Monday, December 23, 2013

another bottle topper carved

Well I didn't think I was going to have time but the last two days I had a window of time and got another bottle topper carved. These are Mark Akers rough-outs so some of the grunt work was already done. Got
 these for a craft show I was going to do but family business came up and family comes first. I haven't painted this yet and probably won't till after the first of the year but no hurry. Hope you enjoy and have a very

Merry Christmas

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas card from the woodbee carver

Received this from Don Mertz and wanted to share with everyone else. Beautiful carving and design, done in true woodbee carver style. The card tells the story of the first Christmas. Thanks to Don for letting me share this and for the card itself.

Have yourself
Merry little Christmas

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Change in plans, no show

Well there has been a change in plans and I won't be doing the craft show this weekend, I have two things I need to carve and after that I won't touch my knives until after the first of the year. I don't imagine that I will post anything else either since it is time to focus on Christmas and my family. I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and has time to be with friends and family during this time. I won't wish you happy new year since I don't plan on giving the new year much thought. For your Christmas gift I will share from the movie "The Bishops Wife", fun movie and gives you something to take to heart at the end of the film. God Bless and keep you.

  The Bishop's Wife - Christmas Sermon - Meaning of Christmas

Tonight I want to tell you the story of an empty stocking. 

Once upon a midnight clear, there was a child's cry, a blazing star hung over a stable, and wise men came with birthday gifts. We haven't forgotten that night down the centuries.
 We celebrate it with stars on Christmas trees, with the sound of bells, and with gifts. 

But especially with gifts. You give me a book, I give you a tie. Aunt Martha has always wanted an orange squeezer and Uncle Henry can do with a new pipe. For we forget nobody, adult or child. All the stockings are filled, all that is, except one. And we have even forgotten to hang it up. The stocking for the child born in a manger. It’s his birthday we're celebrating. Don't let us ever forget that. 

Let us ask ourselves what He would wish for most. And then, let each put in his share, loving kindness, warm hearts, and a stretched out hand of tolerance. All the shinning gifts that make peace on earth.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Here I go again

Yes here I go again. I in my wisdom or lack of am going to do one more craft show before the year ends. With everything going on right now not sure how many new carvings I will get done. I am going to try and carve a bottle top pilot before the show. This one is about 5 minutes away so it will be close and I will have a table near a new friend who makes wooden toys. House to House Woodcrafts is the name of the business, really nice stuff from really nice people. I will try and get a few things carved up for the show while I decorate the house (inside and out), try and get some Christmas shopping done and maybe a load of laundry if there is time. Yep the holiday season is upon us once again.

Remember as I need to do this year more than ever is that it is Christmas. Yes it will get heck-tick since the space between Christmas and Thanksgiving seems to be smaller. Yet more importantly, it is Christmas. Of all the Holidays this is one of the two most important ones to celebrate and rejoice. After all if it wasn't for the other, this would simply be just another child being born, but it's not.

Thanks to Charles Schultz and Linus we and Charlie Brown know what Christmas is all about, let us always remember this and never be afraid to share it.

Merry Christmas  

Sunday, November 17, 2013

church bazaar, not really

Well the bazaar is over and it wasn't bizarre at all. Actually it was an enjoyable time. The folks who run the bazaar were wonderful and the young men and woman who were there to help were very polite and worked very hard. Good job to all of them. During the event I met some nice people, had a chance to get to know some friendly vendors and sold an ornament or two. This was also a great chance for me to get feedback on my carvings from strangers who had no investment with me or my work. I have posted pictures of a few of the carvings that sold, three Santa pilots which sold to three different individuals, and also a bottle topper that I carved. It was nice to sell the pilots, these were my designs and not a pattern from another carver. I thought this was a win for the home team, unlike my Cornhuskers but that is another topic for another day. All in all this was wonderful experience for my first church bazaar. With the holidays quickly approaching I don't know if I will try and do any other shows but have already placed this one on my calendar for next year.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The number for today is 2

Two more carvings completed and two days left till the church bazaar. Yes, I have finished carving two more larger ornaments for the church bazaar this Saturday. I am extremely happy with both of these for different reasons but come Saturday it won't matter what I think it will now be in the hands of the people at the bazaar. I haven't gone over board with my decorations for my table but I think it will look nice. I don't want people to be so focused on the decorations that they miss the fact that there are carvings on the table. I think it will be a simple but pleasing display.
Yes your prayers are welcome and appreciated, if you pray, please pray that the carvings are well received and that my carvings and my actions at the bazaar are pleasing to God, no matter what the outcome. I believe it is by His hand that I have any abilities to carve in the first place. You don't have to wait till Saturday His office is open today.

On the illustration side, I may have some small cards for sell but not sure on that yet. I may but the main focus is on my carvings. This is just one more step in chasing the dream..........

Carpe diem carving

Sunday, November 10, 2013

wood spirit style ornament

The other day I carved an ornament that has a wood spirit look about him. I had gotten this idea that the hat could resemble a tree, Christmas that is and it just kind of blossomed from there. Now I am thinking that if the painting portion of this comes out o.k. that this may be the ornament given at the show. Take a look and see what you think, I will paint the beard like a snow flake and will paint the tree with snow on it and after that will consider whether it would look good with ornaments or not. If I thought I could pull it off I would consider painting an elf ornament on the tree but not sure that is a realistic idea so will put that on the back burner for now.

Carpe diem carving

Friday, November 8, 2013

larger ornaments ready for show

Well here they are, this is what I have for the church bazaar on the 16th, that is this is what I have so far in large ornaments. These vary in length any where from 5 1/2" to 8" in length. I do have one other that I am in the middle of carving and want to carve one more like the one with the candle but as of now these are the ones for sale come the 16th of November. I have one other but it will be donated for the raffle. It's the elf with a more realistic face, my younger boy picked this as the one we should donate. I don't know how others have done it in the past but I think I should pick one of my better carvings not one that is just o.k., and picking of one was a hard choice for me so I let my family make the final choice. You hate to think that you will pay the fee for the show donate one of the nicer ornaments and then sale nothing but we will let the chips fall where they may. Luckily I am a fan of my work so there aren't many that I would be unwilling to bring home if that be the case.

Carpe diem carving

Monday, November 4, 2013

carving doodle redone pt 2

Well I have now applied paint and finish to the carving doodle design and am fairly happy with him, mostly the candle portion. One thing I have played with lately is the way I am handling the painting process. Some of my carvings will only have color on the caps and beards others will get some color added to the face and a few will even get some color added to the eyes. The eyes are a focus for me lately in the way that I carve and paint them.In the past I would simply paint white and then paint some black for the outline some blue for the middle and a touch of white for the sparkle effect. I have been experimenting with cutting out a circle and have also begun cutting an outline around the circle. When I have done this and painted a watered down blue it gives a nice effect that I will continue to experiment with. I think next I will paint the eyes a watered down brown and see how this plays out. Bottom line, try everything once and then maybe once more to see if it works for your particular style. This is my goal, to learn from skilled craftsmen and then begin to go outside the box and create my own characters and my own style.

Carpe diem carving 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

carving doodle redone

Well yesterday I decided to carve from one of my carving doodles. I liked the concept enough to carve him into a large more detailed piece and really like the results.

The one thing I did with this one that I hardly ever do is use sand paper on my carving. Normally I won't use sandpaper because it leaves debris behind that can damage the blade of my carving tools. If I am sanding I will usually go to mesh sandpaper, this leaves no debris behind and doesn't make half the mess, it really works great. The whole reason for sanding was to give soft edges to the wax that is flowing down the cap. I have the wire mesh but there was a piece of sandpaper left over from one of my boys projects from earlier in the week so I  got lazy and just used it. Maybe I was just being frugal, that sounds better doesn't it. All kidding aside if you do use sandpaper make sure if you have more carving to do you brush off the whole carving so as to not damage your tools from the left over debris.

So here are the two carvings  together, the carving doodle painted and the newly larger carving before color is applied. I liked this one enough that I will carve another changing a few minor things, I don't like having any two carvings looking the same, of course I have never tried to carve a replica and not sure I could pull it off but that is a discussion for another day.

Carpe diem carving

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

carving doodles

Well I have a few more carved and have painted some color on a few, I originally didn't plan on adding color but after adding paint to one of my larger elf carvings I just started playing with color on the doodles. I will dip them and they will be ready for the church bizarre in November. Just felt like sharing an image of them, gotta go pick
up the boys from school.

Carpe diem carving

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

and then there were 10

Well since my last post in regard to carving I have gotten a few more carved for the church bizarre in November. These two I really like for different reasons, the first I like because it was a concept that my younger son thought up and the second because I tried a new technique for carving the beard.

Tonight I will stop carving and focus on painting a few that are ready so that I can get them to be dipped in a sealant. I like to dip multiple carvings in one session whenever possible. Since I only have two painted at this point, I need to get the brushes out and get busy. I have to say even when using simple color and leaving a greater portion of the carving ah la naturale' the color has great impact on the carvings. I will mostly paint the beards and add color to the cap for the majority of my carvings. One or two I may add a hint of color to the cheeks.

I know a lot of the old school carvers use the linseed oil and then a wax treatment but with linseed being combustible and me working out of our one car garage attached to our house I don't utilize this technique at this time. I will look through my carving magazines to find the treatment that I currently use, for a carver on a budget this for now works just fine and gives the protection to the carvings which is the main purpose.

Monday, October 21, 2013

I get what I need

I listened to this album yesterday, beautiful songs from a powerful voice. It made me want to share this today. 

Sometimes, many times we forget these simply truths. If we can remember this we may remember to look at others and stop staring in the mirror at ourselves. I guarantee today someone is going through much more than I and they are much more in need of prayer. Will I be the one to go to God on their behalf? 

Sung by Collin Raye on his album "His Love Remains"

I knew all the answers 
The way my life should go 
And when I used to say my prayers 
I would tell God so 
It seemed He wasn't listening 
I thought He didn't care 
But lookin' back 
It's plain to see 
He was always there 

'Cause I prayed for strength 
And I got pain that made me strong 
I prayed for courage 
And got fear to overcome 
When I prayed for faith 
My empty heart brought me to my knees 
I don't always get what I want 
I get what I need 

I'm not sayin' that it's easy 
Or that it doesn't hurt 
When nothing seems to go my way 
Nothing seems to work 
These days I'm getting better 
At goin' with the flow 
Accepting that sometimes the answer 
To a prayer is no 

'Cause I prayed for strength 
And I got pain that made me strong 
I prayed for courage 
And got fear to overcome 
When I prayed for faith 
My empty heart brought me to my knees 
I don't always get what I want 
I get what I need 

Every time I've had a door slammed in my face 
In time a better one was opened in it's place 

I prayed for strength 
And I got pain that made me strong 
I prayed for courage 
And got fear to overcome 
When I prayed for faith 
My empty heart brought me to my knees 
I don't always get what I want 
I get what I need 

Oh I don't always get what I want 
I get what I need

Thursday, October 17, 2013

more carving doodles

I doodled a little more last night, carving doodle that is. I decided to use one of them to work on an idea for a larger elf ornament and am happy with the concept. While I was shaping the tassel on the cap I thought about how it could be a flame and of course what would the flame be attached to, a candle. In the picture it should be easy to see how the cap becomes a lit candle, this one even has some wax melting down. I will have the elf either looking at the flame on the candle or might have him glancing at the wax as it slowly melts and heads towards him. Of course the one to the far right was done a few nights before and the one in the middle was done last night after the candle cap was completed, say that three times really fast.

Now carving doodles are not only a way to clear my mind but can also be a way to work out a design idea if I am not in the mood to get out paper and pencil.

Carpe diem carving

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

carving doodles

Last night I decided just to doodle and just relax in the moment. So I opened the lower drawer where I keep a few pieces of scrap wood, got out the tools and started to doodle. The first one was obvious and made since with the shape of the wood. The second not as much, I started by shaping the wood some what and then started with a basic nose, nothing fancy, and built the rest from there. The nice thing about this is there is no pressure because this is scrap, this is left over from a rough-out and many people just throw these pieces away. I think I like the hair the most on this one and will remember how it was carved out for future projects, that's the nice thing about carving doodles. You try new technique and if it doesn't work no loss, no fowl. Visit the woodbeecarver's
site to learn from the true master of carving doodles and until then take a look at these.

Carpe diem carving 

Monday, October 14, 2013

three more carvings

I have been busy these last few days trying to get caught up on my carving. I will be setting up at a local church bizarre so am trying to get some carvings ready. Since my last post I have carved three more elves and soon will focus on carving a few Santa's to go with these. The thing I like most is the range I am getting with the caricature of all the ornaments. Even though they are similar (carved from the same rough-out) I like the wide range of expressions and features on each, hopefully so will the people at the bizarre. The carving in the lower row at the far left was an idea that my youngest thought would be funny. He has helped in the past with ideas, my favorite of which was, jack-o-Dan, the Halloween snowman. I have to say was a funny idea that came out really nice, thanks son.

Carpe diem carving

Monday, October 7, 2013

A view from the window sill

One spring day a plant began to grow in the flower bed.  It began small, almost unnoticeable to the farmer who worked the land. He normally grew plants to feed his family and his livestock but this plant had a look that made him smile so the young plant would grow in the soil, just because. The seasons came and went, spring then summer. By now the plant had grown and become quite beautiful among the other plants. It seemed to highlight the green on the leaves of the other plant due to its own unique but pleasing color. But one day a storm came along from the west and the winds were beating against the garden causing the plants stem to break and fall to the ground. The farmer knew God had a design in all things that grow up from the soil and so he took the broken branch and placed it in a small glass. He filled the glass up halfway, having the water surrounding the stem.

Weekly the farmer, busy with tending his crops would empty the small glass and then refill it with fresh water. Within weeks of this process the farmer saw the plan unfolding before his very eyes. Not just in the fields but in the small little glass on the window sill. What was before just a broken stem sitting in water had become a glass filled with roots shooting out from the once lonely stem. As these little roots began to grow and twist under the water, above there was new life on the stem itself. New leaves were forming and reaching out towards the sun. Fresh new color was emerging from this once sad stem that lay in the mud after the storm had passed so many weeks back.

The farmer kept the plant on the window sill all throughout the fall and the winter months as well waiting for spring to return. As spring slowly arrived and as the last frost of the season had been removed by the sun the farmer placed the stem, now full of roots and new leaves, into a pot on the porch with fresh soil holding it in place. He continued to work the land as he had done all his life but this spring would be different. As he did all fall and winter he continued to care for this once lonely stem that had fallen so many seasons back. By summer there was no longer a lonely stem but a full, beautiful plant that was now overflowing with life and color. The farmer sat on his porch as he had done every summer before, reading and enjoying the sunset as it highlighted the growing crops in the field. He thanked God for the gift and lesson of the little stem found in the mud. This plant was God’s reminder to the farmer that in this life even though we all stumble and fall, through His hand we can be made whole again. He opened His book once again and read; 

Matthew 6:26 Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

another carving done

Well I have completed another carving and this one is fun. I am slowly seeing my cartoonist side coming out in my carvings but still keeping refined and more detailed features. I don't remember if I posted anything on this but last year I bought some Drake carving tools and I have to say they were worth it. Great tool, arrive sharpened and ready to go and a decent price to boot. One of my favorite tools out of the bunch and there are a few, is the one I am going to a lot, my #3 3/8 gouge. I have experimented with where and how to use this one and I have to say it works out well in many areas. I never would have used it in the manor that I do if I hadn't have come across Ian Norbury's website. He is an amazing master wood-sculptor opposed to a caricature carver but carving is carving and a lot of his technique translates over. After all I am trying to mold myself into the carver I one day hope to be so to do this I must be open to any technique or style that will help me hone my own technique and style. I have learned from some of the best and made some great friends along the way, and the journey is far from over.

So this guy I have finished I think has a fun look about him and have to say I am happy with the results, there are always things I would do different but I think for me this will always be the case.

Carpe diem carving  

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

All four

Thought I would share another picture of all the carvings including the newest one to give everyone an idea of size comparison. This is a example of how you can work from a rough-out pattern and make minor modifications to the pattern to get a different look for each carving. All four carvings are from the same pattern with minor adjustments, which translates to the length of the cap. Then it becomes the carvers responsibility to carve the character hiding in the wood. On a side note one of the carvings I had made a mistake and removed everything I had carved thus far and started over. Any guess on which one it was?

Carpe diem carving

Monday, September 30, 2013

Aother carving

Well I finished another carving and I really like the facial expression on this one. I am making an effort to change up the facial expressions and facial hair on each carving. I will do some elf type characters and then carve some Santa type characters after that. I will not only focused on the areas mentioned but also on my basic carving techniques. In previous carvings I have utilized my Denny Ortel V-tool for different areas, like where the hair outlines the face. I have been recently started doing this area with stop cuts, I know it's kinda like going backwards in my technique but I don't want to get to the point where I can't do everything with a knife, so this will be the game plan for the foreseeable future.

One thing I struggle with in this area is keeping clean cuts and no burring or lines. You know the lines I am talking about when you cut too deep into the stop cut and there is a cut line. You are going to get a certain amount of these but keeping it to an extreme minimal is my goal. At least I have another carving done and awaiting painting. This will make it interesting as well since usually I carve, paint and move on to my next carving. Now I will carve, carve and carve some more, then paint a bunch all at one time. Maybe this will strengthen my painting technique as well, we can only hope.

Carpe diem carving

Saturday, September 28, 2013

two more carvings

Well I have gotten two more carvings done, an elf and a Santa carving. I have tried to change things up with the carvings as these will be for a church bizarre in November and don't want everything exactly the same. So I have been playing around with different things in my carvings. I will do the same when I paint them as well. I have included a picture of the three together so you can see I am also playing around with the different sizes and lengths. These carvings are good since October almost here, you need to understand one thing I hate Halloween. This being true my mind begins to look forward to Christmas, the movies, cartoons and the songs of the holiday. I love the truth of the holiday and the birth of my Savior but I also love everything else that is part and parcel of the holiday. Let me let you in on a little secret, you can do both. It is my belief that we should stop being such sticks in the mud. Why can't we celebrate the holidays and the glory of the gospel. I have heard people say we can either enjoy the fun of the holiday or we can understand the truth of the gospel, wow, that sounds wrong, doesn't it?

 Ecclesiastes 3:1 To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:

Maybe I am reading this wrong but to me it sounds like you can enjoy the Grinch and the first Christmas, where unto us a child was born. I pray someday we will understand that we should have enough heart in us to do both.  

Carpe diem carving

Friday, September 20, 2013

Christmas elf

I recently worked on a carving from a Mark Gargac video. He has very nice videos, clear scenes easy to follow. I have seen many videos where the lighting is off and the color of the wood sometimes blurs which makes it hard to see what the carver is talking about or how they are carving. I know I have sharpened my skills studying from those who have carved longer and more consistently than I and am always looking to see who I can learn from next. I have found that when I take the time to study a carvers video I often learn more from these than magazine articles.

So the elf, still needs painting but overall am happy with the outcome. I changed the design a bit from his just to make it more my design and his technique. He in this video uses a lot of stop cuts, probably for those who are limited in tools. I am not always consistent with stop cuts, an area I need improvement. So here he is the Christmas elf.

 I plan on painting a portion of him but will leave some wood unpainted as I have become fond of the effect it gives to my carvings. I will paint the beard and the hat and maybe add a small dash of color to the face but more on this later.

Carpe Diem carving  

Friday, September 6, 2013

comfort birds

I was given two rough-outs for comfort birds so the other day I thought I would give it a try. I thought about using my carving tools but decided to use the old dremel tool instead. I did this remembering an article in one of the carving magazines on power carving a cardinal so went with the power tool instead. For my first two thought they came out o.k., I tried to be conscious of how they would feel in someones hand more than on the design of the bird itself, after all that is the purpose of the carving. Unfortunately I was also motivated to carve these as we have had friends who have recently lost loved ones and both will be given out in hopes that they do indeed bring comfort to those in need.

In an attempt to end this posting on a lighter note I have posted pictures of the cedar tree I got from a neighbor who had cut it down and had it out for the city to pick up. I have in the past cut branches off of our cedar tree and they dry out fairly well without a whole lot of cracking so figured I would clean this up and store it to see if it can be harvested for a future carving. I will clean off some of the protruding branches and then store it for a time before beginning to shape it to see what I have to work with. When I think of the wide variety of trees and plants created I realize God used used the whole canvas for his painting, may we do the same as we go through this life.  

Carpe diem carving

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

0 for 5

Well my carvings made it back today and I am zero for five. None of my carvings placed this year and yes it is a bit disappointing and at another stage of my life I would milk this for weeks. Maybe it's cause I am older and wiser or maybe I am just to lazy to play the game. Maybe it is because this was just one contest and this doesn't make or break my growth as a carver. One of my favorite quotes is from "A League of Their Own", no not "there's no crying in baseball" although that is a classic.

It is as follows;
"It's supposed to be hard! If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard... is what makes it great!" 

No truer words have ever been spoken. Isn't this why we cheer for the under dog, over coming great obstacles to achieve a goal or level of success. 

So I hit a bump in the road and walked away empty handed. This is where someone always says, "what lesson can be learned from this experience", first let me say I am not a big fan of those people. I am more of a "I am happy but that doesn't mean I have rainbows coming out of my bum" type of a guy. But actually I realized there is a lesson here;
  1.  I have a wonderful wife and children that love me ribbon or not
  2.  I have carvers that I admire that are not only mentors,  but friends without ever meeting in person
  3. I woke up today casting a shadow and the Lord willing I will do so again for many mornings to come
  4. my true ribbon is from a woman who was given one of my carvings from her daughter for her birthday and I was told "she absolutely loves it", now there's a blue ribbon moment
So the lesson is simple, I love carving and cartooning and with the support of my family and some dear friends I will continue to work on transforming my, cartoons 2 carvings. Nice segue
So Lord willing and the creek don't rise I will carve again tomorrow. And as the song says from Collin Raye's CD, " His Love Remains" "I don't always get what I want I get what I need".

Carpe diem carving 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Another carvers has gone home

It was posted on the Eastern Woodland Carvers Facebook page that Tom Brown passed away on the 23rd of August. I never knew the man personally but was inspired by his carving style and in his efforts to support the carving community. You can, for those who haven't already, read about Tom Brown on the Caricature Carvers of America's members page. We can all hope that when God calls us home we will look back and know we made a difference in someone's life as Tom obviously did for many. If you want to send a memorial gift in Tom Brown's memory, send it to: EASTERN WOODLAND CARVER,S CLUB, P. O. Box 139, CONVERSE, IN 46919. I was told by someone that knew him that "Tom was the founder of this club and it's SPARK PLUG."

Please keep his family in your prayers as they adjust to their new lives without him.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Carvers competition 2013

Well the judging was done yesterday and except for a few pics I received of the best in show, no word yet on how I did. I didn't hear anything last year until the package showed up, so don't expect any different this year. I don't know if I have said but the competition was the Caricature Carvers of America's annual competition. We don't have many around here and most shows need you to be present to enter so this gives me a chance to enter a show and compete with other carvers. I will let everyone know good or bad as soon as I know something. A carver once told me; "Never expect to loose, never expect to win, but always expect to be surprised.” and this seems to be the best approach to any competition as well as life in general.

Also as you see the voting closed on the entries and the vote closed out with four votes total and the winner was AAC (army air corp) pilot with two votes. This makes me wonder if the content benefits/entertains those stopping by.

I am getting ready to begin to refocus on a possible book idea that will involve my one line or single panel cartoons, as seen in the sample shown. Here you see both the original pencil sketch as well the cartoon recreated in water color. The illustrations for the first go round at this point will be pencil sketches, at least that is my thinking for now. Possibly the sketch minus the words and then the words will either be at the back of the book or on the nest page. The idea came from many people looking at my cartoons and either laughing or not at my caption then coming up with their own.