I took a 3”x 3” simple line drawing of ‘Lady with Apples in her Apron’ by Ernst Barlach and made a 6” model out of Plasticine.  The finished piece was scaled up to 9”

    Don’t limit yourself.  I needed a back view to show how the foot turned in a kneeling position. A friend modeled for me while I took photographs of her foot from various angles. Getting small details right will bring your carving to life. Don’t limit yourself by lack of drawing skills.

    Decide on a carving style.  A drawing or photograph may contain a lot of detail which can be left out of the carving. A clay model will help decide on a chosen carving style, level of detail and show potential problem areas before carving.

    I chose to carve simple, uncluttered lines with emphasis on the hands. The drawing was used only as a guideline. The sleeves of the dress were shortened, the arms made more muscular and the size of the hands exaggerated to draw attention to the apples in the apron. I wanted the carving style to show an older lady with a rural background.

    The clay model will be used again to portray a young girl curtsying with her apron full of flowers. By making a basic model and limiting the detail it can be used for more than one carving project.

Painting.  The Apple Lady was sealed with oil wood conditioner. Areas were high-lighted with oil paints. I chose oil because I thought this piece needed deeper, richer color than the soft watercolors I usually work with. I would use watercolor on a carving of a young girl curtsying to create a softer  effect.

Finish.  Wax polish.




German sculptor 1870 - 1938

Barlach focused on hands and faces of the people in his sculptures, reducing other parts of the figures to a minimum. He drew principally on the life of people in small German towns for his imagery. His approach to the material recalls the simplicity and strength of expression found in Romanesque and Gothic sculpture of northern Europe. His works depict man’s loneliness, fear and suffering. This pessimism was often emphasized by the gesture of the hands and the visionary gaze of the eyes.

For more about Ernst Barlach:

to view Ernst Barlach sculpture do a Google search, type in  ‘Ernst Barlach’

Go to Ernst Barlach Online

Look in Museums and Public Art Galleries

Click on Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Gardens

     Simple line drawing

   Plasticine model showing central carving line




Back      Note: The foot is turned for a kneeling position.








Copyright 2017 by Computer Consultants of America