Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pyrography - the art of woodburning

While this blog is mostly about my scratchboard, I have taken a recent dabble into wood burning, also known as pyrography.

I did a bit of burning back about 8 or 9 years ago with a cheap woodburner bought at a local craft store for about $25.  It was a lot of fun and at the time I was relatively happy with the results, but I also knew that higher quality wood burners existed where you can control the temperature and use more variety of tips to get different effects (as well as much better results).  So a better wood burner has been one of those things that I had thought about getting on many occasions, but it never became a top priority of my disposable income.  Anyways this year when my parents asked me what I wanted for Christmas... finally that was what I told them.  My Dad is a woodworker, and has been for longer than I have been alive, so I knew he would know where to get one!  They got me an optima 2 burner and it comes with a couple of tips.  It is so fun to work with and I am hooked!

This was my first project with it and I was amazed how many similarities it shares with scratchboard, so it felt very natural and easy to me, though there is still plenty for me to learn and certain mistakes I hope not to make next time.  I am already planning my next project with it.

As you see it here is about life size.  It was just a small 5" x 8" blank (at least the working area).  The wood is basswood and I purchased it at hobby lobby, a local craft/art store chain.  I liked the natural look with the bark on.  However I am looking forward to working much larger (this small size was tough to get the details all as I wanted them with the size tips I have right now) and with a variety of different woods to see what I like.

I titled the piece "Caterwaul"  and this is it as a work in progress until what I am calling completed (though I may still mess with it a bit more)

Monday, January 17, 2011


"September Serenade" is officially completed and varnished and has taken a road trip to Boulder to Mary Williams Fine Art, one of the galleries that carries my work.  Now it is a waiting game to see if her client likes the piece.  If not I will bring it home and likely send it to some competitions or shows.  You can see the full view of the piece on my web site with the zoomify feature.  I also addedother new works,  Vinni and Takin' A Lickin',  to my web site.

After heading to Boulder I went up to Rocky Mountain National Park and it was snowing, but I still found a herd of bull elk.  It was fun to photograph them in the blowing snow.  I have not had a chance to look at them yet, but I guess you could say it was an elk kinda day.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Elk piece almost done

Last week I got to spend in Tennessee teaching a teacher in-service to 50 art teachers.  Almost everyone seemed to enjoy the class and many were excited to take the medium back into their classrooms to teach.  It was also fun to see the variety of styles and personalities come out in the pieces they created.

This week I felt determined to finish up the large elk, "September Serenade", which is a 2'x3' board.  The background gave me some problems, as seems to be normal for me and backgrounds, but I am fairly happy with how it finished up.  The steamy breath got ousted and a more complete background emerged.  I have signed it and am pretty much calling it done, though may tweak it a bit more tomorrow if I see anything that bugs me.  It is always a balancing act of trying to keep your main subject front and center vs having enough background to make the animal part of its natural environment.

One of my Christmas presents this year was a quiet air compressor to use with my airbrush indoors.  I've already used it a little bit and laid out a white clayboard (uninked scratchboard) for a project, but have to finish up some other stuff (couple of small commissions) before I will be making major strides on that one.