Saturday, 12 May 2012

Waving, not sanding.

I have many different carvings over the years that I want to put on this blog but carving generally is a slow business. It's very exciting at first, starting a piece, not knowing how it will eventually turn out, how well it may go. I want each piece I make to be better than the last, regardless of subject matter.

However, after the initial work, when the general shape has appeared, it becomes more methodical, slowly whittling down each element watching that I don't go too far, too thin, concentrating too much on one area without constantly relating to every other area. Little by little, all the elements slowly meld together to a point where I'm finally considering the sculpture as a whole. Now it gets exciting again, seeing the piece hinting at how it might end, but also at a point where ruin is a much more present possibility.

Anyway, point is,carvings take ages and following my progress on the veneers on Valentino's leg may begin to feel like watching paint dry. So I'll introduce some of my work interspersed with progress on the veneers.  

Here is a horse anatomy study, carved in Limewood, taken from a plaster cast of a horse study when I did a term at the City and Guilds of London Art College many moons ago. This particular sculpture crops up all over the place.It may have gained popularity with the fashion for plaster casts two centuries ago around Europe which gave us such treasures as the cast rooms at the Victoria and Albert Museum.I've seen a copy at the Leighton House Museum.  If you google "horse anatomy sculpture"  various versions appear, I think most notably the Leonardo da Vinci horse in Grand Rapids, Michigan which seems to me to be the same pose but beefier and with skin.It may well be that the sculptor of the original may have been inspired by Leonardo's drawings for his giant bronze horse Il Cavallo
   My carving isn't finished, interrupted by commissions and not returned to. I usually sand down my work as I generally aim at a sculpture that looks like the subject first and recognition of the material it is made in second. I don't like the "chiselly-sculpty" whittled look as a rule. Wood is a beautiful, warm and alive material and, in my humble opinion, doesn't need to have the gouged effect to reinforce that  it is carved wood.

 Having said that, because I usually sand my work, I wanted this horse to have all the tool marks and try my best to hide them with deft and nifty handwork LOL.Not there yet though. Lots of work still to do, but it's been so many years, I'd prefer to leave it as an unfinished study lurking on a shelf waving a powerful hoof in the air.


  1. I love how you have exposed the muscles (this is what makes them such powerful creatures). Please keep posting, I am enjoying your work.

  2. Thanks very much. There are still plenty of pieces yet to post, hope you like them.