Archive for the ‘New Work’ Category

I woke up this morning to find that my boat models had been featured on the WoodenBoat Magazine’s Facebook page.  This magazine has been my obsession since my dad picked up a copy of Issue #2 during a stop at L.L. Bean. (Back when it was still over the factory.)

I’ve uploaded more images here.  The steamer is a work in progress.

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My creative process always begins with a massive search for reference material. A few years ago this process began in a public library where I would pile up books, locate inspirational photos and drawing, photocopy them and return to the studio with a thick fold of ideas. I’ve also amasses a few hundred books of my own for the same purpose.

Of course this all changed with high speed Internet.

Until a few days ago, I searched he web and downloaded photos to my computer (now an iPad) and referred to them as air designed and drew. Mather problem was that these image had no order–no rhyme or reason. I could have organized them into neat folders and labeled sources, but the truth was that I didn’t. I wanted to get to the drawing, design and carving. I ended up with thousands of images and no idea where they came from.

A few weeks ago I began to explore Pinterest, in earnest, and discovered that it is the neat, simple solution to the artist amassing collections of images.

Now I browse the web through Pinterest. When I find a reference photo that speaks to me I “pin” it to a virtual bulletin board. I can visit it later and I will be able to follow it back to it’s source.

The benefits are amazing:

– The image is stored somewhere else. I’m not dedicating my memory to store it. It won’t be lost when I have computer failure at my end.

– The images are linked back to their source. For my work that is often a museum or auction house with important and reliable documentation.

– The boards are really, really simple to name, re-name, organize and re-organize.

-The photos go with me and my iPad. I want to sketch at work, before a show, on the road? No problem.

– The very best is that my ideas and resources are available to collectors, clients and other artists as I post them. You want to know what I’m interested in making today? Follow me on Pinterest. It gives you an opportunity to visit my creative process from before the beginning. It gives me an opportunity, too, to gauge the interest of other collectors and artists.

I was always told (I knew THEY were wrong) that Pinterest is only for women looking for recipes and cut and paste “craft” (I am on the verge of writing a nasty essay about the mis-use of that word!), but it is so much more. It is what you make it. Give it a try!

Visit 50 Little Birds at Pinterest here and explore and follow.

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Just finished these two pieces before they go out. Commissions cost no more than stock pieces and are usually turned around in under two weeks.



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Yesterday I attempted to post this from my new iPad.  I failed.  There is a learning curved and importing images is much more difficult that it should be.  I’ll get it worked out.

At the Indiana Artisan Marketplace I had a copy of Frank Chapman’s Bird-Life in my display.  The book, an early informal color illustrated bird guide,  features wonderful color plates by noted bird artist Louis Agassiz Fuente.  The cover features a multi-color typeset image of an American Redstart.  This print is quite striking.

I had carved a redstart, based on this illustration, that was offered for sale at the show.  I was demonstrating carving and painting throughout the show.  I was itching to do some metalwork and my eye fell on the redstart carving.  I took the piece around the corner to my demonstration shop, cut and shaped a pair of wings from a lithographed tinplate cigar box and re-created the redstart.

Here ’tis!

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I’m completing a few last pieces for the Indiana Artisan Marketplace, my most important show

A Murder Most Grand!

A New Style of Mount - Tall Corkscrew Willow from Dennis Maddox and Greg Adams


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Oranges are one of the favorite foods of the Baltimore Oriole.  I find the bird and orange visually appealing because they are the same color!  (The orange and black contrast of this oriole is striking, even without the fruit.)

The base is constructed of found wood — from an old painted sign that I dragged from the wreckage of a burned-out Victorian grocery —  and a croquet ball sporting its original orange paint.

This piece will be available at the Indiana Artisan Marketplace.

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This has been my waterfowl fall and winter.  With some simple coaching from my friendly neighborhood willow bender, Greg Adams I now know where and how to look for the waterfowl that have eluded me.

This morning I visited Indianapolis’ center for birding, Eagle Creek Park.  I took a nice long 90 minute walk around a nice waterfowl filled pocket of water filled with ducks, herons, gulls and mergansers.

It’s been a great week in the 50 Little Bird shop.  I’ve delivered work to some great shows, found some time to bird, caught up on some work and sold quite a few carvings.

My heavy spring schedule has me worried about putting together enough stock. This week I focused on waterfowl.    this week i finally got my hands on a copy of Robert Shaw’s American Bird Decoys.  The book offers a fairly definitive history of decoy carving and decoration and (most importantly) it is filled with gorgeous photos wiht loads of details.  There is no doubt that this book has jump started my desire to carve and paint waterfowl.

I present here this week’s work a double crested cormorant, a snow goose, a sleeping Canada goose and a white pelican.  (My first show, in two weeks, is at Goose Pond where I first saw white pelicans a year ago.)

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