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With distinctive down-home features, peculiarities of figure, and deliberately exaggerated faces, carvings by Phil and Vicki Bishop are designed to evoke smiles and keep us from taking life too seriously. In the Woodcarving Illustrated Spring 2012 (Issue 58), the pair share their story and inspirations.
Although Phil and Vicki, a popular husband and wife carving duo, are award-winning carvers who spend their days working together, each pursues his or her own distinctive artistic direction and unique style. Phil favors country and western themes, while Vicki’s carvings include monsters, animals, Santas, and pirates. But no matter the theme, each carving tells its own funny story in caricature.
The Bishops emphasize that painting is an important part of finishing their caricature carvings. Over the years they have developed a highly effective method of painting their carvings.
“We find that painting the carvings with a wash enhances the grain of the wood. The painting gives the cowboys, in particular, a worn and haggard look that complements the carvings,” Phil said.
“To us, a caricature carving without paint is like a chicken without feathers,” Vicki added.
Quick Tips for Painting Caricature Carvings
You do not have to be an artist to paint your caricature carving. When we paint in class, we mix the paint and let the students do the painting no matter what their level of expertise. Here are some of the techniques that work best for us:
• Wash your carving and paint while the carving is still wet to keep from raising the wood’s the grain.
• Thin your paint to the point where it is more like colored water than thinned paint.
• Paint with three values: light, medium and dark. The medium value is the paint applied to the carving. The light value is the paint that remains on the carving after you take off as much as possible with a wet rag. The dark value is the shading done using a darker version of the medium value.
• Always allow the wood grain to show through the paint.
• Paint the carving carefully because watered-down paint can bleed into areas that you don’t want it to be.
• Remember the worn and haggard works well for the cowboys and hobos , but does not work as well for the ladies, animals, and Santas etc.
• Mix a small amount of burnt sienna oil paint to boiled linseed oil and apply a light coat to finish off the carving. This brings the carving to life.
Source: Woodcarving Illustrated