Friday, May 19, 2017


I've been very busy with work, lately, and haven't really done much worth offering to the public. What free time I've had has seen me with my nose firmly planted in books on the subject of tiny houses and shed/shack building. I'm in the process of building an 8x8 clubhouse and art studio for my eight-year-old daughter. Dubbed "The Art Shack", with a few side jokes on calling it The Fart Shack, but pronouncing it Art Shack because the F is silent but deadly, it'll be largely based on a shed design I saw a dozen years ago or more in ReeadyMade Magazine. Google "Blazona MD100" for more info and pics. I'm sketching out a slightly smaller version, since the original is a 10x10.

I currently have the foundation put together. Framing, etc., will go up as I have the cash available for materials this summer.

The Art Shack foundation went together this morning. So far, artwork has paid for the materials.

The Art Shack foundation is decked over

Here is an art piece that I've done recently. It's a crappie fish in pyrography and acrylic. I've got an upcoming art show on June 11 that I'm prepping for and hope to have a few more similar items knocked out by then.

Crappie fish in pyrography and acrylic.

And lastly, I've been messing around with homemade river cane bamboo ink pens, again. Fun to play with. I like the highly uneven line quality of them.I'll probably post more work with them this summer.

Playing with the river cane bamboo pens again. Had a few free minutes.

Playing with the river cane bamboo pens again. Had a few free minutes.

Playing with the river cane bamboo pens again. Had a few free minutes.

Friday, April 21, 2017

One Man's Trash...

I've been doing more home decor type artwork, lately. Not by any conscious choice, it's just where my mind has wandered in recent weeks and months. I'll get back to the regularly scheduled watercolors and ink drawings eventually, but for now, I'm quite content to make sawdust in ye ol' one-car garage.

After knocking out a series of art pieces for various local charity auctions and individuals affiliated (American Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity, MS Society and James River Basin Partnership), I've gotten back to making things more for fun and profit. Here are a few Missouri silhouettes that I recently made from shipping pallets. These are fun and no two come out the same.

More shipping pallet projects.

After you've made a new outrigger for your small skin-on-frame sailing canoe and you've cut up a half dozen shipping pallet states, you end up with quite a few offcuts in a five gallon bucket. I burned the first full bucket, but from the second, I pulled some scraps and glued up this mid century modern abstract piece. It came out nicely.

Abstract pallet wall decor art from offcuts and throwaways.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Skin-on-frame Canoe Gets an Outrigger Ama

Shaping a solid timber ama for the sailing canoe.

Just what the title says, I made an ama (secondary hull float thingy) and all the connective parts to sail my little skin-on-frame canoe to Stability Land. At eleven and half feet long and I forgot how wide, it's a right tippy little bastard under 45 square feet of canvas and needed the training wheels for comfortable sailing. Last summer, I hugged the shore much of the time, due to not really knowing when a good side gust would make me swim against my will. I only flipped it once, when paddling on my knees. It didn't take much, being very light and the floorboards being higher than I needed to have made them.

Fixing some sailing canoe stability issues.

The ama was shaped from a standard $4 8' 2x4. The struts from another $5 piece of 1x4x24. The akas/iakos/crossbars were reshaped masts from my first 8' Phil Bolger Elegant Punt sailing dinghy. The upgrades have cost me under $10 and a handful of lunch hours, so far.

Fixing some sailing canoe stability issues.

Monday, April 3, 2017

A Couple of Things from the Weekend

First up, my employer is a big fan of Southern antebellum and Civil War era history and heads off to Natchez, Mississippi each year for Fall Pilgrimage. She often takes a handful of people from the office and they basically get a 3-4 day paid and largely free vacation for a trade of about four hours of hosting tours in an old plantation home one afternoon. My wife, whom I work with, went a few years ago. She thought the place looked right up my artistic alley, so this year, I've bitten the bullet and I've volunteered to go for a few days this fall. Not being much a of a people person, I've dodged it for over four years of being employed by our advertising and marketing agency, but figured it time.

So, I'll be growing the beard out all summer to look the part of a antebellum plantation worker of the non-forced variety and I've also finally fitted a river cane stem into this old Civil War era clay pipe I've been threatening to make usable for a year and half. In spite of the crack it has along the outer left side of the bowl, it does smoke pretty decently. I had some Morning Coffee blend out of it on Friday, when I was done.

Civil War era pipe that I fit with a river cane stem this past weekend.

Secondly, my daughter, being something off an odd little duck at the age of eight and a half, loves herself some oddly morbid but cute artwork and cartoons. She asked me to do a pyrography image of a Mexican Sugar Skull and this is what I came up with. She was quite happy with it when she awoke this morning. I knocked it out after she went to bed last night.

Wood burning a pyrography and acrylic sugar skull.

Wood burning a pyrography and acrylic sugar skull.

Monday, March 27, 2017

A 1/4-Scale Skin-on-frame Peapod Rowboat Model

A little over two years ago, I decided to build a 1/4 scale model of a 14' rowing peapod. I converted a design from John Gardner's "Building Classic Small Craft" into SoF construction. It was sort of a proof of concept and I thought that if it turned out the way I wanted, I might build a full-sized version later.

Skin-on-frame peapod rowboat model.

Something I found out in the process of building this 42" long partial model is that I don't really want to build the big one after all. I mean I'd love to have one, it'd be great to have a nice rowboat in the fleet, I just don't want to be the guy putting it together. It has over 250 individual lashings along the frame structure and it was incredibly tedious to tie together. I'd have to build a steam box for the ribs of a large version, these were bent using a form and a heat gun. I could potentially build a fuselage constructed version, but in all honesty, what rowboat I might have time for in the near future will probably just be a variation on a plywood flatiron skiff.

Click the pic at the top to see it larger.

Converting a 14' John Gardner rowing peapod to skin-on-frame.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Recent Artwork - Pyrography, Pallet Silhouettes and a Toned Paper Sketch

Cow skull in pyrography and acrylic.

So, last post, I had started to use my wood burner for artwork and not just for trimming polyester canoe and kayak skins. This past week, I stepped it up a notch and added a wash of watered down acrylic paint to the pyrograph image. I started with the cow skull and rose (above) and over the weekend, I added the rainbow and brown trouts to the collection. In nice fashion, I posted the skull piece to Facebook and within ten minutes, someone offered to buy it. I'm pretty happy about that.

Today, I made a brown trout to match the rainbow trout I did yesterday. Pyrography and acrylic paint.

Also, over the weekend, I managed to knock out a couple of shipping pallet Missouri silhouettes for two separate charity auctions. Posting about these on Facebook and Instagram, I was asked for orders for three more Missouri pieces as well as two Illinois pieces. So, that's pretty cool. This might actually push me to forming an Etsy account. I've kicked it around for a couple of years, but lately, I've had quite a bit more interest in my wooden decor type works.

Missouri recycled pallet artwork/decor.

Missouri recycled pallet artwork/decor.

And lastly, just a pen and ink sketch I did on toned paper of a house in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. It's from a pic I took last spring, while on a camping and sketching trip I took solo down there. I may do another trip like that soon. It's pretty fun to get out and explore with a bag full of art supplies.

A house in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

Monday, February 27, 2017

This post will make me look like a redneck...

I'm really more of a semi-educated Liberal hillbilly. Anyway, here's some nature art and references to guns. It's the Ozarks, for crap sake (place 'Murica joke here).

Saturday found me with some free time in the morning. Wanting to sketch nature stuffs and temps hovering below freezing, I opted to draw nature within a cyclopean heated structure called Bass Pro Shop. Springfield is the home of the mega-outdoor-store and I have a love/hate relationship with the place. I won't go into detail, but I am happy that they will let you just saunter around the place with a sketchbook in your hand and draw dead stuff. Here are three that I did before 11am and the hordes of fashionable camo wearers showed up.

When you want to sketch nature, but it's below freezing, Bass Pro Shop.

When you want to sketch nature, but it's below freezing, Bass Pro Shop.

When you want to sketch nature, but it's below freezing, Bass Pro Shop.

I've also been dabbling in wood burning pyrography. Last weekend, I made a piece for my wife's aunt. I had promised her some kind of fox art back around Christmas and finally got to deliver. The second piece is a donation to a fellow I met a month or two ago at a MS Society event. He's wheelchair-bound with MS and was really wanting a piece of artwork to go above his fireplace. I took apart a box spring sometime back around Christmas and repurposed the wood into the elk, here.

Fox in scrap wood, wood burner and jigsaw

Pyrograph elk on reclaimed wood.

Pyrograph elk on reclaimed wood.

Sketching in my side yard during a warm spell last week.

Side yard sketch

Lastly, the guns! Err...gun. Just the one, but it's a new one. I sold my Masi CX bicycle and put a chunk of the money towards my kid's upcoming braces. The other chunk bought this Ruger LC9s 9mm handgun. The part of me that grew up in a highly conservative Republican household that I still firmly hold onto, is the part that loves to loudly punch holes in paper circles. After buying the pistol out of the back of a barbershop in a satellite town west of Springfield, I took it to another satellite town south of here and an indoor range to figure out how it shoots and get used to the semi auto action of it. I normally handle revolvers. Had a lot of fun, but indoor ranges are REALLY LOUD!!!

Ruger LC9s

Being new to the gun, I was all over on placement. Some hit the center mark, though. Shooting 5-7 yards. Typical selfdefense range.

Ruger LC9s