Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ian Norbury's Website Redesign and Blog

I recently became aware that Ian Norbury's website underwent a redesign. This was an opportunity to see some of his more recent carving. If you are not familiar with the talent of Ian Norbury, you should have a look at his site. While looking at Ian's site, I found out that he has a blog at http://inorbury.blogspot.com. On his blog, he provides some great insights into the process of creating his unique carving. Check out post such as this post or this one.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Miniature Pencil Tip Sculptures By Dalton Ghetti

A fellow carver sent me a link to these miniature pencil tip sculptures by Dalton Ghetti. You can see some of additional photos of his work from an exhibition at the Silvermine Guild Arts Center.

Have a look and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ultra High Resolution Images of Masterpieces from the Uffizi Gallery

The folks at http://www.haltadefinizione.com/ have scanned masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci, Caravaggio, Botticelli and others at incredibly high resolutions. You can zoom in to see the finest details of the brush strokes. You can even see any cracks that may have appeared in the paint. This is likely more detail than you would be able to see in person without magnification.

I think we can learn a lot from studying the works of past masters. Have a look and let me know what you think.

Thursday, September 23, 2010



Thank you Hans for asking me to join your blog. My name is Doug Oliver and like Hans, I'm a semi-professional woodcarver and consider myself an artist. I also have owned my own graphic design business (http://www.fossildesign.com/) since 1996. I first studied classical woodcarving under German master carver Ludwig Kieninger from 1997-2006. Since Ludwig's retirement in 2006, I've been carving with Hans and several other carvers every Wednesday evening in East Dallas. Hans does a wonderful job of teaching us. He has his work cut out with me keeping my tools sharp! :)

My website is http://www.texaswoodcarver.com/ and I try to update that site often. From this site you should be able to get a good feel of the type of things I like to carve. I love the classical! I enjoy the Baroque, Rococo, Renaissance and Gothic periods...you could say I like "OLD WORLD". A recent project was completed at the end of August. Along with Travis Bryant (a furniture builder, carver and friend), he built and I carved two mahogany tables for a Catholic Church in Farmers Branch and delivered in 29 days. (yikes) http://www.texaswoodcarver.com/latest.html

I also have a research project I've been working on for several years now. I have been researching a famous Swiss wood carver (Peter Mansbendel) who lived in Austin, Texas from 1911 until his death in 1940. For the last 5 years I have visited multiple Texas cities, homes, businesses and documented his great work and I'm still amazed at the great output any one artist could accomplish in his lifetime. I've built a website (http://www.petermansbendel.com/) to document his life and work and plan to write a book on his life....I will try to blog when I update my sites.

A couple of recent finds of Mansbendel's fine work include the Reed Home in Austin that is being completely restored by Texas Humanties (National Endowment of the Arts) http://www.humanitiestexas.org/ and the wonderful home in McAllen, Texas. http://petermansbendel.com/quinta.asp

Thanks for adding me, and I hope you find my contributions to Hans fine blog helpful and educational.

Thank you,

Welcome New Contributors

In teaching woodcarving, I have the privilege of working with a really great group of people. I have invited these carvers to participate in this blog. I'll allow those who would like to post to introduce themselves. I look forward to hearing their thoughts and about the projects they are working on.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Why Do You Carve? Part 3: The Creative Process

This is a continuation of my "Why Do You Carve?" posts. If you have not read "Part 1: Relaxation" or "Part 2: Fellowship", you can do that now. I'll wait.

For many carvers there is a distinct thrill in creating something new from a piece of wood. This is especially true for those who begin with an image in their mind and follow that idea through to a completed original carving. Even those who follow a pattern created by someone else, experience the excitement of seeing a new creation, made by their own hands, emerge from the wood.

One of my favorite parts of the process is developing and refining an idea through a series of sketches. I also enjoy seeing the piece develop as I go. Sometimes it takes turns that I did not anticipate, but in the end, it is something new and something good.

Do you enjoy the creative process all through your work, or is it a special thrill when the work is completed? What is the most rewarding part of the creative process for you?

(Pictured is the work of Travis Bryant.)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Second St. Ignatius Carving

You may remember that I was carving a statue of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Well, that carving was the first in a series. I have already carved the first copy. Here is a picture of the second carving. This one has some minor variations from the original. What do you think? Do you prefer the first one or this one?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

In Memory of Paul Kern Baker

I would like to write a brief memorial post for wood carver and friend Paul Kern Baker who passed away May 15th 2010.

Paul really enjoyed his time carving. I know that we enjoyed his enthusiasm, generosity, humor and joy of life.

Paul was working energetically on a three foot tall statue of Thomas Jefferson.

Paul was also a talented musician. Here he is entertaining our carving class by playing a guitar that was hand carved by Frank Byrd.

We will miss him. We are all better for having enjoyed the friendship of Paul Kern Baker and I am thankful for a merciful and loving God. Eternal rest grant unto the faithfully departed.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Last Supper Carving by Ludwig Kieninger

Someone recently sent me some photos of a last supper that was carved by Ludwig Kieninger. The carving is 36 1/2" wide by 21" high. Framed, it is 44" wide & 28 1/2 " high. They let me know that this carving is currently for sale. If you are interested, please let me know and I will get you in touch with the current owner.

As some of you know, I studied woodcarving under Ludwig Kieninger for many years. I always enjoy seeing photos of his work. It really brings back memories. If you happen to have any pictures of Ludwig's work, I would love to see them.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Woodcarving hobby become an artistic outlet for Doug Oliver

Fellow wood carver Doug Oliver was feature in an article in The Dallas Morning News on Saturday, May 15, 2010. Have a look and let Doug know what you think.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

St. Ignatius - Lettering and Sealing

The lettering on the book is now burned and some sealer has been applied. On the left side of the book it says in Latin "Constitutiones Societatis Jesu" which in English would be "Constitutions of the Society of Jesus." On the right side is "Ad majorem Dei gloriam" which is the motto of the Society of Jesus (commonly called the Jesuits.) The motto is also in Latin and translates to "For the greater glory of God."

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

St. Ignatius - Progress Photos 360 Degrees

A lot of progress has been made on the St. Ignatius statue. I realized that I have only posted photos from the front so far. So, here are some pictures from different angles. Please let me know if you have any constructive criticism.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Testing Tool Sharpness Before Making That Cut

I was just about to make a fine detail cut with a tool I have not used in a while. I had second thoughts. What if this tool is not perfectly sharp? The cut will be cross grain and a dull tool would tear the wood fibers requiring me to re-carve the entire surrounding area. The point is, be sure you have a scrap piece of wood you can test your tools on first.

It turns out that the tool was sharp, but I'm still glad I checked first. Do you ever test your tools before making a cut?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

St. Ignatius - Progress Photos Number 3

We are at the stage where a lot of work is being done, but it may be difficult to tell from the photos. A good deal has been done forming the back. The base, book and feet have been shaped up.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

St. Ignatius - Refining the Form

Here are a some photos showing the further refining of the major forms of the St. Ignatius carving. I am intentionally leaving extra wood around the extended hand to provide strength while working on the rest of the carving.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Ignatius Initial Rough Out

Here are some progressive photos of the rough out stage of the St. Ignatius carving. This is the very important stage of establishing the major forms and proportions. At this point you should start to recognize what design in the wood. Can you see it?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

New Blog Address

Please note that I have moved the blog to a new address at blog.texaswoodcarving.com. Please check there for future posts. You can also get to the new blog via my website at www.texaswoodcarving.com or www.msdesigns.net. What do you think? Do you like the new address, or did you prefer it where it was? 

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Why Do You Carve, Part 2: Fellowship

A little while ago I posted "Why Do You Carve? Part 1 - Relaxation".  (you remember this, right?)
I think it's time for another reason: Fellowship.  Woodcarvers carve as a way to enjoy the company of other people.  If people have a mental image of woodcarving it is often the old man sitting whittling on his front porch. But that's not really what most carvers are doing.  Initially, we may carve with other people because we need someone else to teach us what to do, which tools to use and how to use them. But carvers continue to carve together because they enjoy each other's company.  In addition to structured classes, many carving clubs get together and work on whatever they please. In either of these cases, you can get feedback, or see a technique you'd like to try.  But often you just enjoy the company.  By far the majority of carvers I have met are friendly and positive in their feedback. They are people you look forward to being around.

When we carve together, we can do something we enjoy, and enjoy each other's company.   Do you carve with other people on a regular basis?  Or do you have a similar social and creative outlet, like a knitting circle or musical group?

Monday, January 18, 2010

St. Ignatius of Loyola Carving Design

I am working on the design for a carving of St. Ignatius of Loyola that will be just under a foot tall. The inspiration for this carving comes from a statue that in turn draws its inspiration from a statue of St. Ignatius that is in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

Some good friends have loaned me additional reference material. Here are the initial sketches I did of the front and side views.