Carving the Relief Wood Spirit

Painting Wood Grain for Basswood

Dry Brush and Rouging the Wood Spirit Face – Page 3

By L. S. Irish

Introduction and Carving – Page 1
Wood Graining with Acrylics and Oil Stain – Page 2

Click the image for a close-up view.You can add color to a work that has already been stained and set with polyurethane sealer by roughing oil colors. Thin layers of oil paint can be rubbed over the stained area using several coats to develop the color intensity.Dry brushing with acrylics is a great technique for highlighting deeply textured areas as hair. Drag a lightly loaded brush across the grain and the color will only grab the high areas of the carving. 


Dry Brush and Roughing

When your oil staining has dried well apply several light coats of spray polyurethane sealer to the entire work. Let each coat dry well before applying the next. Follow the directions on the spray can.

For the face coloring place a small amount of raw sienna oil paint of a palette. Add just a drop or two of linseed oil until the raw sienna is thin but not running. Wrap a clean lint free cloth around your finger and pat the cloth into the raw sienna-linseed oil mix. On a paper towel pat most of the color off the cloth. Using a circular motion rub the cloth over the skin area of your carving. A very fine coating of raw sienna will adhere to the work. You can apply several coats of color this way. Two or three coatings will create a nice medium skin color.

Mix a small amount of cadmium yellow medium and cadmium red oil paints to create an orange tone. Working exactly as the skin area, pick some color up on a finger wrapped cloth, blot, then apply this color to the cheek areas and tip of the nose. One coat will probably be enough but add a second if you want a stronger blush.

Rubbing thin layers of oil paint over a stained work is called Rouging. This is a great technique to use for color build up because the color sits on top of the stain not under it, keeping the color work bright. If you need more than a few layers of color add a layer of polyurethane spray between coats.

The hair has been Dry Brushed with acrylic paints. Place a small amount of titanium white on your palette. Moisten a small soft shader brush with water then blot the brush on a paper towel. Pick up just a small amount of white on your brush tip. On a clean area of the palette work that white into the brush by pulling it back and forth across the palette several times. Now pull the brush across the hair area of your carving. You are working against, crosswise, to the carved texture grain. As you pull the brush a very small amount of white will be left on the high ridges of the texture but no white will reach the deep brown crevices. Apply one light coat of dry brushed white to all of the hair sections.

Pick a few sections of hair that you want brighter than the rest. Dry brush a second coat of white to just these areas. I chose the mustache, eye brows, temple hair, and his bangs. Add a third coat to just a few places and along the edges of the hair clumps. My third coats when on the eye brows, bangs, temple hair, and on the edges of his mustache.

Of note here, I carved out the pupil of the eyes using a round gouge. At this stage that area should be very darkly colored from the oil staining steps. On the round areas of the eye apply one thin coat of titanium white. Add just a small amount of burnt umber to the titanium white to create a medium brown tone. Load a soft square shader brush with this mix then blot most of the color from the brush on a paper towel. Use this lightly loaded brush to pull a shadow on the round area of the eye under the upper eye lid. This shades the eye giving it a more natural look than just plain white eyes.

Allow the acrylic dry brushing to dry well. Give your work a final coating of polyurethane spray.


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