Finally I got back to this project today. I have another commission waiting in the wings but this one has the earlier deadline. The Naiad carving was all consuming for a while, and I am quite proud of it now, but it took precedence for all of 6 weeks. Now I can get back to Zelda.
First I needed to fix the frame. Knowing the nature of the person for whom this is intended I know he would not like an irregular frame. We discussed the stone arch idea, but ultimately I decided that the simpler design would be better.
I loved the way these curls of wood came off my new gouge. This is a Ramelson and my older gouges are mostly Swiss Tools. I've decided my favorite is whichever one is sharpest. The gouges fresh from professional sharpening are much sharper than the ones I did. Duh.
After I got the background and blankie the way I wanted it I worked to get the finish as good as possible. I don't want to have to sand any more than I have to- did enough of that on the Naiad. Having a strongly slanting light like this helps to show up any irregularities, and a razor-sharp #3 gouge makes the job a breeze- time consuming, but not difficult.
This is how far I got in about 5 hours today. The paws gave me fits, and the ears took some fine undercutting, but I'm satisfied with how everything turned out. Once I get the texturing on there it will look much better- and then the burning- and finally a touch of paint. Don't worry about that harsh line on Zelda's left shoulder- that will be broken up in the next steps and make her 'ruff'.
I'd sure like to see some comments here sos I know someone is following this blog.