Posts Tagged ‘Folk’


Four more pieces shipping the The Artisan’s Bench tomorrow. These simple pieces look great when combined with others.


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_MG_0014I’ve been stocking The Artisan’s Bench in Brighton, Michigan with a very complete representation of my work. I’ve been sending off groups of pieces as they are finished. The gallery is as enthusiastic as I am about including 50 Little Birds.

The pieces in the photo on the left have arrived at the gallery and are available for purchase.


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Trout #1 – Carved fins and tail with a drilled eye.

I’ve been researching historic tin and wood weathervanes to develop wall hanging artwork. The idea is to develop a relatively inexpensive artform that I can produce quickly that features my aesthetic and the same distressed finishing techniques that I use on my carvings.

I’ve experimented with a variety of designs including fox, beaver, chicken and trout. I like working with all, but I am particularly please with my trout.

My bird carvings are breed specific. Each carving is researched and drawn until I develop a paint scheme that clearly identifies the bird as a particular species and gender.

This is not the case with my trout. I have examined a variety of trout photos and historic painted and carved trout. I developed an informal paint scheme — with loads of color and texture — that really pleases me. I really enjoy painting and distressing these.


Tinplate has become a go-to material for bird wings and tails. It seems a natural fit for these fins.


Tail Detail 


Three versions and a sign. I love lettering. I loath fake signs and equate them with fake history….but the urge to letter won out here.

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What Did the Fox Say?

1934722_10153999556151067_1998954743629345634_nI’m not sure what the fox said, but my 4th grade students love it when I ask Siri to tell us.

I’ve a thing for weathervanes. Why wouldn’t I? It’s pretty clear that I am attracted to animal themes, useful objects and patinated surfaces.

I’ve been experimenting with designing cutouts with Adobe Illustrator and printing patterns. Until this project patterns have been hand drawn from sketches and notes. I’m enjoying the flexibility that Illustrator gives me to adjust patterns to any size quickly.

To experiment I’ve made a series of foxes adapted from a 19th century metal weathervane. the pattern is printing — on several sheets — from the computer and glued to cardstock. With this pattern I can plan where the boards will be joined, trace them and cut them out.

_MG_0002Each fox gets the same treatment that I give my birds. The wood is sealed with shellac and several colors of paint are applied. The piece is then distressed — in a number of ways — in a manner that reflects how the piece would really be used and worn. I don’t simply bang on it with keys and round the corners. I give thought to how the piece would hang and how it would be dropped. What parts are vulnerable and what sections are protected. The piece is then finished with another coat of shellac, waxed and buffed.

I made the original to hang on my shed. I’ve several acting as window toppers while they wait for homes.

Available here.

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Click here to watch .

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More Baltimore Orioles

Available here.

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Today I visited my favorite art museum — The Farnsworth — in Rockland, Maine. The Farnsworth Museum highlights Maine artists and subjects. My work is inspired by Maine experiences, traditions and artists so it is a thrill to visit again.

A couple of visits have been particularly memorable. I once visited an exhibit of Maine children’s books authors. I grew up on the writing and artwork of Robert McCloskey and have read Barbara Cooney‘s books with my children and students. Julie and I visited the exhibit on our honeymoon…making it an even more vivid memory.

On another visit — I was alone — I visited the Olson House where Andrew Wyeth painted many of his iconic paintings. I was able to recreate many with my camera. I think we’ve all seen Christina’s World. (My first viewing of Christina’s World was a print hanging in a Wiscassett, Maine restaurant in the late 1960s.)

In the off-season (off-season touristing is a trade-off. Low prices and no crowds are traded for reduced opportunities.) the Wyeth Center and two large galleries were closed. In spite of this I saw dozen of Jamie Wyeth paintings and studies and a handful of really great iconic Maine pieces.

I wasn’t allowed to photgraph the Wyeth’s, but here are a few of my other favorites.


Yvonne Jacquette, b. 1934, Rockport Harbor, 2001, Oil on Canvas – I’ve visited Rockport since I was a child. The village is known for its schooner, boatbuilding, art retreats and Andre the Seal. When my daughters were little I took them for a magic kayak paddle in this harbor.


Rockwell Kent, 1882-1971, Maine Coast 1907, Oil on Canvas – It’s Rockwell Kent, ‘nuf sed. I was hooked when, as a kid, I first saw his illustrations for Moby Dick.


Detail for The Maine Coast 1907 – One of my studies –on this trip — is to examine and evaluate how artists render the hardwood and spruce mix of the Maine coast. Kent has strong, informal, and very powerful brushwork.


Bernard “Blackie” Langlais, 1921-1971, Untitled (Bull), c.1970, Carved Wood and Paint – Found wood, carving and paint? What’s not to love. There is a wonderful randomness to the wires and glue and nails that hold this piece together.



W.A. Snow Conpany, Ethan Allen Pace Horse Weathervane, c. 1885, Molded Guilt Copper and Cast Iron – I love beaten copper. It’s a skill that I practice. This is masterfully crafted…and was functional until 2007. What a beautiful patina!


Richard Estes, b. 1932, Oriental Cuisine, 1972, Silkscreen – A silkcreen!? A photorealistic silkscreen. Notice the reflections on the glass. Simply amazing.


Maker Unknown, Capitol of the U.S.A., c.1921-1959, Metal, Paint, Glass and Electric Lights. – An untrained artist, using what he or she could find, assembled something wonderful. The column bases and capitals are lamb socket bases and the dome is formed with wire lath. It’s a wonder!


Lamp Socket column bases. Lots of great paint.


One of many sheet metal flags. The stars are punched out with a shop made punch or similar. I suspect these 48 star flags are what suggested 1959 as the latest probable build date.

I walked across the street and browsed the Dowling Walsh Gallery where several N.C., Jamie and Andrew Wyeth paintings were available (They had this one hanging on the wall). Several amazing artists were represented in an atmosphere where I felt comfortable. I discovered a bird carver, Guy Taplin, and purchased the catalog from a recent exhibition. Like I was buying another Jamie Wyeth, I was taken into an office and seated at a desk while we did the paperwork.

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