A couple of years ago, I woke up on Christmas morning to find a rock in my stocking. For a few moments, I worried that Santa knew some things that I'd prefer to keep secret, but when I unwrapped it, I discovered that it wasn't a lump of coal after all. My rock was a chunk of soapstone. And so began my journey into stone carving. I’ve done a few carvings since that Christmas, and while carving is still secondary to drawing and painting for me, I have discovered that I thoroughly enjoy the process of working with stone.
Like drawing and painting, carving requires you to think of your subject in three dimensions, but it is different in that it is a subtractive process: you need to decide what you are going to take away rather than what you need to add. I enjoy reversing my thinking this way. I also love the tactile nature of carving. The stone is soft and as its name implies, has a soapy texture that is nice to work with. Soapstone retains heat so it also feels nice and warm in your hands as you work on it.
Here is a loon that I carved as a wedding gift for a couple that loves the outdoors. The loon seemed representative of the lifestyle and places they love.
My loon started out as a 44 pound boulder, but the finished piece is probably 7 or 8 pounds.
At this time of year, some people roll up their sleeves and throw themselves into spring cleaning. They end up with an organized house and a sense of accomplishment. I’m not one of those people. I envy them, and I even make an effort, but then a drawing or a painting calls to me and I start thinking that the dust bunnies can wait. They’ve waited so long that no doubt they are full-sized dust rabbits by this time. But in one of my short-lived burst of spring cleaning, I came across this drawing, tucked away in a closet. I drew it a few years ago but thought I’d share it today because it suits the season—it’s a drawing of a traditional sugar shack, done in pen and ink.
A brush with life
I love the smell of art supplies in the morning! This space is to share info about the materials and techniques that I am trying, as well as some pictures of my work in progress.
Copyright Jennifer Foster