Carved Bear nears completion

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After another couple of good sessions, my wood carving of a bear is almost complete. I am finding it quite similar to painting in respect of knowing when it is finished. Being my first attempt at carving, it is tempting to keep trying to improve the detail but I don’t want to risk overworking it.

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Unlike a painting, I don’t really have the option to replace bits that I inadvertently remove! I am sure that it can be done but it is probably best avoided. I mentioned my errors in not doing enough preparatory work in my earlier posts. As a result of not planning it out in 3-dimensions, I really don’t have enough depth in the sculpture to represent the standing figure accurately. Had I taken more care, I would have been able to give the bear a longer snout and a more arched back.

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The last couple of sessions have involved more knife work than previously. I have gradually cut and chipped out a representation of the claws and feet. This is quite painstaking work as a bit of carelessness could easily remove a nail (from the bear!). I have also had to be quite careful around the ears as it would be easy to keep gouging out wood and come out the other side.

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I have also noticed that the fault in the wood is making it difficult to cut. When you examine it more closely, the fault is inclined to splinter. I don’t think it matters particularly on this test piece and I will be using better quality lime wood for my next attempt. I quite like the gouge marks representing the hair although they do take quite a bit of tidying up. It is impossible to get smooth cuts every time, particularly going across the grain.

So far the feedback has been good so it is an encouraging start. I’m getting more proficient at using the tools, although I do have to keep reminding myself to be a bit more safety conscious. A few splashes of paint never hurt anyone but gouges and knives are a different matter! Hopefully my next post will be the finished bear and I can then reveal my next project!

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