Orang Mother with Baby

so, what did i do ? a carving looks flat when too many planes of the forms are too similar, facing all almost in the same direction. so, i went over the hair and emphasised the forms of the locks by making the planes more dramatic : here is a small drawing to illustrate what i mean :


the top shows how the hills and valleys look on a relief carving that appears too flat. the hills often have quite flat tops and the valleys all look about the same. this easly happens when one cuts the valleys with a single u-tool, or with an single v-tool.
in 1 and 2 you see improvements you can make when you cannot cut much deeper, you can round the hills (of course according to how the forms dictate it) and make the valleys look different, with round bottom if needed as in 2 or sharp corner as in 1.
in 3 you see a solution when you still can cut a little deeper (and that is what i did in most places. the tops of the hills get a roundish shape, again according what is needed from context, and the valleys are deeper and sharper. i actually did cut several of the valleys very tight….

now look again at orang mom´s hair now :


and i think you will see these changes… and, yes, now you can see that i did 2 undercuts too : one of the locks in her forehead is slightly undercut, since it is floating free, and i wanted show that. the tip of that lock is still locked at the forehead, the undercut is minimal but gives now the ilusion of fluffiness the that hair part and is natural since a hairlock in such position is not locked to the forehead but floating free a little … the other undercut is at the ear, where the ear is lying above a hair strand. this undercut is natural, the forms dictate it, and it will through the correct shadow, which we need here very much so that we can see her ear in all that hair…

so, the whole improvement was essentially done by creating more varied hills and valleys and removing “flat tops”. by actually modeling the forms and not merely indicate them by gooves around them… a further advantage is, that such a carving reads well from many angles, of coure for a relief carving there is always a preferered angle, but a good relief carving also reads at least ok from an odd angle. this you can not reach with undercuts to create shadows, but only by the approach i just presented to you. here is an example, einstein, looked at in an extreme odd angle, reads still pretty well, does it not, despite this angle reveals how very little wood is used to actually model ? there are no undercuts at all in this carving …


and you can see there is not a single undercut, all is achieved by making the hill tops rounded and the valleys welldefined and sharp… try it, next time you consider to use undercuts solely for creating shadows…

oh, and i should mention,,,this is of course not my idea, but i saw and learned that from one of my favourite masters : i have seen riemenschneiders holy blood altar in real, and studied it very closely, and this altar has beautiful bas reliefs, which read very well from many angles,,,and i saw that riemenschneider achieved this not by undercutting, but with the method i presented here… the masters do teach us, we just need look and “listen”…


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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tamara
    Aug 06, 2009 @ 17:33:25

    Yeah! Doing a series just on motherhood would be something I know you and I would both love to do! I love this Doris. It touches my heart because I can relate to the mom in how she cares for her special baby. The composition you chose for this looks really nice too with an interesting side angle in the forefront. I’ve got a book that shows anatomy of the ape and I’ll send some pics although you’ve got it down very well. I don’t know what babies eyebrow region looks like but on the adults that area protrudes quite a bit. I love the beady eyes that you gave the momma. Also, the baby apes little nose is really cute. I look forward to watching the rest of the pics as this progresses.


    • dorisfiebig
      Aug 06, 2009 @ 20:16:57

      lol…tamara, i just wanted write you an email to tell you about my new project, and there you have found it already … and even send me anatomy pics ! i just received them … wow, tamara, thank you…
      after i posted, i have changed baby already tremendously, that is, only very few tiniest woodchips fell, but it made changed his eyes completely, and the nose a little, and yes, as you mentioned, baby needs have a strong eyebrow region too, though softer than its mom has,,,i did that too, and in my opinion, got closer to the feelings i want portray…i will post soon. thank you so much for your encouraging comment, tamara !


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