Modeling Career vs. Woodwork Career

The final painting that David Kassan did of me can be seen in his Facebook post.  This class ended on Easter and I didn’t get to take pictures of everyone’s paintings.  Several left the day before, probably to be with loved ones for Easter.  A few others left during breaks and by the end of the 5 day session it seemed all were eager to get home and putting all of their stuff away so making the rounds and getting pictures of their work didn’t happen.  This “modeling gig” has been quite an addition to our Scottsdale Adventure.  With David Kassan I used the same pose in the morning for his demonstrations, then a slightly different pose in the afternoons for the workshop participants.  Twenty minutes on and five minutes off over the course of eight days did a number on my lower back which has seen lots of stress and injuries during 6+ decades of living and construction work!  I’m convinced that my contribution to the art world will be easier on me making the carved and gilded frames surrounding an artist’s painting rather then being the subject of that painting.

The day after Easter (4:00am) Diane, Ali, Brandy, and I took off to Las Vegas to do some needed maintenance around the house, doctors appointments, and shop time to build 5 of my wet panel carriers that I had orders for.  It was really nice to get back to the shop and make some sawdust once again.  Had visits with a couple of friends and neighbors and then on Thursday headed back to Scottsdale once again.  I had talked to the school about having an Artist helping Artists sale in their courtyard to sell off my inventory of frames and they agreed to donate the space and time to do that.  We brought back close to 50 frames which I couldn’t have gotten together without Diane’s help.  She took out paintings as needed, decided which ones she could do without (knowing I’ll make new ones), and priced them all.  The sale will be next Thursday – Saturday at the Scottsdale Artists School.

Tulip Carving on Basswood

Tulip Carving on Basswood

Pinterest Picture

Pinterest Picture

Finally, some woodwork and carving to share!  Many months ago there was a really cool carving on a mirror of this tulip.  It wrapped around the frame and so I put it on my Pinterest board for future reference.    Over time this particular pin has been re-pinned over and over so the appeal must be there for others too.  I decided I’d challenge myself and see if I could pull this one off!  It was a challenge for sure but I’m happy with the results and being able to figure it out.  The grain gave me some difficulties but that’s why we do these things isn’t it?


The piece measures 5 1/2″ x 12″ and is carved out of Basswood.  This particular piece seemed to be rather grainy compared to the material I have for picture frames but that’s just made for another learning opportunity!  After scribing lines for the borders and transferring the design the first step was removing the background.  I have a good carving friend who advocates using a router to accomplish that and; in a way, I followed suit — with an old Stanley #271 rather then his corded model.  My plan was to set texture the background after bringing it down to a fairly uniform depth; 5/16″.

Lowering the Background (Old School Method)

Lowering the Background (Old School Method)

This was the stress relief project during the modeling gigs.  I tried spending time each evening to work on it.  The finish is a couple of coats of Liberon wax, when it comes to wood finishing my preference is to keep things natural rather than stained or painted.  You can see in the picture on the right all the graininess of the wood fibers, not sure how to deal with that — any suggestions?

Now that this challenge has been met it’s time for another picture frame carve and gild.  Diane has been invited to be part of a show in Charleston, SC this June.  More details on that as it happens, I know the that the show’s title is She so will feature Diane’s beautiful figurative work.


About woodworksbyjohn

I'm a retired woodshop teacher. I build one of a kind furniture pieces and custom picture frames. You can see some of my currently available work, boxes, carvings through my Etsy store: Contact me about your project -- always up for the challenge of unique work.
This entry was posted in Artist Model, Carving, Scottsdale Adventure and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s