Posted by: woodbeecarver   in Carving Projects, Tutorials


Old Salt is a caricature study of the old man of the sea.  Three figures are used as a study in carving three different poses of a similar figure with slight variations.  One Old Salt has his hands behind him while the two others have a thumb on one hand in the waist band of trousers using different hands.  One is smoking a pipe. (click on photo to enlarge.)

Old Salt is carved out of five inch tall by an inch and half square block of basswood. Artist oil paints mixed with boiled linseed oil was used for coloration followed by a coat of Deft.

OLD SALT           OLD SALT             OLD SALTOLD SALT           OLD SALT             OLD SALTOLD SALT           OLD SALT             OLD SALT

The next four photographs show two old salts with hat and head carved to basic form and the rest of the square block was divided using the Rule of Three for body proportions: shoulder to waist; waist to mid knees; mid knees to bottom of feet. The horizontal red line represents those three divisions as an aid for drawing in the cartoon guidelines to position the arms, hands, coat tail, legs and shoes.  These guidelines help guide the inner eye during the carving of the basic form of each feature. The next four photos show the next stage in the carving process as carved to basic form.


The next four photographs shows three Old Salts, one carved in detail, one carved to basic form and one still with the body drawn on the square block.  These photographs are to be used in a comparative study to visually imagine how each phase was carved to reach the final detailed stage.


The first two photographs above offer the progressive step in carving a pipe in the corner of the mouth.  The first shows two examples with the left example the pipe is carved as an extension of the mouth mound with the bottom of the pipe attached to the beard. The right example the lips are carved around the pipe stem as it enters the mouth.  This is done with notch cuts beginning at the center of upper lip across the top of the pipe stem with the second notch cut beginning at the center of lips across the bottom of the pipe stem.  The pipe stem is carved carefully to blend into the notch carved between the upper and bottom lip on the side of mouth holding the pipe. Finally the other half of the mouth is carved with a notch cut to separate the upper and bottom lips. The second photograph shows a detail carved Old Salt on the left to compare with the two other examples of the pipe in mouth study.  The third photo is of the clasp hands at the back of Old Salt as a study of one way to carve hands and arms held on the back of a figure.

Carving the same figure in three different poses and other variations of design is a good way to learn to add variety to carving figures in general.  Every carving project is a learning project and when the carver intentionally carves a project to learn innovations and play with design motifs then the carvers expands the carving horizon for future carving projects.  What is learned in carving three Old Salts can be adapted when carving another subject.  The fun of the journey of carving is to try new ways of carving while learning to adapt what is being learned to apply to the next carving waking up in the dreamland of the carver’s imagination. The only way to learn is to carve and the more one carves the better one carves.  Lessons learned while carving are lessons that inspire the “carve to learn while learning to carve” journey.



This entry was posted on Saturday, March 8th, 2014 at 8:32 pm and is filed under Carving Projects, Tutorials. 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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