Smooth

About twenty years ago, I gifted some early works to interested friends and family. I had withdrawn them from use at the shows because my work methods had changed. They weren’t bad, I had moved on and they no longer reflected current work.

I’ve always preferred cherry for my mast hoop portraits. Cherry is durable, has beautiful grain that gives you sky and water, and lends itself well to detailed carving. A principal difference that cropped up as my methods matured was how I carved or didn’t carve water and skies on the portraits.
Early on, I attempted to carve ripple and wave patterns in the water, and similar effects in the sky. Eventually, I decided that I’d let the wood do the work, and avoid the tool marks. That I changed my techniques was a matter of personal evolution. The portraits didn’t sell any better or worse for the change, and none of my clients commented on it. But (let’s run the laugh track here), if in a century a collector of my work was to write a critical article on evolutionary trend in my style, they might wonder at the “early” versus “late” Carreras – you can groan now. It was just that I came to appreciate the smooth over the textured. For those of you who are artists and craftspeople, you can probably pinpoint similar moments when something changed for you.
I am not a super fan of Bob Dylan, but a line from one of his songs has always summed it up for me: ” He not busy being born is busy dying.” Grow, change, keep being born.

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