Family Portraits ..... or Cutting My Wife's Hair with the Chevalet

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Project by shipwright posted 09-16-2015 05:13 AM 2688 views 1 time favorited 33 comments Add to Favorites Watch

One of the things that Patrick Edwards has always done in the level one course at ASFM is to have the students do a self portrait. The school keeps one copy and gets to have a visual record of all the past students. I really like that part and plan to incorporate it into my new level one course as well.

With my first group of students arriving next week, I decided to do a dry run to see how my photoshop skills were for producing the high contrast print that the students will trace for their self portraits. I used my wife and myself as guinea pigs.

ASFM students are instructed to take a “less is more” approach when producing their tracings and I will offer the same encouragement to my students but as I had already done that when I took that course, I decided to take the opposite approach at least with my wife’s portrait, just to see how it would work.

I learned a couple of things.
The first is that the positive (light ground, dark shadows) always looks good but the more detail you include the worse the negative looks to the point that the very detailed cut of my wife is hardly recognizable as a face in the negative.
The second is that the line drawing never looks like it is going to work out well at all. Again it is more depressing with more detail.

You gotta have faith in the process however because they actually all work out when cut and assembled. You usually can’t believe how good they do look.

The bottom line is that I think I can do the prints well enough and I got some rather nice family portraits out of the experiment. ...... Makes me a happy camper.

Thanks for looking.


-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

33 comments so far

View Druid's profile


1230 posts in 2214 days

#1 posted 09-16-2015 05:29 AM

Great idea Paul. Hope to see your student’s results when they are done.
Have a great time next week.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


17574 posts in 3095 days

#2 posted 09-16-2015 07:03 AM

Results look good. You are right, I wondered how all those pictures you posted are related ;-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Dutchy's profile


1970 posts in 1587 days

#3 posted 09-16-2015 07:29 AM

Hello Paul,

Like to see this post.BUT…..........
Did you tell your wife that you usually can’t believe how good see does look.

-- My englisch is bad but how is your dutch?

View Luke Addington's profile

Luke Addington

72 posts in 587 days

#4 posted 09-16-2015 07:33 AM

They look great Paul!

-- Luke,

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

916 posts in 1731 days

#5 posted 09-16-2015 07:47 AM

I recognise that lady! Both portraits look very good.

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View Schwieb's profile


1792 posts in 2880 days

#6 posted 09-16-2015 10:08 AM

I think this is all quite remarkable and I admire you for what you do. I would love to take your course one day.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View MrFid's profile


791 posts in 1323 days

#7 posted 09-16-2015 11:26 AM

Beautiful work, Paul! I’d love to try this someday. I too would love to take your course.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View dbray45's profile


3147 posts in 2195 days

#8 posted 09-16-2015 12:12 PM

It is going to be a really good course. Good job Paul

-- David in Damascus, MD

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

16787 posts in 2524 days

#9 posted 09-16-2015 12:19 PM

Great portraits, Paul. You could start a business much like a professional photographer only better!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View grizzman's profile


7781 posts in 2722 days

#10 posted 09-16-2015 12:39 PM

pretty cool idea for your class, i think you did a grand job…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Roman - THE BOOTMAN's profile


772 posts in 2105 days

#11 posted 09-16-2015 02:21 PM

I like your idea. I’ve been thinking of a similar project in my power carving classes using scraps of laminated MDF. Will need to experiment on myself before I offer that class.
Question, Is you picture in reverse?
Great post, Roman

-- Roman:... These Boots Were Made For 'Talkin'!

View Ocelot's profile


1458 posts in 2057 days

#12 posted 09-16-2015 02:25 PM

That worked much better than I would have guessed.

I noticed that your image has been mirrored.


View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

3538 posts in 1980 days

#13 posted 09-16-2015 02:26 PM

You did a very good job. Did you use the scrollsaw or hand saw?

-- Please help me help other Vets click..> is always the right time, to do the right thing.

View shipwright's profile


7084 posts in 2217 days

#14 posted 09-16-2015 03:06 PM

Thanks all,

Roman and Paul, I flopped my photo so that when I put the two together (last photo) we would be looking toward each other. I thought it would have looked odd otherwise.

Arlin, they are cut on my chevalet.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View jmartel's profile


6465 posts in 1569 days

#15 posted 09-16-2015 03:48 PM

Paul, Nice work.

I have to say that your self portrait makes you look a bit like Leonard Nimoy.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

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