At this point all the gluing up is completed. At last count I was just over 100 pieces that were prepped and put in place. I’ve also used a gallon and a half of glue.
As you’ll see the trunk is carved and I’m working my way into the upper branches and leaves. Though nature always looks good in it’s random arrangement of leaves/branches, in a carving everything has to have a flow to it in order to give it some movement and life. I do this by trying not to have the leaves look “stiff” and giving them some curves and sweeps. You can see the curved ‘S’ lines I use on the leaves and having each twist and turn a bit while following an overall movement in their direction.
I’m also planning on re-carving the left hand side of the upper branches as I feel they look a bit to square at this point. That’s the advantage of roughing everything into place and not having any one thing completely carved. It allows me to make changes as I go along to have everything live in harmony and look balanced and graceful.
Here is a view looking up the trunk. I will go back and add texture to this area in the form of chiseled cuts. This will add some texture to the trunk and give it some interest.
Part way up the trunk I encountered a knot. Instead of trying to carve it which is very difficult and generally makes a mess I turned it into a branch ( which it once was) and made it appear as if the branch was pruned at one time.
This is a view from the far right of the extended branch looking back towards the trunk. This will require quite a few leaves and branches to complete it. This span is nearly 9 ft across (7 to the trunk)
The area where the branches start to fan out from the trunk. The cuts in the trunk lead up to where these branches begin adding to the flow of the piece. Just under the chisel handles in the upper right of the photo is the area where a birds nest will appear , holding two chicks. It will settle into a crook of the branches.
A view from the top where you can see the flow of the leaves. This is the area that will be re-carved.
The same area as the above shot just from a lower viewing angle.