A BETTER IDEA – Steve Prescott

   Posted by: woodbeecarver   in Carving Friends, CCA Related


The BEFORE and AFTER photographs of the “Cowboy Limo” created by CCA Member Steve Prescott demonstrates how a good idea can be made even better.  The “Cowboy Limo” was first introduced to this blog in the February 1, 2012 posting entitled “Steve Prescott – Cowboy Limo”  (which can be found by going to “Main Menu” in order to click on “Blog Site Map” which will bring up a written index of postings by title listed under “Categories” and look under “Carving Friends” to find the title of the posting).

Even though the Cowboy Limo in the BEFORE photograph stands alone as a eye-catcher of a caricature carving, yet its “presentation”  is enhanced with the “Better Idea”  presented in the AFTER photograph.

 “Presentation”  is described by Steve in his own words: I rushed to finish “Cowboy Limo” for some shows last spring.  I just mounted it on a walnut base.  Four shows – four blue ribbons and two Special Merit Awards.  It got lots of attention at every show but to me, it lacked something. Most judging criteria include a section for presentation.  What is presentation?  It can be defined as the visual impact or artistic design of the overall carving.  It’s the “WOW” factor that draws the attention of the viewer. 

Displaying the carving on an attractive base, in a scene or in a habitat, is the presentation that adds to the overall artistic impact/impression of the carving. I recently reworked the base and made it more of a scene.  The basic carving remains the same but the overall effect is dramatic.


To my eye, my first “Cowboy Limo” seemed a little plain even though it gathered lots of laughs and attention each time I showed it.  The carving and idea were good but I had rushed to complete it for a show and it just did not look “finished” to me.

I recently did a carving of a western scene for a book cover that included a barbed wire fence, rocks and cactus.  I decided that the “Cowboy Limo” could benefit from a similar treatment.

The barbed wire is made with 26 gauge permanently colored copper wire (purchased from a craft store in the jewelry section.)  A long double length section was twisted to make the base wire and small “barbs” were added by wrapping them several times and clipping them to the desired length.  I do not know if there is a better way to make this stuff, but it worked for me.  Warning!  Working with this copper wire was as dangerous as real barbed wire – cuts, sore fingers and scratches.

The fence posts were carved from ¾” squared basswood.  I tried not to make them too straight and with a rough texture and knot holes.  I painted them with Brown Iron Oxide base and dry brushed them with grey and white to look like real cedar fence posts.


The cactus and rocks were carved from left over bandsaw scraps.  The spines on the cactus are burned with a writing tip.  They are actually the opposite of spines but give the right impression without being fragile.  The carved rocks need to be shaped irregularly with different colors and shades.  I also dry brushed them to give an old, dirty appearance.

The signs were made from the basswood.  The “No Hunting” sign was “riddled” with bullet holes with the same pointed burning tip burning all the way through the thin wood.  I thought the “No Motorized Vehicles” sign was a good touch.

 I did lots of shading on the base around the rocks, cactus and posts to create a more realistic effect. Overall, I am pleased with the end results now that the “Cowboy Limo” was finally “finished.”

Thank you Steve for giving “A Better Idea”  instruction on the significance of “Presentation”  to make a carving project even better.






This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 21st, 2012 at 10:28 am and is filed under Carving Friends, CCA Related. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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