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Original art by Barbara Drake. This piece was painted free-hand with a Wacom Tablet and Paint Shop Pro.
The Oaxaca wood carvings from Mexico have become an international craze among collectors of folk art, and the artists are recognized names in the world market. In a great variety of subjects and sizes, the painted wood figures are carved from copal wood using the natural shape to inspire the sculptural form. If representing snakes or animals with tails, for instance, the tail takes the winding form of the tree branch. Copal wood is easy to carve while green. An uncomplicated piece such as an armadillo 10 inches long, takes about three days to carve. After drying in the sun for another three days it becomes light weight and hard. A sealer is applied to protect it from insects. Men do the carving, and the women paint, everybody working up to 15 hour days. The prosperity of many of the artisans is an amazing turnaround in villages where 15 years ago many were wondering how to make a living.
September 1st, 2012
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