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Janel

Frog/Branch

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When I prepare for a new piece, I sketch a rough idea of placement in the particular piece of wood. For this piece, you can see a two sided suggestion for placement. In reality, there is not as much angularity to the branch as in the drawing. Things change as the wood is worked. I have live tree frogs to refer to, so most drawings of the frogs are rudimentary, though if I have time for a portrait before one moves I will try for a more detailed drawing. I have also included a photo of the removed negative areas. The piece of wood held up alongside the cut wood is similar to the piece being carved from. I liked the two pieces standing on end, one behind the other, and started having some ideas for other pieces, but likely not this time with these pieces. No more hints about that until the seedlings grow.

 

422_3w.jpg

 

422_4w.jpg

 

422_5.jpg

 

To allow the piece to have a sense of greater space, the bottom has been sanded to an angle, to cause the piece to lean rather than stand straight up.

 

Janel

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Hi Janel,

 

Thanks - this helps me quite a bit in visualizing where you started from and how much you can get out of a rather small piece of wood. It must be nice to have tree frogs in your studiio. I have plenty of them, but unfortunately they are in the trees and generally very hard to catch sight of and never when I have my camera with me.

Blessings,

Magnus

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Hi,

 

I do enjoy the company of four tree frogs, and one fat toad. Most are female, though there is one male tree frog who chirrups from time to time when the light or temperature is right. I raise crickets to feed them, and augment with fishing bait grubs now and then, and in the summer, I drag a net and catch the seasonal small insects for other variety. They are truly beautiful as their skins change colors, from silver gray with a faint green glow in places, speckles, or brilliant green. They change from the branch bark color to the leaf color depending where they choose to sit. The male typically is on the leaves and is green, and the oldest female chooses a branch nearest where I sit for carving. She is probably ten years old, and seems to have a cataract developing in one eye. I don't know how long they live, but she is really old. The toad gets many of the crickets so is as round as she can be, and will be a carving subject some day.

 

I like these creatures, and have not yet tired of looking at them and carving them. Their changes and beauty have been a resource of inspiration for a long time. I have some regret that they live in a glass enclosure with a screen top, but I do try to care for their needs while they are my carving companions.

 

As I observe the young frogs grow old, I think about the parallel aging of myself, the people I know, and the people I see when I am out in the world. We are as we are at any one moment, but we are also in our minds the young, smooth, tight skinned youth of early adulthood. That I can remember and feel the youngness, even when on the threshold of being old with a changing physique, opens my mind. It reminds me to have compassion for those who are aging less well than I am, and reminds me to be patient with my teen aged son who has his life ahead yet to live.

 

Other times, when I am wearing my magnifiers for carving and gaze at the frog's eyes very closely, I am lost in their universe of gold particles on black. How can these eyes be so beautiful? How is it possible that almost no one knows the beauty of their eyes?

 

Well, I should return to the carving bench. It is a sunny spring morning, bright with snow on the ground. In a month the frogs may be awake in the wetlands and all will be open and alive.

 

Janel

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Yesterday I addressed details, tested ukibori tools on a scrap of the same boxwood, compressed the ukibori on the piece and have brought the surface to level by careful carving and sanding of the surfaces. Today will be further detail attention, sanding, and perhaps raising the ukibori. Click here for a web page showing the ukibori process from another piece, posted on my web site.

 

Being able to focus only on the frog and the branch has very much simplified and focused the work, and the piece is moving along relatively rapidly, in my way of thinking. That in itself makes this piece an interesting one to work on. Always with more complex compostions there have been leaves, awkward to reach hollow spaces, and complex relationships between the elements to consider and balance.

 

I will try to post images tonight. You would not be able to see much change after yesterday's efforts.

 

Janel

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Janel,

 

What a great idea to show the entire process. Though I am a metal basher, I appreciate greatly the steps required to create a piece in any media. Thanks for sharing this with us.

 

Fred

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I have long wished to be able to watch others at work, a fly on the wall, so to speak, watching unnoticed. One can learn so much by watching. In lieu of a live camera 24 hour feed (not at all possible with the soda straw connection I have for a land line connection), photos here and there will have to do. By the way, I did not get my hands on the piece today, studio guests and then paperwork with a deadline approaching. Sorry, I was optimistic this morning!

 

Janel

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Janel, I like frogs to. I have bunches of them living around my house and at night, during the summer, they climb on the storm door to catch bugs. I posted a couple of photo's a while back of the deer antler carvings I did of frogs. I love your work so keep the photo's coming. Thanks for sharing.

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Hi Janel,

I Love "Twilight Meeting." It turned out beutiful, thank you for sharing the ukibori technique with us its really neat to see the process you use. Also what type of finish did you use it really compliments the peice. The person that purchased that peice sure is fortunate.

Lonnie

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Hi Don, Thank you!

 

Hi Lonnie, Thank you too! The earlier piece, "Twilight Meeting" shown on the web site page, was colored by using artist's oil paint. It is not an impregnated color like a stain might be, but suits the purpose for some of my pieces.

 

Janel

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That little photo group was very educational in the step by step process of creating your frog on a branch. Just that small detail of tilting it slightly at the base creates an interest and stability that is subtle yet definite. Another great piece shaping up. (Also I like reading your observations on the nature around you that inspires you to create). I find as I get older, I get too caught up in the "real" world to disassociate into the creative world like I could do when I was younger and freer. I've been laid up all week with a bout of pneumonia and have had lots of time to think. Amazingly the days still zoom by. I've got a few creative deadlines to meet (knives)and am behind in my work. The job that I work at full time, although understanding still reminds me that I'm needed to get better and come back and wear myself down to exhaustion again... (my interpretation). But enough of that. A part of me just wants to chuck it all aside and meander thru life like a character from a Hermann Hesse novel, I don't have that luxury just yet. In conclusion...I love your pieces and your outlook on life and nature in general. I find it inspiring to say the least.

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Thanks Mike. I hope you get better quickly. I've had pneumonia twice, it was no fun. Get well soon!

 

Janel

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The ukibori is raised, and now I am working on the amber for the eyes. The pace has slowed way down, but 9.25 hours in at the bench today makes a day of progress. Sorry, the lighting was not dramatic enough to show off the bumps very well.

 

422_6.jpg

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Janel,

This is coming along so beautifully! The details show up very well in the photo. The ukibori adds much to the form - it's an amazing technique. Looking forward to seeing the finished piece. Thanks.

Blessings,

Magnus

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Looking very good - I was just reading about this technique in the Masatoshi book - looks tricky. I think this piece has good balance and like the compactness of the frog - the ones we have here (wild/garden) are a bit longer and more 'leggy' !

Cheers

Ed

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Eyes in today, and color consideration tomorrow. While waiting for the glue to cure, I have begun another carving. I like to work on one piece at a time, but this is the sort of circumstance where I do overlap one piece with another, since the final stages require an interval of waiting. Here is the frog with her eyes in:

 

422_7.jpg

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Hi,

 

I do enjoy the company of four tree frogs, and one fat toad. Most are female, though there is one male tree frog who chirrups from time to time when the light or temperature is right. I raise crickets to feed them, and augment with fishing bait grubs now and then, and in the summer, I drag a net and catch the seasonal small insects for other variety. They are truly beautiful as their skins change colors, from silver gray with a faint green glow in places, speckles, or brilliant green. They change from the branch bark color to the leaf color depending where they choose to sit. The male typically is on the leaves and is green, and the oldest female chooses a branch nearest where I sit for carving. She is probably ten years old, and seems to have a cataract developing in one eye. I don't know how long they live, but she is really old. The toad gets many of the crickets so is as round as she can be, and will be a carving subject some day.

 

I like these creatures, and have not yet tired of looking at them and carving them. Their changes and beauty have been a resource of inspiration for a long time. I have some regret that they live in a glass enclosure with a screen top, but I do try to care for their needs while they are my carving companions.

 

As I observe the young frogs grow old, I think about the parallel aging of myself, the people I know, and the people I see when I am out in the world. We are as we are at any one moment, but we are also in our minds the young, smooth, tight skinned youth of early adulthood. That I can remember and feel the youngness, even when on the threshold of being old with a changing physique, opens my mind. It reminds me to have compassion for those who are aging less well than I am, and reminds me to be patient with my teen aged son who has his life ahead yet to live.

 

Other times, when I am wearing my magnifiers for carving and gaze at the frog's eyes very closely, I am lost in their universe of gold particles on black. How can these eyes be so beautiful? How is it possible that almost no one knows the beauty of their eyes?

 

Well, I should return to the carving bench. It is a sunny spring morning, bright with snow on the ground. In a month the frogs may be awake in the wetlands and all will be open and alive.

 

Janel

 

Hello Janel,

 

I fell in love with your carvings and was inspired by them to try miniatures (they look great in my mind). The reality is I don't have the manual dexterity nor the strength in my fingers to achieve that level of perfection. I think your writing is also excellent.

 

Just do the best you can everyday.

 

Ron

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Thank you Ron for your kind and appreciative words. I admire you for trying and persevering, in spite of your disability. I am wondering if there are some kinds of tools that might be useful to you that you have not tried yet. We could make a topic in the Tools and Technical area, and brainstorm as a group about tools that might work better than others for the small places and crevices, as well as the other carving steps, while considering the nature of how you can hold and control the tools. (I am having some ideas...)

 

There are excellent works in netsuke that are simply carved, with limited detail and great form. I am thinking about the later works by Masatoshi. If you are able to find the book: The Art of Netsuke Carving - as told to Raymond Bushell by the netsukeshi Masatoshi, you might see what I mean.

 

OH!!! you live in Los Angeles! Do you ever have a chance to go to the LA County Museum of Art? The Bushell netsuke collection is housed in a special exhibition space dedicated only to showing portions of this collection. The netsuke on display are rotated in and out of storage over the years, so anyone would need to make repeated visits over the years to see them all. I went there only once, and wish that I could see it many more times!

 

I like your determination and statement, to just do the best you can every day. That is a great attitude to get through each day with.

 

Janel

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Hi Janel:

 

If someday I return to do my Art conferences related to miniature be sure you will be one of the bests examples I tell to everyone...it´s a shame that persons like you aren´t close to many of us, like in the corner of the block. You really study your animal subjects Janel, you tried all the time to understand many things in the piece including the spiritual meaning and I don´t have words to tell you that I felt always love when I enjoy your pieces.

 

Thanks for existing to enlight some of us...

 

Sincerely yours,...ADRIÁN

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Yesterday I addressed details, tested ukibori tools on a scrap of the same boxwood, compressed the ukibori on the piece and have brought the surface to level by careful carving and sanding of the surfaces. Today will be further detail attention, sanding, and perhaps raising the ukibori. Click here for a web page showing the ukibori process from another piece, posted on my web site.

 

Being able to focus only on the frog and the branch has very much simplified and focused the work, and the piece is moving along relatively rapidly, in my way of thinking. That in itself makes this piece an interesting one to work on. Always with more complex compostions there have been leaves, awkward to reach hollow spaces, and complex relationships between the elements to consider and balance.

 

I will try to post images tonight. You would not be able to see much change after yesterday's efforts.

 

Janel

 

 

G'day Janel,

mant thanks for the Ukibori tour. A very enjoyable lessen and one for me to try sometime.

 

Terry

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Thank you Adrían!

 

Terry, Ukibori can be a challenge to figure out, but the results when successful add a very different dimension with it's texture. Enjoy figuring it out.

 

Janel

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I know this post has been up for some time now but I am poking my way around the forums and wanted to say WOW on this one. Janel, this captures everything about our little tree frog friends. The expression and body language are just perfect.

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Thank you Heidi. For many years I kept gray tree frogs, spring peepers, and toads in an aquarium, and raised crickets and mealworms for them. The gray tree frogs lived for about 8 years, and the toads perhaps for a shorter time. They were wonderful "companions" that informed the sculptural work with frogs and toads.

 

Janel

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