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Archive for the ‘New Work’ Category

 

 Sometime’s there a story. Sometimes there’s just an impression. Common mergansers were evident on the trail. Hens were seen most often–with ducklings trailing behind or riding on their mothers’ backs. 

I spent a rainy day in a lean-to below the village of Saranac Lake on the Saranac River. I worked on gear. I planned the next leg of my journey and I worked on a budget. As the river rose I witnessed a parade of wildlife. Belted kingfishers, red winged blackbirds, beaver and muskrat worked their way up and down the river conducting their daily business. 

Early in that day a mother merganser led her charges downstream. The current was swift. I had no reason to expect to see them again. That evening they came swimming back upstream. It seemed so easy for them. Over the next few weeks I would be pulling, pushing and carrying a canoe upstream. It was never easy. I thought often of those tiny ducklings swimming with so little effort.

This merganser Drake is carved of white pine with a steel tack eye. It is 10 1/2″ l x 4 1/2″ w x 5 1/2″ t.

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Last summer I spent six weeks paddling the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. There were many purposes for taking this trip. I wanted to spend time alone. I wanted a grand adventure. I wanted to test myself. I wanted to study the birds.

 

 I returned last August and quickly became busy with life–teaching school and catching up on summer chores missed during my trip.

Though I began two large carvings I never really settled in and got to work. Finally, late last week, I began to pore over my journals and bird lists to draw and plan a series of the birds I experience on the trail. From this work I’ve produced the first six carvings of the series.

  1. Wood Duck Drake
  2. Common Merganser (Carving Pictured Above)
  3. Northern Parula
  4. Blackburnian Warbler (Study Pictured Above)
  5. Ruffed Grouse
  6. Ovenbird

Photos and descriptions to follow.

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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!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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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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