Showing posts from 2018

Romans 12:1 Plaque

This was a commission for a plaque featuring a verse from the letter of Paul to the Romans (Romans 12:1).
It started with a design laid out on the computer using the Inkscape application.

This design file was then used to engrave the image on a piece of poplar with a laser engraver.

Then the wood was cut to size and the border carved.

I sealed the carving with four coats of Enduro-Var water based urethane.

After that, I used a Shaker Maple stain to accent the lettering and corner designs.

I hope you enjoyed this summary of what went into making this piece. Please let me know if you have any questions about the process.

Public Domain Images From The Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago has scanned and put over 50,000 high resolution images of the art in their collection online. To make it even better, they have released these images under a license that puts them in the public domain.

There is a search page for the collection that also include filters for such things as artist, date range, medium, etc.

It is great that they provided images with this level of detail. Here are just a few examples:

The Death of the Virgin
Flight from Pompeii
You can see the cross hatch patterns in Abraham Francen, Apothecary by Rembrandt van Rijn
You can even see the individual dot of paint in Georges Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte — 1884.

Coat of Arms for The Highlands School

Here is a photo of the coat of arms for the Highlands School in Irving, Texas. I carved this from poplar and painted it with acrylic and gilt paint. It now hangs over the entrance to one of the school wings. The shield is approximately 3 feet tall. "Semper Altius" on the scroll is latin for "Always Higher".

St. Michael the Archangel

Pictured is a wood carving of St. Michael the Archangel that I made. It is carved it in relief from basswood and mounted in an oval frame. The design is based on traditional iconography and the description of the angel Michael in the book of Revelation.
"And there was a great battle in heaven, Michael and his angels fought with the dragon, and the dragon fought and his angels: And they prevailed not, neither was their place found any more in heaven. And that great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, who seduceth the whole world; and he was cast unto the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying: Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: because the accuser of our brethren is cast forth, who accused them before our God day and night." (Revelation 12:7-10)

Quartz Article: Drawing Is The Best Way To Learn

I read an article titled "Drawing Is the Best Way to Learn, Even If You’re No Leonardo Da Vinci." Design historian D.B. Dowd makes the claim that “We have misfiled the significance of drawing because we see it as a professional skill instead of a personal capacity.”

People are so often afraid to draw because they feel that the end result will not meet some artistic standard. Most drawing is not intended to end up framed. It does not need to be intimidating. Some drawing is simply for communication. Some drawing is, as Dowd asserts, for learning.

Taking the time to look at something and trying to draw it allows you to understand it better. Even attempting to draw something from your imagination causes you to reflect more deeply. Spending time to think, reflect, and learn makes drawing well worth the while, even if you are not "creating art."

Please read the article and let me know what you think. Thank you!

Anniversary Cross

Above is a wedding anniversary cross that I recently completed. It is carved from poplar and finished with a little stain to accent the details.

I was asked to make a cross similar to a wedding cross I made. Below is a photo of that wedding cross.

 Here is a picture of this piece once the carving was done and the sanding is in progress.

The couple's names along with their wedding date are inscribed on the back using my detail master wood burner. Here we only see the front for privacy. Then the piece is finished with a natural finish and the details are shaded with a light stain.

Wedding Cross

This wedding cross is carved from mahogany and is approximately 10 inches tall.

Wedding at Cana Cross

This wedding gift cross is carved from poplar and is approximately 10 inches tall. The composition is inspired by the story of the wedding at Cana from the book of John 2:1-11.

In the center we have interlocked rings over clasped hands. On the left, are wheat and grapes. On the right are bread and wine. At the top we have Jesus being told by his mother Mary that the wine has run out. On the bottom, we have one of the servants and the chief steward marveling at the wine from the stone water jars.


This piece is carved from basswood, stained for color and mounted on a tree round.  It is approximately 20 inches tall.

Tree of Life

This piece is carved from basswood and stained for color. It is approximately 6 inches tall.

Tom and the River's Daughter

I titled this piece "Tom and the River's Daughter." It is inspired by Tom Bombadil, Goldberry, and Old Man Willow from J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings novels. It is carved from cottonwood bark and is approximately 14 inches tall.

Stylized Nativity Scene

A nativity scene with stylized lines. The standing figures are approximately 8 inches tall and carved from basswood.

St. Ignatius

St. Ignatius of Loyola inspired by a statue in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Approximately 10 inches tall. This is one of a series of St. Ignatius statues. More posts from the blog about these pieces can be found here.

Here is a photo of the statue of St. Ignatius of Loyola in St. Peter's Basilica.

Running Horses

A pair of running wild horses carved from mahogany. The piece is approximately 12 inches tall.


A large rosary designed to be used by a school class. The cross is approximately 8 inches tall made from walnut with a carved basswood figure. The medallion is carved from basswood. The beads are custom made from walnut for this piece.

Close up of the medallion.
Close up of the crucifix.

St. Francis

St. Francis of Assisi holding a dove in a nest of roses. The piece is carved from basswood, mounted on a mahogany base, and is approximately 20 inches tall.

Praying Hands

Basswood relief carving inspired by Albrecht Dürer's study for an Apostle figure of the "Heller" altar. The piece is approximately 9 inches tall.

Polar Bear

Deep relief of a polar bear defending his dinner. Approximately 16 inches tall and carved from basswood.

Madonna and Child

Madonna and Child carved from basswood. Approximately 16 inches tall.

Nativity Set

A three piece nativity set carved from basswood. The tallest piece is approximately 5 inches tall.

Infant of Prague

A couple of carvings based after the famous Infant of Prague. They are both made from basswood, painted with acrylic and gilt paint, and approximately 18 inches tall. The one above has a walnut base. 

Rose Box Decoration

A rose decoration carved from basswood adorning a tea box.

Mother with Child

Basswood carving of a young woman and child based on the Madonnina painting created by Roberto Ferruzzi (1854–1934). This piece is approximately 6 inches tall.


Small madonna statue carved from basswood. Approx. 4 inches tall.


Portrait carving of a pair of Pomeranian dogs.  The piece is approximately 10 inches tall, carved from basswood, finished with acrylic paints and stain, and mounted on a mahogany base.

Our Lady of Guadalupe

This carving of Our Lady of Guadalupe is carved in relief from basswood, painted, and mounted on a back board with gilt trim. It is approximately 20 inches tall. It is based on the original image from the tilma of Juan Diego that is displayed in the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City.

Image from the tilma of Juan Diego.

Holy Spirit

Small relief carving of the Holy Spirit represented as a dove carve in basswood. The piece is approximately 3 inches in diameter.

Holy Family

Infant Jesus with Mary and Joseph carved from cherry. The carving is approximately 14 inches tall.


Crucifix carved from basswood with stains for color. Approx. 14 inches tall.

Girl with Cat

A girl offering her cat a sniff of the flower she picked. Carved from basswood and approximately 10 inches tall.