Posted by: woodbeecarver   in Carving Projects


The FOX and RABBIT are recent carving journeys into new territory for this old carver.  During show-n-tell at the Dayton Carvers meeting, my good friend Gary Walker said I should say that the fox carving represented me when the girls referred to me as a “Fox” in my younger years.  I said they referred to me as a “skunk” by being a “little stinker” then and still being a “big stinker” now.  That prompted another artist friend, Don Stephenson to draw a likeness of me as a “Skunk,” as in the photo above.  The Rabbit was carved during this same time period as the fox.

The wisdom that comes with age says, “I have mistakes yet to make and ideas yet to think.”        Life is an ongoing process of learning from mistakes, being challenged by ideas and being challenged by the untired.  The same can be said about carving as being an ongoing process of learning by doing and stretching one’s imagination and ability to be challenged to do a new project.

The Wood Bee Carver enjoys carving the male caricature figure and faces while being challenged with the female face and figure yet to be carved.  Carving animals fall in the same challenge category to learn by doing and studying animal anatomy and characteristics. A caricature animal likeness requires learning the realistic characteristics in order to get close to resembling the kind of animal being carved.  Following the Wood Bee Carver’s mantra that “we learn by doing and the more we carve a subject the better the subject improves,” and “Would be carvers would be carvers would be carvers is they would carve wood,” means accepting the challenge to carve the new subject in order to begin the process of learning by carving and exercising imagination.


The silhouette carvings in mahogany of a fox head were the first exploration of getting the basic form of the head of a fox. This image came from research on Pinterest for “fox carving images” which led to additional images filed away in the carver’s imagination with a few saved as photographs for future study.  Some of these images were of caricature fox figures wearing human clothing of a “gentleman fox.”  That basic concept became the mental image of imagination to guide as the fox was being carved.  The photos below show the progressive carving to basic form in front of these study photos.

The basic form being developed is guided by imagination that envisions the fox wearing a jacket and short pants, a shirt and vest with one paw on top of a crooked cane and a large exaggerated bushy tail wrapping about his left leg.  The shape of his head and the bushy tail give the characteristic of a fox without it being a realistic representation of a fox or in other words a caricature interpretation.  The next series of photos of the four inch tall carved and painted fox show the details that turned him into a “Gentleman Fox.” Note how the tail follows the ”S” Rule of sculpture and how the crooked cane does the same. The “S” Rule adds a sense of movement causing the eyes of the viewer to slow down at the curves to see the carving in greater detail.  A straight line in the carved form does not add any visual interest as the vision simply sees through the straight line.  Notice also the texturing of the vest to give it a weave of texture.



The Rabbit carving project came about at the Miami Valley Woodcarvers meeting where each person chose a block of wood in which to carve something on the theme of Spring.  Once again Pinterest was researched for an idea which produced a Rabbit caricature carved by Floyd Rhadigan. Using that picture as a guide, the first rabbit was carved as depicted in the three photos below.



Additional learning takes place when carving the second similar subject.  The first photo below shows the Rhadigan rabbit, the first completed carved rabbit and the second rabbit carved to basic form standing beside a four inch tall and two inch square block of bass wood to represent how the second rabbit began. The three photos that follow are of the second carved rabbit.



The second rabbit ended up a little fatter both in body and head size when compared with the first rabbit and the Rhadigan rabbit. Learning from the first rabbit and second rabbit and making comparison between them, it became imperative to carve it a third time to carry out the learning process for a more pleasing rabbit.  The next two photos below begin with a comparison between the block of wood, the third rabbit in process and the second completed rabbit with front and back views.  The final two photos are of the completed third rabbit that ended up a little thinner than even the first rabbit.


These three lessons “down the rabbit hole” were an adventure in learning with good time invested in doing what carvers love to do ~ carve wood ~ don’t you know.



This entry was posted on Monday, February 3rd, 2020 at 2:17 pm and is filed under Carving Projects. 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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