Saturday, April 29, 2017

Strong Heart

Here is the one I'm presently working on.  While I've done one previously similar to it I will again change this one enough to where it will be unique.

I still have to decide just what type of decoration to put on the head...either feathers or a hat.  At the moment I'm leaning toward feathers and have made a few just in case that's the direction I end up going.   The crosshatched areas on each side of the jacket will be beaded and the center medallion will be a peace medal.  I've lightly etched the relief of a bust on the medal that will be enhanced when it's painted.

I was originally going to name this one "The Delegate" as if he was heading for a peace conference.  However, I decided to save that name for another figure as I think a peace delegate would be dressed to more represent their tribe.  Here's a photo of the feathers, ready to be painted.

He should be pretty colorful once painted and should make an attractive piece to someone's collection.  

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Any Complaints - 2

As I mentioned before, this is a smaller version of the one I did earlier.  He stands about 10-11" tall compared to the original which came in at around 16".  While it's the same basic pose, the figure is different as is the apron design.  I try to keep everything original if possible and for those of you who sell your work, producing original work is a prime consideration to those who might collect it.  If you compare the two you can quickly see that while they might each have a coffee pot, gun, vest and cleaver, everything else is pretty distinct to each figure.  

There are other photos in the Gallery if you can find them. If some of you have found an easy way to locate the individual photo albums please let me and the others here know.  Again, I look forward to any comments. 

Our great friend Bob Easton has given us a solution to finding a particular photo album.  Here's the solution:

"It's easy to understand your disappointment with what Google's done to photos. It's not too hard to find older sets ---as long as--- one knows a name to search for. Here's how I found the earlier version of "Any Complaints." The key is having a name, a complete name.

1. Open the "Blog Photo Gallery" link.
2. Then press CTRL+F (CMD+F on Macs) to open a search box.
3. Type in the name, "Any Complaints"

That quickly took me to a folder of 29 pictures."
Also, remember to use the "Labels" feature on the right side of this Blog.  Just search for the type of carving or subject and "Presto" all Blog posts dealing with that word are brought up.  

Hopefully, this will help us track down certain least until Google decided to change things again.

Thanks again Bob. 

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Any Complaints? - 2

It's been quite a while since I did a Chuckwagon Cook  so I thought I would do another of this character but on a smaller scale.  As I mentioned earlier, I'm getting over a bad case of artist block so I guess you could say I'm easing back into it.

This Cookie stands about 12" tall with the base but still manages to capture most of the attitude of my earlier piece.  Some inconsiderate Brush Popper must have questioned the quality of the evening meal which didn't set well with prairie version of Emeril Legasse.  He'll no doubt get his attitude adjusted come Breakfast when he finds himself at the end of the chow line.

I'm not really sure what's next on the calendar but imagine it will probably be another Indian.  With spring chores building I just hope they don't crowd out my carving time.

I didn't place any additional photo in the Gallery as I can never seem to find them once I post them there.  Anyway, I hope you like this one and will look forward to your comments.

Friday, April 07, 2017


Slump!  Hitting the wall!  Artistic Block!  Whatever you might call it, that's what I've been going through for the past  months.  I'm sure most of you have experienced the same thing.  Hopefully, with this piece and a few upcoming ones I am finally over it.  

Jeremiah has been setting, gathering dust,  on the workbench since last year.  I finally finished him yesterday.  He's not an example of my best work but at least he's done and won't haunt me everytime I walk into the shop.   There are more photos in the photo Gallery but good luck looking for them.  Google really did a number when they dropped Picasa.    

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.