Thursday, December 28, 2017

finishing out the year

Christmas has come and gone for another year, all the excitement and anticipation is now over and everyone is now focused on the upcoming new year. But before the year ended I got some carving time in and carved these two solely based on the idea of twisting the cap, because for me all it takes is a small idea to get me started. Once the cap was carved I then proceeded to detail the beard.

Many have commented about the way I carve the mustache and the beard of my characters, some have even challenged me to carve a curlier beard and so for these two I did. The first one I gave it just a bit more curl but nothing to extreme. Then for the second one I pondered the idea of not only putting the curl in the cap but also in the beard and so I did just that. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with the overall response to both carvings once they were painted and the finish was applied.

I hope those of you who frequent my blog enjoy the newest carvings and I hope you had a wonderful Christmas celebration. May I be the first to wish each and every one of you a Happy New Year.

 as always, 
"Good night and May God bless"

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

finishing out the carvings and year

This past week I got a few more carvings done, two in bass wood and two in butternut. I have made some changes to the way I paint and the finish I apply and with these changes I am happier with the look of the bass wood than the butternut. I like the grain in butternut but since I paint most of my carvings anymore I believe butternut no longer compliments my style of carving and painting, or should I say my style of carving and painting doesn't compliment butternut wood. I have a small box of wood left but once it's empty my time spent carving butternut may be as well.

For those that don't know it I recently after a few carvers and years of nudging gave Howard's Feed n Wax finish a try and I have to say I really love the finish it gives my carvings. With the way I paint a watered down color then applying this finish I am extremely happy with the look of my carvings. Mostly my bass wood ornaments and other bass wood carvings, though truth be told at this time of the year ornaments are about all I am carving.

So from my family to yours I would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

and as always, 
"Good night and May God bless"

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Christmas carvings

Haven't posted much lately so here are a few more pieces I have gotten carved for the Christmas season. I will carve more and will make an effort to share more in the coming weeks and months but for now please enjoy these and Have a Very Merry Christmas.

as always, 
"Good night and May God bless"

Monday, October 16, 2017

corny carvings one and all

 Since the first ear of corn I have had fun with the idea and the design of these little guys. In the first image you can see the progression from the first to my most recent, front to back. I will not say this will be my last by any stretch of the imagination. I guess my Nebraska roots are showing through because between carving the little pumpkins or carving the ears of corn, I just seem to gravitate to the corn. Don't get me wrong the pumpkins are fun but the corn, yeah. It's funny how so many like the pumpkins but some have been confused by the ears of corn carvings, I just tell 'em it's a Nebraska thing.

as always, 
"Good Night and May God bless"

Thursday, September 28, 2017

So he is now painted and a finish has been applied. He turned out to be a fun piece hope you enjoy.

as always, 
"Good night and May God bless"

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

corny carving doodle

Every so often we just get a thought in our head and we have to run with it, last night was one of those moments. He is a simple carving doodle done on a piece of 1" bass wood and is a whole 3" tall. Just a fun little carving a bit off of the path from what I normally carve this time of year. hope you enjoy a peek.

as always, 
"Good night and May God bless"

Friday, September 22, 2017

Happy Friday everyone, in case you haven't been given a reason to smile today maybe this will help.

as always, 
"Good night and May God bless"

Sunday, September 17, 2017

change is good, sometimes

A few things have changed lately; many have told me that my carving style has changed. The finish I put on my carvings has changed. So due to the first two, the way I paint will change as well to make sure I match up with the previously mentioned changes. This will really be more of a modification than a complete change, kind of a 2.0 version truth be told.

So then the question is how I do this, how do I test the way I will modify my painting process. If I was working with water color I would take out a scrap piece of water color paper and test it before I did it on an illustration. So that is what I will do here as well. So I took a corner block and carved in some facial features and once enough was there I painted the piece, applied a sealant and then applied the finish. Now I have an idea of how this modification will look on my newly carved ornaments. As a good friend and fellow wood carver Tony Harris always stresses to me, "test it on a scrap piece first, that way the disappointment won't be with a carving you invested time in".   

as always, 
"Good night and May God bless"

Thursday, September 14, 2017

carving time

Almost every night now I have done a carving and everyone has been an ornament thus far. This reminded me of last year when I talked with a carver at the Hickory show. While we were talking I told him I guess I need to work on carving full body characters and he asked me why. I said since I have a pattern book out with full body characters I should carve a few. His reply was that I illustrated them and unless I had a passion for carving full body characters he didn't see the point. After all even for those of us that sell our work, it still comes down to the time spent carving, so carve what makes you happy and the rest will take care of itself. Do I want to carve some full body characters yeah one day just not today.

as always, 
"Good night and May God bless"

Monday, September 11, 2017

it's getting to be that time

Ah yes, it is getting to be that time of the year just take a look in the stores. This being the case I have carved three more Santa ornaments. This year I will carve both bass wood ornaments as well as butternut ones. I am also working on a few new looks for my Santas and hope they will be well received. These three were carved after I took some time to strop my tools and get them ready to carve. Sometimes whether they need it or not (which they usually do) it helps me re-focus on my carving efforts, after all if the tools are sharp then "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings."

as always, 
"Good night and May God bless" 

Friday, September 8, 2017

inquiring minds want to know

So a few have wondered, what has he been up to lately, well this is some of it.

as always;

"Good night 
May God bless"

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Gene Messer rebuilding fund

Calling all carvers, one of our own and a wonderful ambassador for wood carving, Gene Messer has been majorly impacted by hurricane Harvey. Please click on the link and read about what he has gone through and how you may help.

as always, 
"Good night and May God bless"

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

out before Christmas (hopefully)

 "what is that smell, did I step in something"

That was the simple idea behind this cartoon, though many of my cartoons are drawn not from a punch line but just an observation. Truth be told the cartoon originated when I was highlighting something, this, a few years ago back in the late 90's when some markers still had the strong smell. Without hesitation my mind wondered how bad does it smell to him, and voila' the marker had taken on a life of its own now I just needed to put it on paper.

The other cartoon was simply a cigarette with an attitude, blowing smoke at you as if to deliberately fill the room. Or maybe he's just a cigarette from days gone by when they made you tough and you could smoke anywhere and it didn't shock anyone.

These are two samples of the kind of cartoons you will see in my upcoming book hopefully out before Christmas. It will be somewhat of an autobiography in pictures of sorts, going from simple pencil sketches to my new love, painting my cartoons with water color. It should be an easy read.

as always, 
"Good night and May God bless"

Saturday, July 22, 2017

two knives and a whole lot of paint

So recently I had been playing around with one of the designs out of my book. The first one I carved, shown on the right was too happy for the design so I put him off to the side and started a new one. This one's expression matched up more with the design so now I have two knives and both are ready to paint.

At this point I make the mistake of sowing both to my friend and fellow carve Tony Harris. He then suggest instead of me painting both the same why not paint one as a Helvie knife made with a Pakkawood. If you have ever seen these, they are a multi color handle so I wondered if I could even do this. I paint with extremely watered down color and the knives were carved in bass wood. Would the colors run or bleed together? So I took out a scrap piece of wood and did some test and unfortunately this was possible. When it was first painted it seemed to be missing something so I got out my pens and added some lines between the colors and then applied to finish. Every step I could hear Tony's voice, "test it first", and I did and it worked out just fine. Yet all the way through the process I kept wondering why did I do this and in the end I was glad I did.

as always, 
Good night and May God bless

Friday, July 7, 2017

TV having an influence

I was watching the Pittsburgh Pirates with my wife the other night, as we rarely get to see them on TV. I had decided to carve but had no plan in mind. This is how a lot of my carvings come to be. I get everything all set up all my knives out on the table, my gouges in the tool holder next to my chair, carving apron on. I store some butternut next to my chair in a container where once set up. I lay out a few and pick the one that will hopefully by the end of the night transform into a carving. Well this night I had no actual thought of what to carve and then staring at the telly watching the game I thought why not, this would be something different, and so I began.

 A pirate carved with the exception of a patch, watching the game and seeing the logo for the pirates and I didn't carve him a patch. I was trying to carve the actual logo but how did I forget that most pirates I know (not that I know many) wear and eye patch, but hey no stereo typing here. I don't know about the other carvers but many times I will look at a carving when he's done and pick him apart on what I could have/should have done, yet done he was.

Yet as most know my carvings aren't done till they are painted up. Lately I have changed the technique I use with painting and now the colors aren't as strong and the wood grain shows through even more than in the past. So here is my pirate, painted and awaiting a finish. This I have changed as well and it seems to give it a more natural look as before there was a bit of a shine to the carvings. The verdict is still out which I will use for my ornaments.

as always, 
"Good night and May God bless"