Howdy folks. Welcome to Indiana Folk Art by Greg Goul.
As a child, I was always drawn to creating things and loved getting my hands on anything I could put color on. Mostly it was pencils, markers, and paint on paper — and boastfully thinking the outcome was professional. Show me any picture in the encyclopedia, and I could draw that photo just as well … not really. They looked like kids drawings for sure. But I was proud of them.
Growing up on Rural Route 2 in Frankfort, IN, also provided many opportunities to play outside and build things. We had a woods in the backyard and often times my brothers and friends would build wooden fishing poles, guns, slingshots, and plenty of haphazardly built shanty forts and shacks to hang out in. But my first real working with wood was using my Grandfather’s lathe in the garage. I had more fun just using the different tools and making a block of wood small, than actually creating anything useful. Hopefully in the future I’ll have a nice workspace to include that lathe in my arsenal of tools.
Moving on through my school years, I took classes here and there, but ultimately decided I couldn’t make a living as a fine artist. So, I became a graphic artist and have been for more than a decade now. The downside of becoming a graphic artist was that I stopped creating any artwork for myself. And there’s always those changes. There’s a right and a wrong.
In the Summer of 2009, at the suggestion of my girlfriend and now wife, Sarah — I took a “Carving Little Birds” class at the Blue Stone Folk School in Noblesville, IN, with Geoff Davis of 50 Little Birds. This was exactly what I needed. I finally start creating art again. For myself. I was the client. I could start and stop as I please. There was no right or wrong. I was creating folk art! And continue to do so today.
I use mostly hand tools. My small arsenal consists of the original knife from the class, files, chisels, sandpaper, and a coping saw. Occasionally, I do use a Foredom power tool to dig through tough knots and for light shaping. For sharping, I use an old stone and a Porter Cable 30 and 60 grit power grinder. For painting, I typically use acrylic, but I have experimented with milk paints. And for finish work, I use a variety of different stains, sealers, and waxes.
Part of creating art is learning from others. Many of the posts on this site will be about books, videos, and links to other folks artwork and music that provide me with inspiration to develop my next piece. Hopefully you get something out of it too.
Much of the work that I create now derives from a rough sketch. When I started in 2009, I would simply start whittling. No sketch. Not even a clue as to what I was carving. Sometimes that worked, and other times … not so much. Most of the sketching that I do now is more to connect with nature, than to provide detailed measurements for my next carving. After all, I’m not trying to create artwork that looks realistic. Just simply capturing a moment or idea with paper, pens, pencils, and watercolors. Give it a try. You’ll see your surroundings differently!
I’m still learning on each piece. Please feel free to send me an email, or leave a comment to show that you like the post. I hope you enjoy the site and share it with friends.