For a while, I have been reading and following the carving projects on this site. I now have the time to really get into carving and started looking for a learning project. I’ve always liked the panel that you carved, Doris, but I don’t have a good place to start something that grand. When Mark posted his carving of Madonna and Child, it just hit me. Maybe it’s the time of year, or the religious symbolism or the fact that it’s so elegant in its simplicity – I wanted to try to carve a smaller version.
I went to our local lumber yard and picked up a slab of ‘mahogany’ – it felt pretty light, but I got it anyway. I think it’s actually called Philippine mahogany and seems prone to tear out. It does carve very easily. I sketched an outline of the ‘Madonna and Child’ on a 5-1/2 x 8 inch piece of 3/4 inch thick wood. I used a scroll saw to cut the outline and started making chips. I used these chisels – 2/5, 2/12, 5/8, 8/4 and occasionally a 5/12.
This is what the carving looks like at the present time. (Please click on fotos to enlarge)
I’m having a lot of problem getting the folds in the head-dress looking smooth and flowing. As you can see at the bottom of the head-dress, the folds do not look natural. I hung a towel and placed folds in it to use as a reference, but I’m having trouble getting the contours to flow into the right areas.
The rest of the carving is not professional, but I feel pretty good about it. This wood is very prone to splitting – have to change direction many times when carving with the grain. The rest of the photos are trying to show the levels of relief in the carving. I had a lot of fun with the knees and bottom of the robe. Maybe I should push the carving more in this area?
I’m not done with the head/faces of the mother or the child, but I want to get you expert opinions before I go too far. Thank you for this opportunity and the time you all take to provide such great instructional material.