Wood

One of my lifelong passions is art. Ever since Sister Flora introduced me to drawing and coloring in the fourth grade I have pursued art. Grammar school training is all I ever had, but like Abe Lincoln, I taught myself using a pencil. Today, we call it doodling. Along the way I bought a few self help books on figure drawing and used them as my guide. Drawing the human form is a big challenge. Once a person knows the proportions of the anatomy drawing is a little easier.

My color media consists of Crayons, colored pencil, water-color, pastel, charcoal, food coloring, tempera, and oil. When I color my cartoons I use color pencils. More recently, I have used spray paints for backgrounds. About thirty years ago, I enrolled in a Junior College art class and lasted one semester, but learned a lot about the creative process. I also took drafting in high school, and college which I don’t really count as art, but I learned perspective, shading, and point of view.

My art looks kindergardenish next to Grandma Moses who had a very distinctive but primitive style. My notebooks are filled with various pencil doodles, water colors, color pencil, ink, pastel, and charcoal. I’ve done some portraits in charcoal using a photograph as my model.

$95,000.

For the past thirty years I have concentrated on using wood to make pictures. Since I also dabbled in wood carving the step toward making pictures from wood using the natural colors of the wood was a logical step. It all started simple, a pair of dolphins jumping side by side. At the time I did not know about blue pine so I chose some other colored wood to depict the dolphins. Since making those first dolphins choosing and finding wood has been a challenge. I love bright flashy colors in my work, but the palette is limited by the wood available to me. I love to depict flowers in their true colors, but most of the ones I have made are in the color of the woods I have. Usually, I wind up picking a base color and then finding wood colors that are shades darker or lighter to work around the subject. Since most woods are brown, or some shade of brown, my flowers are brown. To get true colors, I have experimented with food colors to stain the wood. At first, this produced the exact colors I wanted for a striking piece. Over time the food coloring fades and the pieces lose their beauty.

Three Roses One Red, Two White
Three Red Roses

Internet searches have led me to companies that sell wood in various colors from around the world. I have purchased boards from them in various colors and grains. I tried using a red colored wood for some roses but was disappointed with the outcome. The red is so deep it looks more like black. Another set of roses is from aspen, but it didn’t look right, and so, I wound up staining them to be a bright white, The white stain was so heavy it completely blocked out the wood grain and the roses looked crummy. I will try roses one more time, but in a wood called yellow-heart. It should be better.

My very next project is a Bald Eagle in flight. I searched my entire stock of boards to find the correct match for the dark brown of the eagle. I had only very small pieces of dark-walnut that was the right color, but none were large enough the cover even five percent of what I need. I shopped at four local sources without luck. Finally, I found a source in Arizona that had dark walnut. When I learned what the cost would be I almost decided to scrap the project in favor of a simpler subject that I had colors for. The current cost for dark walnut is $11.99 per board foot. That doesn’t sound too bad, but the board was only available in six foot increments, and had to be sent; shipping more than doubled the cost.

With the cost of wood as high as it is, I may opt to change gears into a less costly medium. Writing for instance costs much less, but when I add in the cost of the internet, a domain name, and storage space the cost per word can be expensive. Simple pencil drawings will most likely become my next medium. I can use a number three pencil, on simple paper, or an expensive sketch pad, and I will need an eraser. Pencil sketching will lack the smell of fresh sawed wood, copious piles of wood-dust, wood-chips, and a bunch of noisy tools. It will also lack a necessary space, the size of a living room, hidden from view where I can escape to spend time with my tools.

One Response

  1. Try analine dye. Alcohol based. Your work is beautiful.

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