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Checotah

With an art show coming up in less than a month, things have been busy around here!  This will be my first indoor art show, and I am really looking forward to it!  It’s called the Banbury Art Crawl, and you can read up on it at banburyartcrawl.org if you’re curious.  It sounds like a fun show.  I attended it once just as a visitor and I was so inspired by the fresh, unique artwork that was on display by many talented artists.  I am so looking forward to being a part of the show!

So aside from working on my drawing of Norman, I’ve also been trying to get more sculptures going.  Here is one of my recent pieces.  Last fall, there was a clearance sale with all sorts of fall-colored items, including wire.  I snatched up some spools of orange wire (it is not copper…just orange colored).  When I bought them, I was thinking of bird legs and beaks, but the more I looked at it, the more I saw a bay colored horse.  So this is my result.

I am pleased to say that even though I was working on my inventory for the art show, this little guy has already sold.  At our family Christmas party, my aunt saw him and couldn’t resist, so she bought him as a Christmas gift to herself.  She promptly named him Checotah.  She and her husband once drove through Checotah, Oklahoma and she decided that if she ever had a horse, she’d call him Checotah.  Thanks, Jurine! 🙂

Checotah

-Made with some 19 gauge dark annealed wire and some 22 gauge paddle wire just for the “bones” of the horse.  Once the piece was secure with heavier wire, I added layers of finer black wire for the legs and muzzle, and the orange wire for the body.  Though the wire looked bright orange on the spool, it looks quite convincing as a bay color on the horse, don’t you think?  The tail is a tiny bit of very fine chain.  The mane is a piece of an old earring.  Those black and silver spear-like pieces on the earring looked like an interesting horse’s mane to me, so I went with it.

-I did not have a chance to measure this piece before it sold, so I’m guessing on the size.  It is approximately 3 inches long x 2 3/4 inches tall x 1 inch wide.  Yes, this guy is pretty tiny.  I wanted him to have the heavy build of a draft horse, so he’s pretty stocky.

I photographed him in a hurry on the day of our Christmas party, so the photos are not the greatest quality.  But here they are, anyway.

Thank you for looking. 🙂

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2016 in All Artwork, Sculpture & Mixed Media

 

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Andalusian

Dear readers, I finally have something new to post here on my blog.  It has been quite a while since I made a post; the Christmas card has taken up a lot of my time.  I will be posting that on Christmas Eve, so stay tuned. 🙂

I love horses, and I always tend to go back to them in my work. This one was slow in coming together, because I was in need of black chain for the mane and tail. It must not be fashionable to wear black jewelry/chain right now, because I had a very hard time finding any. I spent literally an entire day in town going everywhere I could think of from Michael’s Art store to Maurice’s Clothing. I finally did end up finding some very black chain that worked nicely for this horse. I was surprised it was so hard to find chain in black…last time I checked, it was everywhere. It shows how out of the loop I am as far as the fashion world!

I wanted to try and capture some movement and spirit in the horse, so I have her head turned and her ears angled in an inquisitive gesture. I wanted to make her look kind of playful, and hope that comes through in the sculpture.

Andalusian

– This measures 8 1/4 inches tall by 8 inches long by 4 inches wide.

– Made with 17 gauge steel fencing wire, 19 gauge steel wire, and various smaller gauge wires for attaching embellishments, adding details, and etc. The mane and tail are made of black metal chain, and the embellishments within are leaves from an art store and the small, spear-like pieces attached here and there are from an antique pair of earrings I bought at a garage sale. The ears are “wings” that came in a pack of various pieces I bought.

I hope you like this.  Thank you for looking!

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2015 in All Artwork, Sculpture & Mixed Media

 

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Ham

What is it about pigs?  They are lowly, they are odd, they are a bit homely, a bit hapless, yet you can’t help but find them charming.  This is Ham.  His head tilts to one side, as if he might have balance issues, yet he seems happy just the same.  I think he’s just hoping to get a little attention.

Ham

– Measures 5 inches long x 2 1/2 inches tall x 2 1/2 inches wide.

– Made with 16 gauge dark annealed wire, 19 gauge dark annealed wire, and fine black wire for details and setting the embellishments.  The ears are antique brass pieces, and the nose is also an antique metal piece taken from a necklace.

Thank you for looking.

Oh, and good news!  I just stocked up on all sorts of new goodies, doodads, found items, and junk jewelry at Junk Bonanza yesterday, so I have all kinds of new inspiration for upcoming sculptures.  Stay tuned, and don’t forget that I can make a sculpture for you if you have something in mind that you don’t see on my Sculptures for Sale page!  Sculptures make great, one-of-a-kind gifts!

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2015 in All Artwork, Sculpture & Mixed Media

 

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Anniversary Present

Dear readers,

It has been a long time since my last post, but a number of unexpected things have happened that have kept me both from blogging and from artwork.  However, I am back again, and I am here to share with you something that I’ve kept a secret since I first thought up the idea back around March of this year.  My parents celebrated their 35th anniversary on September 13th.  Since it was a milestone year for them, I wanted to make some kind of artwork for them that would be meaningful.  I came across several beautiful poems that likened parents to the roots of a tree, the strong, steady foundation that holds everything together.  I liked that idea very much.  It inspired me to start working on a poem of my own, personalized to mean as much to my mom and dad as possible.  I had to work in complete, delicious, secrecy.  They are so involved in what I create and what I’m up to in my studio, so I had to go to great effort to keep this a secret.

It all started when I went to Junk Bonanza last April.  I went with my mom, but I had a secret agenda.  I wanted to find something with a 35 on it, or even letters to spell Happy Anniversary.  I knew it would be tricky to buy it when she was right there with me, but I was determined.

I came across a booth that had many small metal numbered tags, post office tags, cattle tags, you name it.  Under the guise of searching for “junk supplies for my sculptures”, I began to look quite thoroughly.  Luckily for me, my mom said she was going to move on to the next booth while I looked.  And then I found it!  A metal tag with a 35 on it.  And not only that, but above the 35 were the two letters H and W.  How perfect could it be?  H for Husband, W for Wife, and a 35.  Awesome!  Just so my mom wouldn’t wonder what I had bought, I purchased a few other little items so she wouldn’t single out that one tag.

And here it is.

024 CR 1

Early in the summer, as soon as the leaves were full on the trees, I went for camera walks, getting pictures of our trees to go with some sort of tree poem.  The tree that has the most sentimentality for our family is the enormous maple tree that is in our front yard, towering over our house.  It’s been a part of our lives for a long time.  My dad remembers stringing up a tire swing in it as a kid, and my brothers and I used to play in a tire swing from that very tree, and now, my parents’ grandkids have two tire swings hanging in that tree, too.  It’s a trusty old tree, complete with wooden board “steps” nailed onto it from my childhood.

As you can imagine, I decided that this was the tree to draw.  As I photographed it, I included the house, which was build in 1926.  My brothers and I grew up in it, and my dad and his brothers and sisters, and even his dad and his brother.  It’s got so much history and so many memories for us all.  I couldn’t draw that tree without this beloved house nestled beneath it, so my plans were made.

I started the drawing on June 17th.

The drawing is clayboard, just the second clayboard I’ve done.  It’s a big drawing, as I wanted it to be dramatic for Mom and Dad’s wall.  Keeping it very secret, I worked on it only when they were nowhere near, and I had to cleverly hide the drawing, the supplies, and all other evidence that I was working on anything in my studio.

Meanwhile, I spent several nights up late in bed, writing and rewriting the poem I wanted to give to them with the drawing.  I found some amazing tips on how to paint letters neatly on a wooden board, and I got started on that.  I mixed a couple of ideas I found online for sign-painting to get the result I wanted.  I painted the board black (just an old board that was in the basement…I sanded it fairly smooth first), and then printed the poem on regular printer paper in the font I liked.  I then took a white charcoal pencil and colored the backs of the papers generously.  After checking, re-checking, re-checking, and re-checking the alignment of the papers on the board (it took 4 sheets of paper to get the lettering big enough to fill the board), I taped them in place.  I then took a ball point pen and wrote over the words firmly, causing the white charcoal to transfer onto the wood.  When I lifted the papers, I was so surprised by how neat it looked!  I then took a cream-colored acrylic paint, diluted it quite a bit, and painted the letters using mostly a 00 paint brush.  It took quite some time, but I was really pleased with the result!

Ah, but the wooden sign didn’t take long at all compared to the drawing.  A clayboard is essentially an un-inked scratchboard…it is simply white clay on a Masonite board.  You add the ink (or paint or whatever else you’d like) yourself as you wish.  I used Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens for this project, using mostly brush tip for the application of inks.  Anything on the board that is not white had to be inked over first.  I used a variety of grays and blacks to get the desired values in this drawing.

The house part of the drawing was by far the most challenging.  I definitely do not have a mathematical brain, and all of these angles and corners and straight lines were certainly out of my comfort zone.  I spent many hours (days, even) with a straight edge and a pen, drawing and re-drawing all of those squares and lines and shapes over and over until I finally felt things were in place.  I then got to work building values, which was done using shades of gray pens.  The beauty of clayboard is that you can draw in the traditional sense, but you can push it further by treating it like a scratchboard.  You can take your X-Acto knives, your blades, your fiberglass brushes, and you can scratch away the ink.  It’s a beautiful thing! 🙂

I am happy to say that my parents were both completely unaware I was working on anything.  I never thought I could keep this a secret all summer long.  I was so excited to give this to them, and they seemed pretty excited to get it, too. 🙂

Anniversary Present

– The clayboard drawing measures 16 x 20 inches in size.  It is made with a set of Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens (the Manga set of 8), some other very fine pens for detail and texture, a couple of different X-Acto knives, a fiberglass brush, some other scratchboard tools, and steel wool to remove smudges or marks in larger areas.

– The wooden sign is made with just an old board that was in the basement (note the hole in the upper left corner), sanded, and painted with black acrylic paint.  White charcoal, printer paper, and tape for the lettering, and cream-colored acrylic paint for the poem.  I sealed the board with a satin varnish.

Ok, at long last, here are the pictures.  Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to photograph something this large without getting some shadow and lighting issues.  The photos do not do this drawing justice, but they were about the best I could do.  I did not take one single progress photo – I couldn’t afford any evidence to be found! 😉

The drawing.

001 EDIT - CR

A few close-ups.

016 - CR 017 - CR 020 - CR 022 - CR 023 - CR

The poem.  (Click to view larger.)

024 CR

And the finished, framed, and displayed artwork as it looks on the wall.

024 CR 2

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad.  I love you both so much!

 
 

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Draft Horse WIP 10

Here’s another update.  It’s been interesting trying to get the textures of the leather right.  This certainly has been a learning journey!  The leather needs to be toned down a bit in value, and things are a little messy at the moment.  The fiberglass brush makes big, streaky marks, so additional corrections and details need to come yet.  But it’s coming along.  I’ve got to finish this before my show in August.  I thought I’d have plenty of time.  Funny how a deadline can sneak up! 😉

Draft Horse WIP 10 - CR

Thanks for looking!

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2015 in All Artwork, Scratchboard

 

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Draft Horse WIP 9

Well, I can honestly say I’ve been keeping right at this drawing, but the update doesn’t look much different than my last one. 🙂  I estimate that between the last post and this one, I’ve done around 12 hours of work, all spent on that complex and intricate harness.  I am amazed by the detail in horse harnesses and tack.  The loops, straps, buckles, and rings are so beautiful, and so numerous!  It’s amazing to think of the people that invented such a thing!

Anyway, here’s my update.  The metal parts of the harness will really gleam in the end.  I’m purposely leaving them a little unfinished so that the ink “dust” won’t stain them due to my hand rubbing those areas.  Scratchboard is actually rather dusty.  If you cut deeply into the clay, you’ll see dust and bits of clay and ink sift down as you work.

Thank you for looking. 🙂

Draft Horse WIP 9 CR

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2015 in All Artwork, Sculpture & Mixed Media

 

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Draft Horse WIP 7

It’s time for another update on my draft horse.  I’m working on the neck now, which at first felt like a big, boring mass of one value, but as I have worked on it, the range of values seems quite varied.  It’s been fun.  Next thing comes all of the elaborate harnessing on the neck and chest.  Even though most of the horse is in place, there is still much to do in this drawing.

Draft Horse WIP 7 - CR

Thanks for looking. 🙂

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2015 in All Artwork, Scratchboard

 

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