Texture the background area
To add to the roughness of the pattern theme I have chosen to stain the carving with walnut oil based wood stain. Apply one liberal coat to the entire piece, then immediately wipe the stain from the work. This will remove much of the staining from the high areas of your carving while leaving the deep areas and background dark.
If you wish to remove even more stain from the high areas, dampen a rag with turpentine, wrap it over your finger then wipe along the areas to be lightened.
Once the piece has dried for several hours I lightly sanded (yes … I said sanded) over the ridges of the flag on his shoulder, the stars in the flag, the top side of the dust mask, the brim of his hat, and the cuff on his sleeve. The stain soaks deeply into the wood allowing for this light sanding to emphasize these areas.
Let your piece dry thoroughly and seal with two coats of Danish Oil Finish.