New Work: Red shelf cloud

Really, really need to figure out how to photograph these things well. Regardless, here’s the most recent finished work from my studio, only the second in this series (if it can be called that) of minimalistic cloud forms carved from laminated wood. The first was Thunderhead.

Red shelf cloud square

I really like the way this one turned out, but it’s hard to capture its beauty in photographs. Some of the curves are very subtle and some of the woodgrain very fine.

Red shelf cloud square 2

This shelf cloud is crafted from four pieces of laminated redheart and finished with a satin poly. It’s roughly 16″ in length.


About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at

4 Responses to New Work: Red shelf cloud

  1. Julie says:

    I think a graded sweep would help the background… I feel like it helped my shots look much sharper. (I got mine from Pro Studio Supply – – and there are other colors too, like gray-to-black). My other thought is that your light looks very diffuse; how are your lights set up? Maybe try a direct light source (or two?) to get crisper shadows on those subtle contours?

    • pcNielsen says:

      Your suggestions are good, and are actually the things I aim for (sweep and contrast). Mainly I don’t have a good photo setup at all — and no photo setup since we moved. I’ve had better success in the past, but the problem in recent years is that I haven’t ever found space/lighting that really worked. I wasn’t even using lights in the above photo, though I attempted a backdrop sweep. Just didn’t work.

      Photographing work is one of the most annoying parts of marketing art for me. I’d rather farm it out. I’d like to have all my recent work rephotographed in order for it to look best.

      But I have no money for that kind of thing :/

  2. Julie says:

    Geez, sorry, I completely forgot that I wanted to comment on the piece! It’s neat! You haven’t posted one in quite awhile, so I’m glad they’re still going. (And how are the skies in Nebraska?)

    (And more thoughts… Have you tried shooting it from every angle? The sense of these photos are very different… the first one has a more static sense, like a cloud in the sky, far away over there. The second one is less of an elevational shot, feels like the piece is coming at me. Since they’re clouds, it’s interesting to consider whether the viewer is above or below or alongside the object, and the different effects that may have on how it’s viewed.)

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