Using an artform known as “marquetry”, Rob Milam creates beautiful paintings with wood veneer.
Marquetry is defined as the composition of an image using natural wood veneer, cut into pieces and glued on a substrate, sort of like a puzzle. Every one of Rob Milam’s marquetry paintings start with a photograph. He uses Photoshop to create a black-and-white image showing the dark and light values and uses anywhere from four to sixteen different wood veneers to recreate it.
Every species of wood has a distinctive grain pattern and colors range from creamy white (holy and English sycamore), to dark brown (Brazilian rosewood) and even black (bog oak). Though he usually uses only naturally colored wood, Rob Milam sometimes makes use of artificially colored blue and green veneer, for replicating the eye’s iris.
The pieces of wood veneer are cut into pieces by the artist himself, using chisels, knives and saws.