Category Archives: Art

CARVING A NICHE – PATRICK DAMIAENS, ORNAMENTAL WOODCARVER

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ABOUT PATRICK

Paddy

When Belgian woodcarver Patrick Damiaens was a child, his parents took him to the castles and museums of Europe where he encountered and began his love-affair with ornate, hand carved furniture.  The intricate centuries old craftwork inspired young Patrick and he took the first steps towards his goal of being able to imitate the old craftsmen of previous generations and to be able to produce unique and breath-taking wood carvings for bespoke furniture in the Liège style that he adores.

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Patrick studied ornamental carving for three years at the prestigious Don Bosco Institute in Liège.  But first the dedicated student undertook six years of instruction in furniture making at the Sint-Jansberg College in Masseik followed by one year of training in woodcarving.

Now Patrick Damiaens’ Liège style woodcarvings are highly sought after ever since he began working for himself in 1992 and he is the only full-time ornamental wood carver and sculptor in Flanders, Belgium.

A dying craft, Patrick may soon be as unique as the exceptional carvings and sculptures he produces.  It is a privilege therefore to have access to the methods and imagery of the outstanding wood carvings of Patrick Damiaens.

INTRODUCTION TO PATRICK’S WORK

When you commission a piece of furniture from Patrick Damiaens, you are guaranteed three things – remarkable work, a unique item in a definitive style and the knowledge that there is no one producing work quite like him.

Although trained in furniture making himself, Patrick has such a dedication to his craft that he works in conjunction with cabinet makers, a furniture restorer and stair maker, in order that he can give his undivided attention to his exquisite wood carving.

Patrick’s work is in the Liège style, where the finest quality wood panels are painstakingly carved in an elaborate and ornate style dating back to the 17th Century.

A Patrick Damiaens original is identifiable by his signature dragonfly, carved into every piece of work.

DESIGN

The first thing to note in Patrick’s process, is that there is no design to pick from the shelf.  All of Patrick’s designs are tailored to each client from scratch.  As a result each piece takes time and patience and this is reflected in his waiting lists, costs and production times.

Technical drawings are produced with meticulous attention to detail.  Dependent on the level of intricacy, these preliminary designs can take up to a month to produce.

Patrick Damiaens

Patrick Damiaens

An initial pattern is made up which can be based on a Patrick Damiaens Liege-style original or an alternative piece selected by the client.

Once the client has examined the preliminary design, any changes are made as necessary and a final draft is produced on tracing paper, ready to be transferred to the piece of furniture in question.

stage1

CREATION

Although almost every aspect of Patrick’s work is carried out painstakingly by hand, the start off process for any piece involves the use of machinery.

The finalised design is transferred onto the item of furniture and then an electric milling machine is used to eliminate a large proportion of the excess wood from the project.

Once this has been done, Patrick removes any rough edges and remaining surplus wood with his own custom scraper.

stage2

Patrick uses his prized collection of Swiss and German chisels to delicately begin the process of carving intricate and exquisite detail into his subject.

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Once the lengthy process is completed to Patrick’s high standards, the piece is handed back to the cabinetmaker to treat the wood and integrate the carved panel into the final item of furniture.

finished

RECOGNITION

As well as producing extraordinary furniture, Patrick teaches his craft and writes a blog detailing his work and accomplishments, as well as inspiring future generations of wood carvers.

In honour of his exceptional craftsmanship, the Belgian Federal Government awarded Patrick with The Golden Badge of Honour – “The Elites of Labour”.

Patrick tells us more about the award and what it means.

“Every year hundreds of Belgians from various industries are given the badge of honour for the “Eliten van de Arbeid” (Elites of Labour), to praise them for their professional efforts and merits. This nomination is awarded by royal decree and is published in the Belgian Bulletin of Acts, Orders and Decrees.

On the one hand, a badge of honour is awarded during an official event, and on the other hand, a certificate is traditionally presented by the mayor of your municipality.

For 25 years now, my activities as a woodcarver have been a constant source of pleasure and satisfaction, and I even consider my work to be a personal quest, wherein my goal consists of bringing quality work to my environment, as an ambassador of sorts, who wishes to introduce the next generations to the complexity of my profession

This passion and attitude towards my profession has not gone by unnoticed by a number of technical committees, experts and jury members of the “Elites of Labour”(Eliten van de Arbeid) from the wood industry.”

Golden Medal of the Elites of Labour.

Golden Medal of the Elites of Labour.

Patrick  also restores pieces, creates unique panels and specialises in heraldry.  Here are some more examples of his incredible work.

Custom made family coat of arms

Custom made family coat of arms

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PD 005 ok   architectural woodcarving

More information about Patrick and details of his work can be found here:

https://www.facebook.com/patrick.damiaens.ornamental.woodcarver

http://www.patrickdamiaens.be/eng/index.html

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ATMOSPHERIC PERSPECTIVE IN TUSCAN MURAL by Jeff Raum

As someone who has created their own murals for clients, I often look for inspiration and guidance from respected peers.  I was delighted therefore that renowned muralist Jeff Raum has agreed to give us a mini-tutorial on ‘Atmospheric Perspective’ despite his hectic schedule.

Mike

Venus and Adonis (detail) 11' diameter ceiling medallion.

Venus and Adonis (detail) 11′ diameter ceiling medallion by Jeff Raum

” When Jeff Raum’s kindergarten teacher wrote a note to his mom saying that he had talent and should be encouraged, he knew that he had found his calling. He won a national poster competition in first grade and three of his paintings were displayed at the Baltimore Museum of Art that same year. In eighth grade, he became the youngest person ever to win the National Plastercraft Competition.

Jeff’s long string of charmed art achievements came to an abrupt end when he was exposed to the college art arena. He was unhappy with how the professors looked down their noses at realism. He formed a professional fraternity, Alpha Gamma Tao and started student meetings to discuss what was needed for a satisfactory commercial design program. Jeff presented his findings to the dean and facility, and in his senior year, the new program was implemented. After he graduated with a B.F.A. in commercial design, the entire art faculty was fired.

Jeff Raum

Jeff Raum

In 1983, Jeff began his career as a medical illustrator for hospitals. He soon tired of creating images of diseased organs and moved to Manhattan to work as a scenic artist for 3-D animated TV commercials, eventually being promoted to art director. When creating art to sell product grew tiring as well, he moved on to Broadway, spending three years as a make-up designer for the productions of I’m Not Rappaport and Into The Woods.

Wanting to leave the frantic energy of New York behind, Jeff moved to Los Angeles. Unable to get into the scenic artists union, he began his own decorative painting business, Jeff Raum Studios. His clients include Gucci, the Las Vegas Hilton, the Luxor, and Macy’s.

In 1998, Jeff began his stencil line, Jeff Raum Stencils, after the overwhelming response of SALI members to an article in the Artistic Stenciler. Jan Dressler became familiar with Jeff’s work and recommended him to appear on “The Christopher Lowell Show” and Jeff went on to appear in eight episodes.

Jeff was a part-time instructor of Interior Design at Moorpark College for nine years. His work has been published in Better Homes and Gardens and Traditional Home magazines as well as an Italian book on stenciling. Jeff is featured in the book Mural Painting Secrets for Success by Gary Lord.”

How to create atmospheric perspective in a Tuscan Mural.

This demo is showing only the middle ground of the finished piece and as I paint, I always keep in mind where this is in relation to the viewer. I start at the top of the mural and work my way down for a couple of reasons –  a) Keeps me from dripping on finished work and b) allows me to slowly change my palette as I go. In atmospheric perspective, objects are cooler, have less contrast, and the intensity, or chroma of the color is less as the objects recede. I try to keep my work sedate in the back and middle grounds so that I can “pull out all the stops” in the foreground and make it pop.

Step 1.  Layout and Background

Step 1

Step 1

The background in atmospheric perspective should be very blue (or cool), so the distant hills are done in grey-blues and blue-greens. Very simply and quickly. To push them back more, I put a wash of my sky color over them. I pencil in the layout of the buildings next.

Step 2.  Laying in the village

Step 2

I lay in my village, always keeping in mind the light source and keeping the colors cool and low key. Just to get rid of all the white, I base in the ground, making the distant ground cooler and lighter.

Step 3. Adding detail

  

Step 3

Step 3

 I Add detail to my buildings, but keeping it simple to imply detail. I’m painting for humans, not hawks! Then I add detail to the ground and lay out my rows of grape vines by painting the shadows they cast first.

Step 4 Enhancing detail

Step 4

Step 4

Now I block in the foliage, using a darker, but still cool, color around the village to make the light buildings pop a bit and help focus the viewer’s attention on the focal point. Using “ratty” brushes, I scumble in the distant trees and as I move forward darken the green. The foreground trees are based-in a darker, warmer shade of green

Step 5. Highlighting

Step 5

Step 5

Now I go in and add highlights to all the foliage, keeping it concentrated on the left side of the forms. In the foreground, I add a lighter highlight to create more contrast and make them pop more than the background trees. In creating the rows of grapevines, I have to keep in mind my perspective. They get larger as the come nearer and as the vine go up the hill, the view of them changes from looking down on them to seeing them from the side. Last thing is to add some occasional posts to support the vines.

Completed Mural

Completed Mural

Below are a few more examples of Jeff’s extraordinary work and more information can be found at:

http://www.jeffraumart.com/index.html

Italian Arch

Italian Arch

Tuscany Dining

Tuscany Dining

Statue with Fruit

Statue with Fruit