Posted by: woodbeecarver   in Noggins

PUMPKIN HEADS BY JON NELSONAt the 2006 Artistry in Wood Show in Dayton, Ohio these Pumpkin Heads in the photograph at the left were part of Jon Nelson’s display.  A clever carving idea to try was filed in the back of my own wooden head.  A year later I had the opportunity to take a caricature carving class from Bob Stadtlander and one of his subjects was Pumpkin Heads.

As with many carving ideas and carving subjects which incubate in the carver’s creative muse, carving more of these Pumpkin Heads came knocking on my wooden head (i.e. ‘block head’).  The result being what I call “Pumpkin Noggins” as the word “noggin” means head.   So what follows is a photo journey of “Pumpkin Noggins” on parade.



The Pumpkin Noggins are carved using traditional carving tools of deep gouges, V parting tools and a knife.  As caricatures they lend themselves to a whimsical and free flowing style of cuts carved into a basswood hen egg.  It is a fun way to practice carving faces as the carver’s imagination guides the carving tool to the facial features that creates a humorous expression.  The Pumpkin Noggins are painted using the “Painting Softly” method of artist oil paint thinned with boiled linseed oil into  stain.   The pumpkin color is created with a mixture of Cadmium Red Deep Hue and Indian Yellow and boiled linseed oil.  The pupil of the eye is a gouged half circle and then wood burned dark brown with the whole eye painted with a mixture of artist oil Mixing White and boiled linseed oil.  The teeth are painted with the same white mixture.


These four photographs are offered for study  of the stages on carving a face in a wooden egg to become a Pumpkin Noggin along with the tools used for the various stages. Deep gouges and V parting tools are used to lower the areas of the face that need to be lowered and to shape the contours of the facial features while a knife is used for details.   The  vertical grooves for the side and back of the pumpkin are carved using a V parting tool and then a knife or shallow gouge to round over the sharp corners at the top of the V trough.

Since Pumpkin Noggins are whimsical and free flowing, learning to carve  these kind of faces makes for a fun experiment of learning to use the various tools to accomplish the carving procedure.  It is like what Andy Gnome said in Andy Sez….. There are three kinds of people: those who learn by reading, those who learn by observation and the rest who touch the ‘WET PAINT.'” Learning to carve one can learn by reading, observation in taking a carving class and by touching the carving tool to the wood and see what happens.  Or as the WOOD BEE CARVER often says: “Would be carvers would be carvers if they would carve wood.”

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 29th, 2009 at 11:43 am and is filed under Noggins. 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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