Posted by: woodbeecarver   in Carving Projects


Old men of the sea are often called “Old Sea Captain” or “Old Salt” as a way of romanticizing those rugged old timers who have salt running through their veins, an eye on the distant horizon and a memory of past adventure.  These three carvings of Old Salts are a study as to using a pose and posture to tell a different story of a similar subject.  All three are wearing the same basic clothing, the same curved smoking pipe and the same style of beard.  What makes each different from the other two is the positions of their hands.

OLD SALT                            OLD SALT

“Hands” on a carving should be doing or holding something because hands are expressive as a silent gesture of adding to the story.  Hands hidden in pockets add nothing to the story the carving is telling. Even if a hand is in the pocket at least the thumb should be positioned on the outside of the pocket to add a sense of movement.

One of the Old Salt carvings is holding hands behind his back in a pensive and contemplative mood of the posture. The challenge is to carve one hand holding the other is a position that looks natural and comfortable.  Every challenge in carving is a learning experience that is worked out with imagination and practice carving the mental picture of imagination. At some point that practice will lead to a shape and form that melt into the image imagined in imagination. See close up of the clasped hands to get a feel for what looks natural.

OLD SALT                           OLD SALT


The other two Old Salts have a similar pose of a hand holding a bent smoking pipe with one using left hand and the other using the right hand.  Notice the planes and angles of the hand holding the pipe.  These planes and angles were carved in the basic form of the hand first before the individual fingers were carved in detail.  In order for the hand to hold the pipe, the arm had to be bent to form a natural pose. The challenge is to carve both the arm bent with a natural look as well as the position of the hand holding the pipe.

The opposite hand in each of these two carvings of Old Salt adds to the story of movement in the pose.  One Old Salt is holding onto the coat lapel with the opposite hand. The other Old Salt has a thumb resting outside of the pocket while the four fingers and hand are inside the pocket while the coat tail is under and behind the arm in a casual gesture of visual movement.

OLD SALT                          OLD SALT
Three Old Salts, each telling their own story in posture and pose as a lesson that the “same” should never stay the “same” while intentional variety can create newness out of sameness.



This entry was posted on Sunday, August 14th, 2016 at 4:09 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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