So, I have made a few corrections to this since my last post. If you compare it with previous pictures, I have removed part of the forehead, in order to lower the eye brow ridge closer to the eyes.
I also cut off the bottom of the nose, to make the space above the upper lip wider and to narrow the nose a bit. I deepened the inside area of the eyes to make them more rounded. I also removed some of the lower lip, so that it does not protrude as much as the upper lip. Then I had to remove more underneath the bottom lip to reform the chin.
The nose still seemed too thick, so I removed some from the wings and also straightened the bridge a bit. I started thinnning the neck down and making it longer, also the shoulders. I have sanded the piece a bit, to make it easier for me to see what is not symetrical, what might need to be corrected. This is not what I consider finish sanded, but simply to help me see certain planes and shadows better. I worked on the hair some more and also the jaw line. That is simply a very subtle curve made with a #11 gouge and some sanding.
You can see the shadows created by shaping the planes on the face. I made the bottom lip smaller and I am working on the shoulders a bit. One will be driopped lower than the other to add visual interest. Thanks for looking!
-- Mike P., Arkansas, http://mikepounders.weebly.com