Wood Carving: “The Great Blue Heron”

A long time ago I made a living as a wood carver. Then my tools were stolen.   I was more interested in painting so I retired from wood carving and continued with painting. A little more than 10 years ago I borrowed some carving tools and carved the door for the Angry Trout Café in Grand Marais, Minnesota(above). Because of the restaurant’s prominent, beautiful location and fine, delicious food I received a lot of potential commissions, but I turned them down. Besides not specializing in wood carving anymore I had acquired carpal tunnel syndrome and then other wrist related problems, which made me give it up. However, I got a call from Pennsylvania with a commission and decided to give it a try again. The client wanted me to do a replica of the Angry Trout door but applied to a cabinet door about 32 x 32″.

The panel was made out of 1.5 x 8″ local birch timbers. The stain is fine oil paints diluted with turpentine with Watkins oil finish.

The following photos and narrative are a description of the work in progress and finished.

The steps include:

  1. original sketch showing the basic composition
  2. making the panel and sketching the composition on the panel
  3. carving out the negative spaces
  4. carving the details
  5. applying the patina

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3 Responses to Wood Carving: “The Great Blue Heron”

  1. Kathryn Colestock says:

    Breathtakingly beautiful, Joe. I thank you for letting us see the entire process. Your gifts are many and varied.

  2. Treg Axtell says:

    Joel, the Lord has blessed you with incredible talent. It was a pleasure to follow the progress over the past few months. Beautiful!

  3. Pastor Kris Garey says:

    how good to see the journey that creativity makes….praise to God for the gift of art

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