View Full Version : alphonse mucha panel - wip

doris fiebig
02-07-2010, 11:16 AM
today, i want to show you what i am working at in the moment. it is not a portrait per se, but the main subject is a figure, so i thought you might like to see it.

this panel will be the side decoration of one of my bookshelfs. it will be 6 foot high, and 1 foot wide, and cover the whole side of the shelf... the depth of the wood is 3/4'', meaning the carving is shallower than a coin, relatively speaking. ... the design is heavily based on a drawing of alphonse mucha, which i love very much....

the first two images show an overview how the progress is so far, and a closup into the region i carved the last days.

the last foto shows a clay model for the face. it is 1-1 in size. ... i was not completely satisfied with the model, so, i am reworking it now.

http://woodcarvingblog.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/mucha_panel_16.jpg http://woodcarvingblog.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/mucha_panel_17.jpg http://woodcarvingblog.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/mucha_panel_15.jpg

Steve Vaughan
02-07-2010, 11:42 PM
you've done a great job there! i like it!

Doug Duffield
02-08-2010, 8:33 AM
The facial features of the clay model look realistic. Are they similar in depth to the rest of the carving? The nose and eyes look great or are my eyes tricking me and you are going to carving deeper?

doris fiebig
02-08-2010, 4:47 PM
thank you steve and doug ... yes, the clay face is same depth and size as it would be when carved on wood. i measured it carefully to not exceed the 3/4'' i have available in wood, since i want later copy it, as i feel its difficult to "wing" it, since there is not much wood behind to correct errors... the nose and eyes look so deep, since i really use ALL the depth available, so when i carve this face, there will be areas where the wood is really really thin (about 1mm)... i know this is a little trying the fate, but i feel i want it this way...and afterall its a panle for me, so it need be exciting ...

Doug Duffield
02-08-2010, 5:01 PM
1 mm thickness - well, that's what you and Mark always say ... Carve until there's no wood left ;)!

Looking really great and so natural. Flows great.

doris fiebig
02-08-2010, 5:08 PM
yup... it will be a challenge, but the reward is more depth than to expect in such a panel...or an unwanted hole... lol... thanks doug !

Philip Allin
02-09-2010, 10:05 PM
I can see why you like the designs of Alphonse Mucha for your relief carvings. Excellent! Also, looks like you had a knot to work around in the wood. Phil

doris fiebig
02-11-2010, 3:22 PM
hi phil, yes this pine has knots. they are a little difficult to carve, but as long as i can manage that they not disturb the design, i really like these knots in pine. and, so far, i just carved them by making pretty short cuts, and this worked well.

Thomas Knapp
02-12-2010, 9:29 AM
I love your project. Please post more pictures as your work progresses. I would like to do something like that in marquetry. I live near Cleveland, Ohio some of our old buildings were built in The Art Nouveau style and still have a lot of their ornamentation. It's sad that the new buildings are so pain. I assume that you made a drawing to fit your project dimensions first. Could we see that too? Keep up the good work.

doris fiebig
02-12-2010, 11:33 AM
hello tom, i always enjoy meeting other art nouveau lovers :-) ... yes, i made a drawing in small, and then printed it in enlargement to fit exactely on the wood.. here is an image
if you want see more steps how i came to this point, please visit the corresponding story on my blog here (http://woodcarvingblog.wordpress.com/doris/alphonse-mucha-panel/) . yes, i will show some updates here too...

Jonathan McCullough
02-14-2010, 10:41 AM
Beautiful, beautiful. I love art nouveau, I love Alphonse Mucha, and I love this. I usually hang around the Neanderthal haven, but the title "Alphonse Mucha" caught my eye--"someone knows Alphonse Mucha?" I thought. All I can say is wow, that is fantastic.

There was a discussion on a British forum recently about the direction of woodworkers' design, and several people critiqued several woodworking forms and fads (light and dark wood, stark and modernistic Krenov-style furniture), and thought that after the serial revivals in Shaker, Arts & Crafts, etc, that art nouveau was due for a revival. I'm in accord, but suspect that the reason it hasn't happened already is that carving like yours is an art, not a table saw - hammers and nails - project. And art is hard to come by, very dear indeed.

Please keep us updated on this. I'd love to learn how to do this, what I'd need, and the techinques you use. Roy Underhill had a carver on -- you can still see the episode online -- where she showed how to do acanthus leaves. What a revelation!

doris fiebig
02-15-2010, 10:29 AM
hello jonathan, yes it is the same here, i mean that art nouveau is not so much seen. but i love it since i first saw those beautiful lines and the playfulness...

it certainly is not saw, hammer and nail project, the main point is the carving...and, sometimes i feel a little helpless since the wood has so few depth for me to play with forms. but then, this is the challenge i love too :-)

as i said in my previous post, on my blog will be finally the whole "story". it is not a tutorial, but rather me showing how i approach the project. i will show more here too, and please feel free to ask whatever you wish to know and i will try my best to help and give info .

in the moment, i am working again on the clay model for the face, i was not really happy with the first version, but now its not better...lol...as soon as i get what i want, i can carve it, i am sure, so, the preparation for the face needs more time. and, i believe this is essential, the face needs be right for the whole panel to convince. mucha has drawn so very beautiful women, i want express this, and some more, too... thank you for your reply.

doris fiebig
02-28-2010, 9:04 AM
i was reworking her again and again, but somehow i could not make her like the vision i have... and finally i decided to not rework her, but built completely new. ,,,and i think this was a good idea ... the side views showing that i tried to model the face as deep as possible, remember this is only 18 mm depth… i know her left eye is slightly misplaced, and too big, i will adjust this while carving. working with clay is quite difficult to me,,,,i like her now, what do you think, is she better than the previous version ?
(btw, the main viewing angle will be from front or slightly from left, so the strong distortion seen on the image with view from right will not be so much visible,,,that is the plan anyway...)

http://woodcarvingblog.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/mucha_panel_22.jpg http://woodcarvingblog.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/mucha_panel_23.jpg http://woodcarvingblog.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/mucha_panel_24.jpg

Jonathan McCullough
03-01-2010, 10:17 AM
Yes, much better. May I make a suggestion? If you rounded her jaw a bit on the left where it meets the hairline, and did the same with the cheekbone on the right and the right side of the chin, her features would be a little softer. I only say this because I did a very similar figure in a different medium--painted ceramics--and those were the solutions I came up with for my own approach.

doris fiebig
03-01-2010, 2:48 PM
oh yes, jonathan, you may make a suggestion, it is very appreciated by me indeed... i see your point, and i will try to push the carving in this direction a little. i will no more change the model, as i do love having a model but i really have a hard time with this mushy medium, it moves everywhere, even where i dont want it t move ! so much different from wood or stone... thank you for your sugestion :-)

alex carey
03-01-2010, 3:54 PM
Very cool. Diggin it.

Jonathan McCullough
03-01-2010, 9:36 PM
I'd include a pic but it's kind of off-topic and it's one of his nudes. I'd say, just go for it. That's what makes it art. If the clay isn't your medium, the face that wants to, will come out of the wood on its own.

doris fiebig
03-11-2010, 10:19 AM
hi jonathan,,,when you tell me how mucha named her, or the drawing, i can look the picture, i most porabably have it, as i have a many books about mucha :-)

i descided to have some fun, and carved the flowers on the right side…. on the background one can see that the wood already darkened, as the places where i made cuts are much lighter in color ,,well i hope it evens out when it is finished ...and the second picture, a closeup showing better the soft shapes i tried to achieve, as well as giving idea of the scale for the flowers. kind f tricky to cut pine into so smal detail, but patientce and sharp tools make it possible,,,and listening to what the wood is telling :-)…i really love doing this

http://woodcarvingblog.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/mucha_panel_25.jpg http://woodcarvingblog.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/mucha_panel_26.jpg

doris fiebig
03-19-2010, 9:50 AM
the panel progressed quite a bit, and so it might be time to share again... it not only progressed (i did recarve the folds around her leegs and under her feet to give them more definition and depth, as well as modeled her body and legs somewhat) but i also changed the design to a now pierced relief carving. i did not liked anymore the border in which the figure was so tightly enclosed, so it had to go... the top part will be pierced too, and then i hope the piece will gain the lightness i wanted achieve... so here is how far i am at the moment...

http://woodcarvingblog.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/mucha_panel_27.jpg http://woodcarvingblog.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/mucha_panel_28.jpg

Thomas Knapp
03-19-2010, 1:43 PM
I hope to be able to do work close to that good one day.

doris fiebig
03-19-2010, 5:50 PM
hi thomas, thank you for the compliment. i believe everyone can do so, just start and be a little patient when in the beginning not exactely looks like you wanted, you will be surprised how quickly it goes. and, please,feel free to ask, i love to help whereever i can.

Jonathan McCullough
07-03-2010, 10:40 AM
Hey, any updates to this project? I'm wondering how this turned out.

doris fiebig
07-04-2010, 7:34 AM
hi jonathan, no not much new to show yet,,,, unfortunuately i am too busy with my day job (plus i got sidetracked with modeling portraits in clay). ... thank you for your interest. i wil post update as soon as i return to work on it again (and i am determined to finish it...)

doris fiebig
10-17-2010, 10:57 AM
yes, i made it ! and, i hope you enjoy it same as i do... (more images on my blog (http://woodcarvingblog.wordpress.com/doris/alphonse-mucha-panel/11/) ...)


kevin loftus
10-18-2010, 1:14 PM
:eek::eek::eek: WOW! I was'nt expecting to see this when i logged into
the forum today. I am so glad you showed us the finished carving
Doris. Very, very, very well done, and thank you for posting. :cool::cool::cool:

doris fiebig
10-18-2010, 2:33 PM
hi kevin, wow, thank you ! i was not too sure i can finish this, either, so i am really happy i did :-)

Jonathan McCullough
10-18-2010, 7:00 PM
Wow that's fantastic, it came out splendid. Wonderful work.

doris fiebig
10-19-2010, 1:53 PM
hi jonathan, i am glad you see it, knowing you specially interested in it :-)

Brian Myers
10-19-2010, 7:12 PM
Fantastic , love Mucha and Art Nouveau in general. I need to learn to carve at some point.

doris fiebig
10-20-2010, 2:22 PM
thank you brian ! the best time to start on an idea is just the moment it occurs, so i want encourage you to take up a chisel and start right now ... the first cut is the most difficult, after that you will be hooked and it goes much easier :-) ... and, if you need help, you find lots of info on my blog, and you can ask questions there too, if you like...

Elliott Wesley
10-30-2010, 10:42 PM
hi to all..have a great day ahead
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Jim Underwood
11-01-2010, 4:56 PM

This is just gorgeous! I really like this. Had been thinking about doing this kind of project (Alphonse Mucha) on our CNC Router, and I see it's just as nice as I envisioned it could be. And you did it by hand instead of using a machine, so it's just that much better.

doris fiebig
11-02-2010, 3:09 AM
hi jim,, thank you. yes ist is worth doing it, muchas drawings are wonderful, and you can, as i did too, even just base your own design on muchas and make exactely what you like...