Sunday, July 24, 2016

Buffalo Skull

Spent the morning painting the Buffalo Skull for my new piece.  Looks pretty good although the photo really doesn't show all the colors used.  Before starting I checked the skull hanging in the Gallery to make sure I indicated all the major skull details, i.e., plates, nerve holes, etc. As that skull was bleached I did a little research to capture the true colors of a naturally sun bleached product.

I started out by removing the horn caps and then painting the entire skull a light gray (mudstone) followed by yellow ocher highlights, followed by brown (asphaltum) and ending with white on the parts that would be mostly exposed to the sun.  I then used straight black for the eye sockets with a little white on the outer edges.  For the horn caps I used black and then dry-brushed on some white highlights which really set off the horns texture.  Once everything has a chance to dry I'll paint on the ceremonial decoration but not too much as I don't want to overdo it.

So far so good!!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Hotoa'hehe - Buffalo Woman

I've been working on this one for the past 6 or 7 months.  Once it's painted I think it will be one of the best so far even though, after taking the photos, I noticed a couple areas that need to be corrected.  With the walnut base she will stand about 20" tall.  An impressive piece.

She's a Cheyenne girl, preparing for the Call of the Herd dance.  I plan on painting a few ceremonial symbols on the skull to carry that theme.  She has her skinning knife on her belt and will be ready to follow the hunters once the herd is located.  While there is quite a bit of beaded decoration on her dress and more will be added once I start painting her, I added a role of Elk teeth above the strip of
beads on her chest.  I made those with some 3/16th' dowel and inset them into the wood.   The earrings, choker disk and hair feather disk are made from hammered galvanized
tin.  Once carved, I covered the hair braids with texturing material to simulate a fur wrap.   As for the coloring, I'm thinking of using this dress as a guide:
I really like to darker colored cape.

While I had a number of Buffalo skulls aready carved the size of the figure required that I care one more.  I carved the arms and hands separate so they would fit naturally around the shape of the horn caps.  

While this was a pretty challenging project once it's finished it's going to really look nice.  I hope you agree and will look forward to your comments.  More photos in the Gallery. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Wandering Bull - Part 3

He's finished!!  Thank the Lord!  I thought I'd never get this one off the work table.  But, I think he turned out pretty good.  Certainly a colorful one.  I repainted the eyebrows black to try and recapture the stern look on his face that was lost when I painted on the red facial decorations.  It didn't work completely but it worked a little so will have to leave it at that.

So, I hope you like it and will look forward to your comments.

Friday, July 08, 2016

Wandering Bull - Part 2

Squeezed in a little brushwork today.  The photo looks a little distorted as I took it with my phone.  It's really not that crooked. 

One thing I've learned when painting facial decorations is that it can change or hide expressions.  That happened here.  Unpainted he looked really P.O.'d but here he looks kind of contemplative.   Will have to wait till the painting is completely done to see if there's any change and whether I can correct it.  

Really enjoyed doing the shield.  I painted the entire blank with raw sienna and followed that with some lighter tan to lighten up the center.  Next came the green, several coats, and then the red lines....mapped out using a Popsicle stick.  A liner brush really comes in handy when doing straight lines.  It took three coats to cover that green.  Then I free-handed the skull using tan, white and black.....lots of blending here.   The hooves were last done with asphaltum and outlined with black.  Oh....I also used midnight blue to put a shadow on the bottom of the shield and up the one side.  A lot of work but it's fun and the result will be quite striking once the feathers are added.  

So, it might not look like I did much but believe me it takes time to get the result your after.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Wandering Bull

This one has been on my workbench for about 6 months staring at me each day so I thought I would go ahead and finish him cause he looks a little threatening.   I still have to add a few more details....actually, I have to add a lot of details to him to flesh him out, i.e., ribbons, feathers and maybe a decorative cloth (wood) strip hanging from the back of the headress plus all the feathers to be added to the shield.   Again, he's a little larger than the normal bust standing at just under 14" with the walnut base.  With the addition of some facial decoration he should be quite striking and colorful.

While we were on our trip we stopped at the Prairie Edge store in Rapid City, SD.  Like the Cowboy Hall of Fame in OKC I seems to be magnetically drawn to this place.  It's filled from floor to ceiling with Native American art and artifacts and if you like such things you owe it to yourself to make a stop if you're in the area.  They also sell the numerous craft supplies used to make regalia.  While there I took the opportunity to take photos and will refer to those to come up with the designs for this figures beading, shield design and other decoration.

With Judy and I celebrating our 50th next weekend I hope I can get it wrapped up before the hordes of visitors start showing up.  Anyway, I hope you like him and look forward to any comments.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Rendezvous Bound 2

Finally!   I thought I would never finish painting this guy but in the end it was worth the effort.  Really like all the bright colors and especially the feathers.  The only problem I can see is that there is so much color it's hard to focus on one area without being drawn to another!

This is a pretty large one, standing at just under 15" with the walnut base.  I originally had his eyes focused straight ahead but changed them to where he's looking slightly off center.  Doing such small changes can really end up having a large affect, just like tilting or turning the head or having a figure stand off to one side.  If you haven't tried these things you should as I think you will be surprised how much better it can make your carvings look.  There are way too many pieces out there where the carvings seem to be standing at attention.  Boring!

More photos in the gallery and I look forward to your comments.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Rendezvous Bound - Part 2

Spent yesterday afternoon painting the hat.  Instead of a single feather thought a group of them would look better and add a little pzazz to the piece.  The Turkey feather turned out so nice I'm thinking of changing the name of the piece.

The Blue feather is from a Blue Jay and the Red one from a Red Bird.  I highlighted the hard edges of the top hat to indicate a little wear.

 Here's another photo of the hat on the head, and no, he's not blind just not completely painted.  But it's looking good so far.  The colors of the face and beard are pretty flat and washed out due to their not being varnished.  They'll deepen once that final step is completed.

Hope you like it so far.  No more photos yet.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Rendezvous Bound

I think we're having a Rendezvous down at the shop.  Mountain Men all over the place.   Here's the latest.  This one is pretty large compared to what I normally do....14" with the walnut base.  Still have to add the feathers to his top hat and then it's off to the paint table.  Should be a nice one when done.  This is the only photo.

Next up?  A Native American girl with a Elks tooth dress.  At least I hope thats what next.  Have the head done and have been doing a bunch of research to come up with a dress design.

Lots going on around here this summer so the Blog posts have been few and far between it seems.  Once I get that girl started I'll try to take you along for the ride.  Till then stay cool.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Booshway

Here's one that's been on the workbench and paint table for quite a while.  With springtime chores and a planned trip to Jackson, WY, Yellowstone, the Tetons and the Little Big Horn battlefield taking precedence, finding time to do some whittling has been difficult.    We had time to take in the Mountain Man museum in Pinedale, WY which is highly recommended if you're in the area.  Also, Jackson, WY, and the fantastic galleries there is worth a couple days to soak up the current western art scene.  Jackson is such a great little town.  Besides the galleries the history of the place, the restaurants, bars, the city square are just great.  And this trip was really special as Judy gave me a fantastic pre-birthday present of a Dave McGary bronze.    It's titled "Wyoming" and is made up of a buffalo skull, warbonnet, moccasins, pipe bag, a pair of beaded gloves, asix gun and holster, and spurs.  About the only thing missing is the Tetons and Old Faithful.  Beautiful.

Well Google has gone and deep-sixed Picasa so the additional photos of the carving are not on Google +.  And don't ask me how that works as I haven't figured it out yet.  The title of the piece "The Booshway" is a corruption of the word "Bourgeois" which was the word used to signify the company men who were generally in charge of the free-trappers.  This fella looks like he's been around a while.

Anyway, hope you like him and your comments are always appreciated.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Seasons Past - Finished

I put the final finish to this one early this morning.  I think he turned out really of my best efforts.  As I mentioned earlier, I duplicated the shield design from a photo I had in my reference files and captured it as well as I could.  Setting here looking at it I think I will add just a bit of dry-brushed white to the fur on the top of the shield to bring out the texturet more.  With the walnut base it stands just at 12" tall.  Someone is going to get a really nice carving.

There are more photos in the Gallery and I will look forward to your comments as I always do.