I’m never sure how to tackle human skin in wood relief… Either you carve it away clean so it is just outlines or colour, you block it in as shadows, or you texture it- mostly making it look like zebra flesh!
As the characters I am harking back to for these carvings are from the 16th century or earlier, and because the majority are actually from wood engravings not wood relief blocks I am left trying to replicate the delicate stripes of etched shadow, except a 1,000 times larger and in relief. So I tend to let the different tool shapes define the kind of line. Thus you have a large spoon shape that makes it look like fabric stretched at the seams, or fine triangular blades giving straight lines of textured tape. On the neck and bare hands for this piece I’m going to try keeping it mostly straight cuts and pretty rough, occasionally mimicking the fabrics, but hopefully so you can still tell which is which.
I’d appreciate any comments or input on these themes :-)
Tackled the torso, I kept finding I made mistakes in similar places across the surface. Could be the density of the wood, the sharpness of the blade or a dozen other factors, bloody annoying though. I’m going to have to work out some way of making repairs.
Anyway made some progress, added some nice details. I love how much shaping I can get with the hand tools. Also I using my industrial carver with an oversized blade to create what I can only describe as stretchy–fabric look!
So here we are, didn’t get as far as the arms…
Today I’m aiming to complete a human torso.
I’m naturally finding that any open areas feel right when I pack them with details akin to previous works. In the 2 example works I gave a few posts ago, I was sewing actual costumes for myself and for other performers. It never seemed enough to simply have a fluorescent colour shirt or walking trousers, they needed to be so densely packed with tapes, ropes, reflectors, compasses, bobbles and hazard markings that the performers would begin to look more like ordinance survey maps than the people that use them. Like a dense focus-draw in the landscape. Both incongruous, and completely ‘of’ a contemporary landscape- waterproof, hi-viz, branding, the lot.
Coming back to maps for a moment, it is interesting that so many designs and logos used by ordinance survey and other mapping firms- Chevrons, double stripes, dash stripes, strings of diamonds, dots, contours et al; find their way into outdoor clothing design. As if we feel safer because of the likeness our clothing has to maps and mapping…