This little dog is from a sketch I made of a netsuke at The British Museum in London (Four views of Sitting Dog with Paw Raised). This week I transferred the sketch to woodblock to make a carving using Kento registration.
I transfer one of the views onto a new woodblock. I sit with my carving tool and begin cutting into the wood. I start by carving the outline with the knife (Hangitō) and then continue inside the ears and paws and round the tail. There are fewer lines in this sketch so I will need to cut away more wood for this block. I use the small round gouge tool (Komasuki) to clear the larger areas inside the dog. The V tool (Sankakutō) to carve fine lines in the paws. I use the bigger Komasuki to clear the outside and edges finish off with the small flat chisel (Kentōnomi, also used for Kento registration) to smooth the background area.
Retail Therapy & Woodcarving Totem Poles
I take a break and pop out to the Beatroot Cafe for a piece of cake. On my way back I make detour into Bloom & Curll second hand bookshop where I happen to bump into illustrator and wood carver, Dan Bendel. He is currently running a workshop with Avon Cub Scouts who are in the process of designing and carving a totem pole to be put in the Centenary Wood near Bristol. Dan also makes ink drawings influenced by comic books and animation. Here's a link to his humorous study "My Children are Musicians".
I head back to the studio with cake in hand to finish carving the dog.
Dogs on the Green & Rainbows
I clean up the block, leave the woodblock to dry and head into the city centre. My dog radar is heightened and I am more aware of the many different species walking the streets of Bristol. I make my way to College Green for a vigil to commemorate those who died in the shootings in Orlando last week. People are gathered together showing support for peace and unity. Police are wearing rainbow stripes on their shoulders. The new Mayor makes a heart warming speech. The Sing Out Bristol choir sing in beautiful harmonies as balloons drift across the sky. An over zealous Border Collie is standing on its hind legs putting its paws up on the nearest available human. A white Bichon Frise and a Chihuahua are snuggled in the arms of burly men. A red setter bounds across the green. All these dogs gathered on this colourful green, ignite conversations between strangers, friends and lovers. I can't help but be in awe of their beautiful nature. They shower us with their joyful spirits.