Q: I’m wondering at what point in your career you could look at a picture and visually picture it in wood? My question may sound unusual, but I consider myself a beginner after 7 years (it’s more than a hobby, but not a full time job) and yet this weekend I find myself looking less at the picture, and more at my next stroke with the gouge. Just curious on your thoughts.
A: That’s an excellent question. I think of it more of an evolution than an AHA! moment. For me the key was understanding that I was doing a carving (drawing, painting) and not a duplication of nature. When my subject was a leaf, for example, the result of my effort was a carving, not a duplicate leaf in wood. The object from nature was the beginning point, not the end point. I was then free to interpret, exaggerate, stylize, add, omit–do anything I wanted to as an artist. My concentration became the medium itself, and the process–what I could do with the material–rather than slavishly trying to duplicate something in front of me. I used the objects in nature as a means to arrange forms, play with textures, mess around with depths, in other words play around. It’s important to throw the critic out of the room–just mess around with the materials and have fun.Q
Not a real tree, not real leaves, not a real bird, just an arrangement of forms in, to me, an interesting pattern of shapes, layers and textures borrowed from (BUT NOT A SLAVE TO) those found in nature.