Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Gigantic Ladybug!

2009 has been the year that the ladybug has joined my arsenal of woodcarving ideas. With their bright orange wings accented with a look of fantasy with those big black spots, ladybugs have always been my favorite insect. It has always amazed me how something so small could be so strikingly beautiful. So far I've carved two ladybug walking sticks and I imagine that now they will always have a place in my carving.

So now I decided to go "gigantic" with my favorite insect thus pulling out the chainsaw and a nice chunk of yellow pine that I've had in storage since last year at this time. As the picture on the left indicates I first sketched out the general outline of the bug on the log with a felt marker, then
FortalezaImage by Gustavo (lu7frb) via Flickr
began to rough it out with the chainsaw. I removed all the bark from the log last year so that the "real" bugs wouldn't have a chance to find a good nesting site thus destroying my future chainsaw sculpting wood. Over the last year the thin outer crust of wood took on a weathered gray look so I buzzed over it quickly with the chainsaw bar to return that fresh wood look.

After doing all that I could with the chainsaw I cut the log in half leaving the final carving at about 20" tall since that particular size would seem best for sitting her on the porch or in the garden. Keeping the log long did make it easier for sculping but now it was time to bring her inside for the final shaping, sanding, and finishing.
A ladybug standing on a leaf. Photograph taken...Image via Wikipedia

Inside I then took my belt sander and rounded up the wings to a smooth finish then took it to an even smoother sheen with the palm sander. I then lightly ran over the exterior log area with the palm sander to give it just a touch of smoothness. I finished up with a coating of "honey brown" oil stain on the log portion then used full strength acrylics for the orange, black, and white colors of the ladybug. A gloss polyurethane on the bug finished it up.

All in all I'm very satisfied with the final carving and I'm sure that it will soon find a nice friendly home where it will crack a big smile on many a face.

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