HUGH O’NEAL ~ A Mess of Fly Guys

   Posted by: woodbeecarver   in Carving Friends

Fly GuysFly GuysFly GuysFly Guys

Hugh O’Neal, a carving friend from Alabama, is giving us a look at one of his latest carving projects along with a written description.  This is a good example of carving a subject that is well known to the carver as well as carving it several times to continue to add innovations to the overall design.  The subject is a “fly fisherman,” that includes a well written tutorial as in Hugh’s own words following the next three photographs.

Fly Guy            Fly Guy            Fly Guy

Years ago fly fishing was my passion. I would tie my own flies and dream of the big ones I would catch with these tiny creations.  Almost every afternoon I would load up my tackle and spend a couple of hours casting these imitations of nature.  I would then return home in the dark to dress fish. It was very relaxing and tying the flies satisfied my creative side. Cleaning the fish, well not so much.

 Then I discovered wood carving.  Wow!   No messy fish to dress. I could carve when it was raining or cold, in my recliner or on the deck, in the morning before work or while on a trip. All I needed was a sharp knife, a piece of wood, a lap apron and I was ready.

Carving became my new passion.  I once heard some advice given to writers , “Write what you know”. Well why not carve what you know? Thus the “Mess of Fly Guys”.

In carving this “Mess of Fly Guys” I always abide by the “rule of three”.  These Guy’s started with a 2″ by 6 3/4″ block of Bass wood.  This gives enough material for a base, the body, divided into three parts, and enough leftover for the head with a hat.

While the basic pattern was the same, each new “Fly Guy” had something new in the carving. Turning the head differently, adding a dip net, waders, a pipe, or laces on the boots.  By carving the same pattern multiple times I became more confident in carving the basic shape, was able to correct previous mistakes, and I could stretch my abilities by adding new things that I had never tried before. 

 Three pieces of advice I would give to Woodbeecarvers.

1. Make carving convenient. If it takes you a half hour to get set up and even longer to clean up you are apt to put off carving until you have plenty of time. Also always have wood and patterns on hand to carve.

 2. Repeat carve. By carving the same carving multiple times you will gain both speed and confidence. By adding creative variations to each repeated carving you will satisfy your creative side.  

 3. Have a couple of what I call  “Comfort Carving” patterns. This is a carving pattern that I carve when the creative juices are not flowing. I always have some blanks on hand and can pick one up and carve at anytime.

 So try carving what you know and let the chips “Fly Guy’s” and Gal’s also.  Hugh O’Neal

As a bonus, here are a few photographs of some of Hugh’s other recent carvings on various subjects to be viewed as a “visual tutorial.”

ProspectorProspectorCowboyCowboyCowboyLawmanLawmanLawmanSageSageSageSageHugh Pigs Hugh Pigs Hugh Pigs Hugh Pigs

pigsPigsPigPiggyPiggyPiggyPiggyPiggyDR            DR            DRFarmer            Farmer            FarmerDenist            Dentist            Dentist2 Dentists            2 Dentists            2 Dentists

Thank you Hugh for your gift of carving inspiration and friendship.

This entry was posted on Sunday, September 29th, 2013 at 7:06 pm and is filed under Carving Friends. 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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