Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A New Drawer - a trade with artist Mike Davis

A while back, artist Mike Davis, a friend of my wife's, asked if I ever do trades. I rarely do, but my wife loves his work so much I thought it would be a good idea, and also an interesting exercise to interpret another artist style - and for them to interpret mine. By the way, I really like his work now too! I posted a link to his website at the bottom of this post.....

Mike was interested in a Drawer which I haven't made since 2003. I like making the drawers because they involve a lot of relief carving.

After checking out Mike's site, I began to get inspired. I loved this image of a sandhill crane and I decided to put it on top of the drawer.

Here is a closer screenshot of the crane, I love the colors.

I first began by laminating 4 layers of pine together. Since I wanted the head to come forward and not just be a flat 2 dimensional feature, I had to build the wood up.

After rough cutting it on the bandsaw, I was ready for carving.

 In the middle of carving - lots of wood has been removed.

The head after carving and sanding. The beak will open via a string run around the back.

I took many design cues from Mike's wonderful surreal imagery. All the elements on the drawer appear in Mike's work. Here I'm halfway through the bas-relief carving. I secured the drawer fronts together by adding a plate on the back, held in place with screws.

After many hours of carving, and some sanding, the drawer is ready for paint.

I'm in the middle of painting here. Never before had I made a drawer with so much detail, but I wanted to emulate the richness of Mike's paintings.

The hand carved from pine. I like bas-relief because you get to play with creating a 3D look using a 2D plane.

The hand, painted and aged - but before it's sanded and waxed.

The finished hand, (it looks different because of the lighting).

The drawer all finished and ready to be shipped. The piece is 16" x 27" x 5". I will post a movie of how it works soon.

A closer view of the front. I added small brass pulls to the front of each drawer.

You can see here how the painting wraps around the top and bottom of each drawer - I'm a detail person if you didn't know by now.

Detail of the snake, a poisonous one by the way.

A fiery zeppelin - a sometimes recurring theme in Mike's work.

A closer view of the sandhill crane's head. The beak opens when the bottom drawer is pulled open.

Since I had a set of glass eyes sitting around the studio and I decided to add them for a bit of realism.

The back of the head, showing how I ran the string - that operates the beak - up and around. The string runs through a series of very small screw eyes. Basically when the bottom drawer is pulled open, it releases the tension on the string and the beak drops down because of gravity.

Our wonderful Mike Davis painting! Oil on board, 27" x 33" including his custom made frame. We love it! I especially love the tornado in the background. Paula told Mike I have a fascination with tornados, which I do. (And no, the frame is not warped, it was the camera doing that.)

Detail of painting with a cryptic message - can you figure it out?

A closer  view, so much detail.

More detail - the actual painting looks 100 times better in person. Check out Mike's amazing work at http://mikedavisfineart.com/

More soon.................

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Short Interview with Maria and Michael Start

Maria and Michael are the go to people for automata restoration. They were also key consultants for the recent movie "Hugo".
This short video explains a lot about the history of automata and suggest the reason for the resurgence of modern automata. It also shows many great pieces.
 See it here.