Thursday, December 24, 2015

    For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given
    Merry Christmas

Monday, December 21, 2015

and more ornaments part II

Well I got some painting done last night but as you may have noticed there was one that I focused on more then the other two and there was a third sitting on the desk that got forgot completely. So the main carving for me, my pilot Santa is done and awaiting the sealant. The other two I may work on tonight if I am not busy addressing envelopes to send out our annual Christmas letter.

It was funny last night as I am cleaning up my table and putting away my tools I glanced at my pilot and wasn't sure I liked the way he was coming along, part of this was I had another carving casting a shadow over this one. Yeah, this guy, I was so happy with this guy and the way I painted his eyes that it influenced the way I looked at the other carving. I don't know if other carvers do this but I am told that I compare carvings one to another, hey what can I say, this is how I am wired. I am still looking to earn my way into the carving community.

Now as Paul Harvey would say is "The Rest of the Story" I came out this morning sat in my chair and picked up my now painted carving and probably due to not being fully awake yet, looked at him all by himself without comparing him to any other carving and you know what, I like him, I like him a lot. I wonder how many other ares of my life I just need to step back and take a fresh look to see if I see it in a new perspective.

Merry Christmas to you and yours and as always,

Good night and may God bless

Sunday, December 20, 2015

ornaments, ornaments and more ornaments

Well as you can see by this page and if you have visited my shop I am in ornament mode as we speak though Christmas is fast approaching. Last year around this time I stopped carving ornaments but this year I will maintain a certain stock of new ornaments in my shop as people have told me they shop all year round for items such as mine. We will put this theory to the test in the coming year.

In regard to the ornaments themselves, the size I carve has become an area of interest for me. The two single carvings are my standard size ornaments which are around 6" long and 2" wide. Lately I have begun to carve a smaller version as seen in the middle image, these guys range from 3 to 4 inches long and 1 1/4" wide. I haven't put any of these in my shop as of yet as they may just be ones I give to friends and family, we shall see. They seem to be garnishing positive response from everyone so I may end up putting some in the shop to see how they do. It takes close to the same amount of carving time dependent on the amount of detail so will have to keep this in mind while setting the price if I begin to sell these. I will look into the idea of carving a small pilot to see if I can pull this off.  

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

as always, 
Good night and may God bless  

Thursday, December 3, 2015

I received  my newest ornament in the mail yesterday from Mark Akers. It looks to be a fairly thick ornament in the picture. Looks can be deceiving. as it turns out, this is a slim carving but no detail has been lost. This is a wonderful size for hanging on the tree or as I will do, place it on a ornament stand to have on display all year round. This is a wonderful carving, enjoy the video.

as always, 
Good night and may God bless

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

just keep carving

Well as it says I just keep carving and mostly all of my carvings right now are Christmas ornaments, after all "tis the season". You may have noticed that most of my ornaments are carved from butternut and that is due to my love affair with the wood. It is a wonderful wood for carving and it seems to match my carving style. By this I don't as much mean the style of my finished carvings but the way I approach and carve a piece of wood. I have recently come to the realization that a carver either matches his style to the wood he/she is carving or matches the wood to his/her style carving. Butternut seems to handle a heavy handed carver such as myself.

I also love the grain of this wood and how it looks with the finished carving once painted. So as you see three more ornaments have been carved and two still need to have a sealant applied before I can begin the painting process.

Many people wonder if I ever get tired of painting the same old thing all the time and the answer is no because I don't do that. Each face is different, yes they may have similar features but no two ornaments are ever the same exact carving. I tell folks I am sure of this because I am not to the level where I can duplicate a carving. I still have facial expressions I think would look great on an ornament that I just haven't carved yet. For me this is my time to sit back, unwind and just carve. It is very therapeutic, almost an equivalent to someone meditating.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and is ready to be filled with the joyous spirit of Christmas.

as always, 
Good night and may God bless 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

tow ornaments pt 2 plus 1

Well I not only have been working on the two ornaments but also carved out a 3rd to go with these. I now try and paint a few at a time instead of carve paint, carve paint. The three "wise" men are coming along nicely and will get a finish applied some time soon. In the past I have dipped my carvings but with these I will use a paint on finish and see which one I prefer and which one gives me a better carving in the end. There are always new ways to do things and more productive and efficient ways as well. Sometimes the better finish is not always the most efficient but we will see hopefully by days end. I need to get these done and into my shop as I am running low right now. If I don't put a finish on them today I will get to it tomorrow as I may end up carving some this afternoon. That is the blessing of carving in my living room, I can carve and hang out with the family at the same time, after all it is Thanksgiving Day.

as always, 
Good night and may God bless  

Saturday, November 14, 2015

2 new ornaments in the works

Two more ornaments are in the works, both still need to be hollowed out in the back and an eye hook attached. I am happy with both but like the smiling Santa more at this point but there is more left to do so I won't pass complete judgment until they are both completed. I should have time to work on them in the next day or two and hopefully by the first of the week should post completed images of both. I am getting close to shutting down the ornament carvings for my shop and begin to focus on other commitments.

I am blessed this year to have two wonderful friends and fellow carvers that want to do an ornament swap so I will need to carve something for each of them and try to match their efforts. One of the two carvers has already requested a pilot based on my pilot ornaments from previous years and the other is leaving it up to me and I have already seen what hes has begun to carve. So stay tuned this will most certainly get very interesting in the coming days.

as always, 
Good night and may God bless

Saturday, November 7, 2015

boots on the ground

So I carved a pirate based on a little people carving and enjoyed carving it and how it came out. This as many things do got me thinking, as many may know I like to carve many of my ornaments where they can stand alone for those who may want one on display somewhere other than the tree. Up till now they have rested on their beards but after the pirate I had an epiphany. Why wouldn't they have feet under the boots and now they do. So far the feedback is good on these carvings so I will do a few more and gauge how they do throughout the season but as for me, I like them.

These are carved from butternut and I have to say this is becoming my wood of choice. I still like bass wood but something about the way butternut carves and the way I carve that seem to match up. It also does well with my painting style and gives my carvings a rustic look that I like, hope you do to.

On a final note usually I carve something post an image of it and then paint and share the final. As you can see I am a bit behind so I haven't been able to do this as much. As of late I have been working on a design or two for a wonderful carver Wayne Shinlever. A few years back he had seen some of my cartoons and contacted me and asked if I could work up a design for him. The note had gotten buried under a pile on my desk and six months to a year later I found it and called him to see if he still wanted that design, he did. Wayne will be at the Dayton show this month and believe me you will want to stop by and see what ended up coming from my cartoon. He also is a fun guy to talk with, so stop by and say hi.

as always, 
Good night and may God bless

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

ornaments ornaments ornaments

Well I have begun the push to load my shop with my 2015 Christmas ornaments. This is the main portion though I do have a few more that may be loaded within the next few days. Not all have been loaded but my goal is to have everything in the shop by Friday. I was going to be doing a craft fair this year but at the last minute it was canceled for November. I believe they may try and do one in the spring if not they will set their sights on November 2016. 

I need to carve a few more but after a while I get itchy to carve something different but as they say "tis the season". Mine like many shops are busy from last week or so of October/ first week of November through the end of the year so this is when the main thrust of our sales occurs. I should have had all my ornaments in the shop by now but have had numerous projects going at one time. Starting this past Monday radio stations have begun playing Christmas music, people are counting down to Christmas both on TV and on social media sites, it has begun.

My hope and prayer is that we learn to enjoy the moment for once it is gone it is gone. Yes we have the memories but it is in the average every day moments that define who we are, husband, father, stay home dad or carver/cartoonist. I will end this with some lyrics from Billy Dean;

I'm gonna hold who needs holdin'
Mend what needs mendin'
Walk what needs walkin'
Though it means an extra mile

Pray what needs prayin'
Say what needs sayin'
'Cause we're only here
For a little while

as always, 
"Good night and may God bless" 

Saturday, October 31, 2015

new Santa ornament

Well I haven't posted much lately so while I am at the computer I will share my latest carving. This was carved last night and the main tool was one of my Helvie signature knives, actually my Wayne Shinlever knife. You know how it is your favorite carving tool is the newest one added to your arsenal.

I was not feeling great last night so don't know if I was testing my skills or just being lazy but the main bulk of this carving was done with one knife. Usually I am utilizing my gouges and other tools during the process but not last night. This was a good time carving as it made me look at certain lines in a new light. When you use a gouge it can be easy to fall into the same old same old of making a quick cut and moving on to the next cut. But those same lines carved with a knife you pay more attention to the depth and angle of the cut.

You may have noticed that I didn't carve any detail into the beard area and I am not sure if I will. This was kind of done in a flat plane style (somewhat) and when this is done the beard doesn't have cut to highlight it. Sometimes it is left with the simple shape and basic color sometimes it can be painted and then the carver comes back and highlights areas with a faint line painted on the edges. The verdict is out as of late on how I will proceed, probably won't make the decision until late this morning or worse case after the Nebraska game. Yeah not a great year for my Cornhuskers but it is part of my heritage so always a fan no matter how the season goes. But whatever I decide (about the carving) I will share more in the next few days.

as always, 
Good night and may God bless

Monday, October 5, 2015

new carving


This is my latest carving, it has been a long while since I have carved a full body carving. I will look to work in a few more of there within the next few weeks as I also carve a few more ornaments for the Christmas season. I may even take this guy and turn him into a Santa carving, who knows.

At least today and beyond for the foreseeable future we will have some sunshine so I will carve out a few roughouts for future use. I will need to check my stock of wood and see what I may need.

Even though we have sunshine the folks down in North and South Carolina don't and even for those that may there will be much to be done for them and their communities, especially South Carolina. Many may know that the storm that came through has caused major damage to South Carolina all throughout the state. Many are without power many are even without tap water. We have many carving friends down in the Carolina's will you please keep them in our thoughts and our prayers in the coming weeks.
as always 
"Good night and May God bless"  

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Have you ever heard the phrase "an instructional manual would have been helpful"? This could or should be the words I live by. Lately I have been busy with cartooning, I have been working on some patterns for a carving friend. I even pulled out the water color pencils just cause I can. You who do your own patterns know all you need is a front and side view. Sometimes depending on the size or detail you can get away with just the side view. Here is where the rub comes in.

In cartooning it is suggested that you should show movement even with something as simple as a coffee mug. In addition a straight view, either front or a side is usually not as preferred opposed to the 3/4 view. I had the opportunity to have a person in the publishing industry view some samples of mine years ago. His response was "wrong view for the viewer and there is no movement". Yeah, you tend to remember these things. This was in the 90's and I have made some modifications since then. I also have moved on from doing mostly cartooning to doing more carving, thus you and I are both here. Let me illustrate. Even though the goose is a better angle he would be considered stiff with no movement, while the coffee mug has some movement and expression. The man on the park bench is a simple side view limiting the amount of detail in the character. Let me say this lest I forget, I have always drawn for the pleasure of drawing and none of the cartoons you see would I ever discard. I loved drawing them and I still find pleasure in them

But now we stand at present day and I have to go back to the 90's and begin doing side and front view. They also need to resemble each other. This is a priority in a carving pattern. So I am an old dog once again learning new tricks. Any talents I may have I have learned by trial and error. I have no training per say so I am not as diverse as I would like to be in certain areas. None the less this is where we are and what I have on my plate, and yeah, to a certain degree I love the new challenge.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

 Well today I am sharing my pilot Santa ornament. I had done a few of these in the past but they all sold out at a craft show and I never posted any in my shop so this year I wanted to make sure I got a few done for my shop.

I have always had a fascination with the biplane era and always dreamed of flying one. Then in the beginning of our marriage we went down to a fly in for r/c planes and when everyone was done flying their planes and gotten something to eat a friend and co-worker of my wife's ask if we wanted to see his Stearman. Not knowing planes like my wife and the rest of the gang I thought we were going to see a basic plane.

We went over to the hanger and the hanger door began to be raised. As I gradually caught sight of the wheels my excitement began to rise. As the door raised I saw some of the wheel and then the planes legs of the landing gear then by the time the body started to come into view so did the lower wing. Yeah it was a biplane, a bright yellow Stearman biplane. Just being next to one was exciting enough but then with a bit of a grin, the owner of the plane Jeff said "Richard grab a wing and help me pull her out". Long story short before our time was over we all got a short ride up in the heavens in this wonderful open cockpit biplane. I now had firsthand knowledge of what fueled the fires for the young pilots back when aviation was in still young. It was breathtaking, truly breathtaking.

as always, 
"Good night and may God bless"

Monday, August 31, 2015

Three of the ornaments recently carved, painted and sealant applied. These are carved in butternut wood and I am playing around with the look of the wood mixed with the way I apply the paint to give these a nice antique look. I really like this wood for the grain, the only problem is I at times struggle when carving bass wood after carving a few in butternut. The two woods in many ways need a different approach on how to carve certain areas. The bass wood being softer needs more finesse while the butternut I can be a tad more aggressive with my technique. I will in the future carve a grouping of bass wood and then transition to the butternut but going butternut, bass wood then butternut may not work for me. Every carver is different in this regard, this is just the approach I may try and see if it has any impact on my carving.


as always, 
"Good night and may God bless"

Saturday, August 29, 2015

holiday carvings pt 2

Back on the 9th of August I posted some of my holiday carvings. Today I will share one that all painted up, the Christmas candle. The carving before paint was applied didn't seem to emit Christmas cheer; luckily the painting process has softened his facial expression a bit. I painted his eyes brown and found a wonderful way of doing this. I paint the area in with brown the come back with a clean but wet brush and begin to remove some of the paint leaving of course a dark line on the outer portion of the pupil. Then I come back and place a brown dot in the middle and add the white dot as well. I will continue to play around with this idea as it seems to give a more realistic look of an eye.

The flame of the candle was simply painting this section yellow and then coming back with a watered down red that I painted from the lower portion of the flame up towards the tip of the flame. With my painting I am reaching into what I have learned from using water color and also trying to not over think the process.

Overall I am happy with him and may carve another one or so for the upcoming Christmas season. If I do another one I will expand his beard further down the candle.

as always, 
"Good night and may God bless"