….or what to do when the lights go out!

Last month, we had our first snowstorm of the winter.  While I was hoping to get a snow day or two out of it, I had no idea what we were in for.  The first day was rather lackluster as far as snow was concerned, but my company was closed nonetheless.  The next day we got hit hard with 6-12 inches of snow, depending on where you lived.   Contrary to predictions of rain to wash away our 2 days of snow, the following day we got rain that froze thickly onto every surface it touched.  While my part of the country is know for its tall green trees, we are NOT know for snow-clearing equipment nor the ability to handle massive power outages due to hoards of said trees falling under the weight of a heavy (if beautiful) coat of ice.
As the morning of our fourth snow day dawned gray and dim, I realized my clock was not working.  Our power had gone out in the early hours and remained out for the next 4 days.  Now, while I would have LOVED to be home for all that time playing with various projects, I soon came to the realization there wasn’t a lot I could do without power.  Serendipity was on my side, as one thing I had recently found was a carving knife that belonged to my dad.  I have ALWAYS wanted to carve wood but somehow never actually managed to give it a whirl.  Well, this was something I could do without power and I fortuitously had a plaque of pine sitting around that had been used to test my wood burning tools the week before.

I chose a photo from the concept sketches of John Howe (with his permission) of the back door of Bag End.  I have no idea of the proper way to commence a relief carving, so I split the sketch into 4 different depths and started with the deepest section.  It was quite a learning experience discovering how the wood splits and pulls apart.  I fortunately had the grain going the right way, so that helped.  I also own a small pistol-grip Dremel tool that was fully charged and came in handy for some of the detail work. I discovered a wonderful serenity working with the wood.  It feels so good under my fingers.  Because I spend the majority of my creative time on two dimensional work, it was quite exhilarating to cudgel my brain into thinking and “seeing” in three dimensions.  By the time the power came back on, I had finished my little project and was happily plotting a finish for it.  I stained it with some walnut Danish Oil, then added a bit of paste wax to allow for a nice matte luster. 

I was nearly euphoric when I finished the piece.  Not because it is particularly good, but for the creative rush from accomplishing something new.  Learning a new facet of art that I had not experienced before.  I think the desire to gain knowledge and learn and expand my horizons is an intrinsic part of my artistic personality.  I hope it always gives me that much pleasure and that I never stop learning and growing, adding new experiences and achievements to my repertoire.


on 11/02/12
Posted on 02/11 at 06:58 PM
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