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Mark Strom

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About Mark Strom

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  1. Thank you Janel for the positive reinforcement. I have always tried to push my skills and range of work but there seems to be a sense of urgency these days. Events in recent years have changed my approach everything concerning my work. To say I have thrown off a great deal of limitations is an understatement. I realized that most of my career has been spent more on the self promotion instead of the self expression. Of course the monetary demands of having a family played into that. The focus now is totally on self expression, taking what I know I am good at and pushing it in all dire
  2. I have used wax as a finish on raw wood although not often. My reason for this is due to the fact that I do not sand to the degree that you do. The secret to a good finish with wax on raw wood is the surface prep. Wood sanded above 300 grit would finish nicely with wax. Although the carnuba in the wax is what hardens the finish it is by no means a true finish in terms we usually think of. For the work that you are doing Janel I would stick to the tried and true and if anything use the waxes as an addition to your ability to enhance. I apply wax over lacquer, shellac, varnish, danish o
  3. As requested. I was lucky enough to inherit some supplies from a restoration class that was discontinued at the local college. The class had been taught by a fellow from England that had gone through the traditional apprentice program in restoration and had also taught in London. He ended up in Asheville doing work in the historic Biltmore Estate. Needless to say he is a wealth of information on materials and techniques and I often call him for advice and take little mini classes from him at his home. One of his students taught me this. I use several different waxes which include Johns
  4. Janel, I agree about the character of the wood. This piece does have some really wonderful protrusions and points that could not have been better placed if planned. I carve a lot of oak leaves and frequently run into the problem with the points and the undercutting. Sometimes I feel like it is an unfirtunate compromise I have to make to achieve a balance. Of course basswood is not the strongest wood and at some point I will order some linden wood to see what can be done in that material. Bark carving is such a fascinating experience to me. I often try to make the animal secondary to
  5. Don't know how I missed it but am glad that I found it. What a fantastic carving. I have a large skull collection with some duplicates and your peice is definitely an inspiration....it is just beautiful. Thanks for sharing! Mark
  6. Oh the patience you must have! It is truly amazing work and to be able to hold it and work it while being so small, I am afraid my fingers would be like clubs trying to work something so small. I understand your hesistance with the foredom, a small mistep and your work would be ruined. There is also the issue as you say of the sheen of the finish. The Briwax is nice to work with, especially with the colors available. I have used a number of different restoration waxes that are soft and you can always color them by adding artist oils. Waxes are highly underrated. Looking forward to
  7. I have been watching the progression of this carving with great interest. It is obvious the effort you are putting into the composition. Everything flows and the details are amazing, especially the caps on the acorns. Very meticolous work and attention to every detail. I know from my experience carving bark and trees that it is not just random carving that there truly is a rythmn and flow to these details. Is there a particular type of bark or tree you are working from or is this a free form? I like the bare wood protruding from the bark although I admit that the many round protrusions
  8. I have looked at this piece several times now. I love everything about it. The frog posture is so typical and due to the smoothness of the finish is almost abstract against the tree. The eyes also fascinate me and draw you in. The branch is just wonderful and I bet was an absolute joy to work on. The details and textures are something to get lost in. There are just so many subtle elements from top to bottom. Really wonderful and a wonder to look at. Great work Janel and thanks for posting it. Mark
  9. Thanks for the support. I am and have been working hard on this new direction, trying to create a style that is new, fresh and totally my own. It has taken a great deal of experimentation and thought to find my way with this work. It is definitely new and exciting and although I speak of it as work it is also a great deal of fun. Painting carvings was something I had avoided at all costs and was not something I had any training in. I think a lifetime of exposure and appreciation for the processes of all kinds of art has helped me tremendously to find my path. Needless to say, it is some o
  10. I haven't posted anything in I quess a year or so. Here are the last three panels I finished today. They are carved from basswood, the rabbit and barn owl from 8/4 stock and the owl on a branch from 4/4 stock. All three have been painted with a combination of watercolors, acrylics and artist oil paints. I also used modeling paste to sculpt the lichens on the owl branch. These represent a turning point in style and intent on my part. I am using techniques from many different fields of interest that I work in and trying to put them all together in my carving. I am focusing more on panel
  11. I haven't posted in quite awhile and do not visit as much as I used to. Part of this is because the last year or so has been filled with to much drama and trauma in my personal life and the other is the changes that have taken place with the forum. This may step on toes but here is what I have observed and my opinion. The Natasha/Ford debacle really slammed this forum. There was a large group that posted regularly and a small but vocal core group that was heavily involved. The fall out from that affair caused some members to be invited to leave, others left on their own and some bec
  12. I read the above posts with a stunned amazement, walked away and then reread them again. I let some time go by but it just would not go away. I have to say something. I frequent and am a member of 7 or more forums all related to carving. All of these vary from the "feel good" forums to the serious forums of critiques for the confident and brave. This forum covers all skill levels and has always been middle of the road with an encouraging nature. Generally responses are geared not only to the skill level of the poster but to their request for feedback. The response from Niky is the hei
  13. These are actually meant to be sharpened this way. They meant to be used the opposite of a regular gouge. They are for carving convex surfaces. Resharpening them can be done but without graet care you could lose the temper. Stave
  14. I agree with the observations listed. The painting did take some of the mystery out of it. The paint added about as much as it took away. As for the painting...it is a learning curve for me and the one thing I try to be concious of is to not get to "painterly" and do to much. In my defesnse there are some subtlies in the snow that do not show up in the photograph not only due to the size of the file but due to my lack of photographic skills. I am enjoying the new freedom from previous conventions of mine. These days all my focus is on doing what I want and to push my personal envelope
  15. I finished the original in 2010 and personally was very happy with the way it came out and it was well received here on the forum. Of course it went out to the galleries and for some reason was not well received by the galleries. One gallery had it on displasy for less than a month before they requested I pick it up. Well to make a long story short, I decided to rework it with the new technique of finishing with the artist oils and glazes. My thought was it would either be a grand failure or it would be something very new and unique. Here is the before and after. What is your opini
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