Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Old Goat is finished.

I finished him up earlier in the week and have just taken a couple of photographs. The sculpture measures 1 7/8 inches (5cm) high. He's carved in boxwood and then colored. The subject is an old satyr, half blind and crippled - He's just heard a distant call, or caught a scent in the air and is stopped in his tracks with his ear to it, trying to discern. Is it a nymph?

I'm satisfied with this piece as it's the first time I've tried to carve the human figure and I think it didn't come out too bad. More importantly, I'm happy with the overall quality of the carving and the finishing. Lately, I've been thinking about netsuke- both contemporary and antique and have begun to think that many of today's pieces, though showing extreme talent, creativity and care, have become just a bit too precious and rarefied. The directness and vitality of earlier works is becoming lost- it's almost if we're entering a baroque phase with this type of carving. Some have become figurines.
So, keeping that in mind, I wanted to stress the directness of carving with this piece- not sanding and polishing out too many details and facets of the knife cut. This is afterall a carving in wood, with edge tools, and should show it. I've noticed with some of my work lately that the sanding and polishing process dulls the work- both visually and impact-wise. The impression becomes watered down from an earlier phase in the creation, after the carving work has ended and I'm on to sanding and refinement.

Let me know what you think. In the meantime, I'm on to ideas for the next piece from what I learned by this one.

Note: I've updated this post 6/9/09 to show better photographs.


surrounded by carnivores said...

wonderful. very much like the facial expression, the expressive twist of his body and the nice work on the hand clutching the Pan Pipes. Thank you for sharing your progress from beginning to finished piece.

Anonymous said...

Hi Doug,

Nice fellow, will he (and you) be coming to the July Netsuke Convention in NY?

I agree with you about: 'a bit too precious and rarefied' which I translate as 'dainty'. Personally touch and how a piece feels in the hand is more important to me than visual perfection.

Good work!

Doug Sanders said...

Thaks for the compliments. Sorry about the photos- I'll try and get some better ones to replace these a.s.a.p.- just wanted to get something up by the weekend. I'll likely be going to the convention, so you'll have to reveal yourself there, Anonymous. Dainty is a good term too!