Posted by: woodbeecarver   in Carving Projects

Don Stephenson,  my artist friend who continues to come up with neat carving ideas has done it again with a “Hillbilly Drawing.”   This hillbilly captures the mental image of how most people picture a hillbilly.  All art is an interpretation of an idea, an image or a memory.  Art is also fluid as one interpretation flows into another interpretation so that one subject can have many interpretations without any duplication of theme, appearance or appeal.

A drawing of a hillbilly is a two dimensional interpretation while a carving of that same hillbilly becomes a three dimensional interpretation of the two dimensional drawing.  A drawing of a hillbilly is in one medium of art while a carving of that same hillbilly is in another medium.  Don Stephenson’s drawing of a hillbilly was used as inspiration for carving a hillbilly out of an inch and half square by six inch tall block of basswood using a Bud Murray 539 knife as depicted in the first photograph in the photo journey below which shows various views of the completed carving of a hillbilly.  The carving is finished with artist oil paint Raw Sienna mixed with Boiled Linseed Oil to produce on monochrome finish in order to emphasis that  “texture is color.”


The next series of photographs contain three stages in the carving development of the hillbilly.  The carving on the left shows the hat and head of the hillbilly carved to basic form.

The WOOD BEE CARVER’s  method is to carve first the head covering and then the head going up into the head covering.  Once the hat and head are carved to basic form, then the remaining wood is divided into thirds.   Horizontal lines indicate the Rule of Three of Body Proportions:  shoulder to waist; waist to mid knees; and mid knees to bottom of feet.  Within these proportional landmark lines the arms, hands, trunk, legs, feet and jug are drawn to guide the carving towards basic form.

The middle hillbilly has been carved to the basic form all over and around in preparation for receiving the finishing touches of carving the details. Ninety five percent of carving any project is carving the basic form to provide a good foundation for the last five percent of carving in the details.

The finished carved hillbilly on the right completes this trilogy of the progressive steps with the first carving cuts carving towards the carving of the basic form right on through to the final detail carving of the finished carving.


While viewing each photograph imagine what cuts were executed to shape the various areas of the carving.  It is this “imaginative carving in the mind”  that helps the carver envision the actual carving in wood a similar project with its own unique interpretation.

My “Thanks” to Don Stephenson – the Idea Monster  for his gift of drawing, gift of art, gift of generosity and gift of friendship.


This entry was posted on Saturday, April 7th, 2012 at 7:38 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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