Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Big Project

Judy and I had the opportunity to return to Woolaroc Museum the other day to see how the Chuckwagon installation was progressing.  WOW!  Looking Good!  There is still some work to be done to the front of the display as they had originally planned on doing display cases there that would have contained artifacts associated with the trail drives.  Unfortunately, those cases blocked the view of the scene so they were removed and will be replaced by a split-rail fence.  Other than that the scene is set and standing there you can almost hear the cattle moving in the background and the wranglers complaining about the slowness of the chow line.

There are a couple of things I would have left out of the scene, i.e., the cast-iron teapot and cornbread mold. I doubt seriously if those two things ever could have been found in a wagons inventory.  Maybe I'll point that out during the next trip.  You have to keep the details right or there will be those who waste no time pointing out the wrong ones.
 Don't ask me why but to me the best position to view the overall scene is this one. Seeing my efforts included in the displays of one of the top western museums in the U.S. is a thrill indeed.

Should you have the opportunity to visit this museum you owe it to yourself to drive just west of Bartlesville, OK, to see some of the best displays of western art around.  Russell, Remington, Beeler, Moran, and I'm proud to say...Doughty, are all there plus many more too numerous to name.  Woolaroc may be a little off the beaten path but in a way that's what makes it such a wonderful and special place.  Here's how to get there:

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Big Project - Part 3

It took a lot of hard work by a lot of people but the Chuckwagon is finally in it's new home at Woolaroc.  All that's left now is to turn that empty corner in the Museum into a fleshed out piece of the Old West.  In just a month or so visitors will be able to imagine standing in line, hoping those beans and hot biscuits don't run out before it's their turn.  Sort of like visiting the Pioneer Woman's Mercantile.  There always seems to be a line when good food is on the menu.

People have ask me if we were sad to see the wagon move to it's new home.  No!  Even though there was a box of Kleenex setting close by when I signed over ownership to Woolaroc, it wasn't needed as I knew that with each future visit to the Museum we could still see it and think...."That was once ours! Remember those biscuits you rolled out?  The pies we baked?  The barbecue?  The Cowboy beans?  Especially that hot, boiled coffee that warmed us up on those frosty mornings."  No, we're not sorry at all ..... we're honored that it's has found a new home at Woolaroc where it will be enjoyed by countless other fans of the old west who only wish they too could have enjoyed and experienced such things.

We'd like to offer a special thank you  to Museum Director Shiloh Thurman who is ramrodding this project and all the others who bent their backs and helped to get that wagon to it's new place.

Stay tuned for at least one more post.  In the meantime, here are some photos we took during the move:


Friday, January 27, 2017

The Big Project - Part 2

With the display stand finished we've moved on to the next part of this up and oiling a set of team harness.  There's Judy working on one.  The collars and hames have already been done.  Maybe some of you do but most have no idea just how heavy these sets are and how dirty they can get with use...not to mention how stinky!

I was going to kind of lead up to what the Big Project is but I guess it's time to let you know whats going on.

Years ago I did this Chuck Wagon scene based on our real Chuck Wagon.  That's me and my horse Biscuit munching a plate of beans and biscuits.  This scene was on display at the Woolaroc Museum ( a few years back when I was fortunate enough to have my work selected for a special showing.  At the time I mentioned to the Museum Director that wouldn't it be great if this little scene was setting in front of the Chuck Wagon on display in the museum.  I almost hit the floor when he said "Let's do it!"

So that's what's happening.  In mid-February Judy and I will load the wagon on a trailer and, along with the scene, truck it up to the Museum.  I was even invited to help set up the display.  The wagon and scene will join my other large scenes already on display in the Museum.

Needless to say, we're totally thrilled at the prospect that another of my pieces, in addition to our wagon, have found a new home and will be on permanent display in one of the top western museums in the US.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Big Project - Part 1

As I mentioned in the last post, we're working on a Big Project that will come together toward the end or middle of February.  As part of that I had to build a new display stand, which for an amateur furniture maker, is no mean feat.  But, with Judy as my trusty assistant, we managed to do a pretty good job.  At least I think so.  We still have a lot to complete before then so carving will take a back seat for a while, or at least until the varnish dries.

Stay tuned.    It's BIG!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Spotted Elk - Finished

At last!   I've been working on this one since around August last year.  A number of problems I won't mention have really slowed down the output  down at the shop but hopefully things will get back to normal soon. There is still one BIG project we have on the calendar during February that will keep us occupied but I'll talk about that one in another post.

Spotted Elk turned out to be a really nice piece.  With the walnut base he stands just over "14 inches so he will certainly command his own space when displayed.  A friend sent me a photo of the war-shirt beading design which I'm always on the lookout for.  The only real difficulty in doing it was the thin stripe on each edge.  To do that I waited until the painting was sealed and then taped it off.  Worked out great.  The lance was made from a piece of carved dowel with a pounded metal point tired in place with a wrap.  I also wrapped heavy cord around the fur areas on the shaft and then covered that with texturing material.  I really like the result as it looks just like course fur when painted. The shield design is from a photo I took of one at the Prairie Edge store in Rapid City ( last summer.  The earrings are made from pounded aluminum flashing with a copper wire loop to hold them to the ear.

So, now it's on to the next project, and like I said, it's a BIG one.  As always, your comments are welcome and appreciated.  More photos in the Gallery.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Teddy Blue

Happy New Year!

Well, not only did Quint get a coat of paint he also got a new name.   I'll admit I took a little liberty with the name as E.C. "Teddy  Blue" Abbott was a good friend and rode with painter Charles Russell and wrote the book "We Pointed Them North", about the cattle drives out of Texas which was the basis for the mini-series "Lonesome Dove".  Not bad for a dusty cowboy working the ranges back in 1870-80.  

By taking liberties I mean the addition of those shiny, reflective shades he's sporting.  If you remember,  I had done them in an earlier set of videos.  It took me a few days to finally decide to add them as the carving detail on his eyes had turned out so well.  But after painting the neckerchief that beautiful blue they just seemed to be part of the carving.  Also, I added a little extra bling to his watch chain by giving it a fob, hanging of the end at the button hole.  With the walnut base he stands about 12" tall.  Hope you like him.

On another topic......The fiber-optic internet installation just might be on the horizon as they stopped by and took a measurement of where the line would be laid.  Boy, I sure hope so.  We've been waiting on it for almost 3 years.  The lack of a decent upload speed is the main reason for the lack our video output.  Anyway, we've got our fingers crossed.

Next up?  The painting of "Spotted Elk".  I still have some work to do on the feathers and the lance but I will work on that today.  As always, comments welcome.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Spotted Elk

Here's another that's been setting on the bench for quite a while.  Except for the completion of the lance and the addition of some feathers  he's complete.  Unfortunately, him and Quint seem to have developed an attachment and just can't bring themselves to migrate over to the paint area.  

This one also stands around 12" tall with the walnut base and as most of my Indians should be pretty colorful once painted.  I really like doing these busts, especially with the addition of the shields and other attachments.  The sky is the limit with how they can be painted and the result is always striking.  

Again, I look forward to your comments.


I might have posted a photo of this piece on Face Book but, as he's still setting on the work bench in his raw state maybe posting it here will get me out of my rut and get him painted.

He measures around 10-12 inches with the base and once painted should really be a nice one.  I did a little extra detail on his watch chain by adding a fob at the button-hole connection.

As you've probably noticed, my posts have been kind of rare lately.  Hopefully, once the year turns the urge to produce and publish will return.  In the meantime, I hope you like this cowpoke and I'll look forward to your comments as I always do.