Carved and Painted Loon

This carving was an attempt for me to try my hand at a common woodcarving subject: the Great Northern Diver or Common Loon. I don’t normally paint my carvings, as I prefer the wood to show, but sometimes I’ll make an exception. You see, the way I figure it, if I’m going to go through the trouble of carving something in wood, why bother painting it? To me, a painted carving suddenly becomes in competition with the cheap, plastic or resin jobs that you can get at the nearest big box department store. Who can tell if it’s wood or mass-produced resin? But if I let the wood show through, well then, it’s pretty hard to compete with that – the skill of the carver is on display.

Obviously, to paint a carving well takes great skill. I’m not belittling those great carvers who carve birds with every possible detail, right down to wood burning the feathers, and then paint them with iridescent colours. Those carvings look like they could up and fly away at a moment’s notice. But I’m just not that into painting – I’m a wood carver by nature. However, every now and then, something catches my fancy and I just have to give it a whirl.

The picture below is of a Great Northern Diver or Common Loon, carved as a smoothie, with just a touch of detail carved into it. And then I painted it. The part that makes me happiest is that you can actually see the wood grain under the paint. You can’t see through the paint (although that idea did run through my mind), but the grain is raised enough to be seen in the paint.

Common Loon

About the carving:

It’s carved in pine, approximately 12 inches long by 7 inches tall. It’s painted with acrylics, top-coated with clear acrylic. This is in a private collection and not for sale.

Please give me your feedback : do you prefer painted or natural wood carvings?

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3 thoughts on “Carved and Painted Loon

  1. As an Island girl with a logger faller, I love the beauty of wood and hate to see it covered up. I don’t mind colour if it’s a stain that lets the beauty of the wood shine through, then the colour can enhance it even more. If it’s painted, I find myself tapping the object to see if it’s real or cast resin.

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