Wednesday, October 31, 2007

another show!

Woo hoo, I'm going to Bakersfield! Not that Bakersfield is all that exciting in and of itself, but it's a poultry show bwahahahaha! Glee! Thank you JJ for agreeing to let me drag you down there. Truth is I probably wouldn't be going otherwise. ;-) I'm not taking an art booth there, just the birds, for a nice pleasant relaxing weekend!

I talked to the guy in charge of the game fowl thing today and he is urging me to go...sounds like a really nice guy. Hmmmmm.... Probably I will but gosh darn my weekends are getting all filled up again.

The scrimshaw wolf is going really well, but it brings to mind three things:
1) solid dark areas = AAAAARRRRGH!!!!! (whacks head on desk)
2) prices will absolutely go UP, in fact even now if someone wants an image with a lot of solid dark areas it'll exceed the quoted range of prices... but that's okay, because I said "most images will be..." Not all. It's taking FOREVER.
3) I need an ipod! When I'm in my studio here I just play itunes or CDs or the radio but over there in the barn there's only the sound of the flourescent lights. Today I brought my ancient walkman (ha! remember those? I think this one is from the mid 90s.) It only works in certain directions. Better than nothing though.

Anyway, it should be done tomorrow if all goes as planned. I'm also working on two drawings for Christmas cards, and have JC's horses, KG's dogs, and BM's chickens "in the wings" so to speak. And more scrimshaw. Bring it on!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Ventura Venture

As if I hadn't seen enough of the south-of-Sacramento stretch of I-5 in recent weeks, I drove down to Ventura this weekend. That's about 390 miles southwest, on the coast. It was, as you can surely guess, for a poultry show. ;-) Up until just a week or so ago I hadn't been planning on going, but I hated to miss out on it since they were featuring the rose comb class, and I decided I'd turn it into a business trip and bring along all the artwork...the chicken art anyway.

It was a hazy day to begin with even up in northern CA, but by the time I was approaching the grapevine it was noticeable smoky outside. I couldn't see the mountains until I was practically right there.

In Ventura itself it was foggy too, so the outdoors was gray and gloomy. I got down there around 5 and cooped in all the birds and set up the walls and table for the art display.

In an attempt to save some money, since the host hotel was enormously expensive, I stayed with my aunt and uncle in a nearby town about 20 minutes from the fairgrounds. My friend S.S. went with me, since she needed a place to stay too. It was fun to see my relatives and so nice of them to let us crash there. My uncle even came to the show on Saturday, that was cool.

Since I was pretty much chained to the art booth I feel like I didn't get to see much of the show itself. It took a while to set up, and then a few hours later I had to take it all down. I didn't even make it out to the beach (a stone's throw from the show hall, just ran out of time, oh well). I really wanted to see more of the game fowl show but I only caught the tail end of it, thinking they would be around longer. Those birds are so gorgeous. I actually wouldn't mind having one, as long it's friendly to me! I'm kinda partial to birds with big tails and flashy feathers and I think these guys are great.

Even though it was a pain in the butt to have the art stuff down there I did pretty well with it, paid for all expenses and then some. Even covered the expenses of framing "Green Legged Hatch" and getting some new stuff printed. So that's not bad at all. Stupidly, I forgot to take a picture of my booth. Oops!

I got Reserve RCCL with one of my black Rosecomb pullets (not the same one from the Paso Robles show).

Somehow I managed to do something awful to my right wrist on Saturday night, probably while reaching behind me while driving to shove something out of my way in the rear view mirror. By the time I went to bed it was excruciatingly painful and I could hardly move it, and I woke up a lot during the night. It was a little better in the morning but I was still pretty freaked out that something awful was happening to me. I need my right hand! It's almost all better now, so I guess maybe I pinched a nerve or something. Egads, that was scary.

So it seemed like a really fast weekend. Definitely not relaxing. Fun though (no party on Saturday, everyone pooped out and went to bed). I hope to go next year too. As far as it is, the drive really isn't that bad. I guess I am just so used to driving all over the place that it doesn't bother me anymore. Plus I took the minivan instead of my car, and it's faster and I don't worry about it dying. ;-)

Next up is Bakersfield. I am still iffy on going for the usual reasons of 1) *really* trying hard to conserve money 2) worry about car 3) I've been gone 26 days in the last two months and I'm so far behind already. I want to go... I have to decide in the next day or two. There is also a game fowl convention down in Visalia a week after that and I'm really debating whether that would be worth attending with some prints and a portfolio. Hmmmm. I need to call the guy in charge and see how that would work.

I am starting a new scrimshaw pendant tomorrow. It's a wolf. Will be on the higher end of the price scale (~$175 probably) since it has a lot of dark areas... is for sale.

This evening there was thunder and lightning and rain. My attempts to photograph the lightning were completely unsuccessful but here are some pretty leaves instead, the light was interesting for a while:

custom scrimshaw

Treat yourself or a loved one to a one of a kind gift: scrimshaw!

What is it?

Scrimshaw is the art of incising lines into the surface of the chosen material (usually ivory or bone or some sort of plastic) and filling those lines with a colored pigment in order to create an image. I would be happy to work on your custom scrimshaw job if you have something in particular you would like scrimmed.

I do not have the tools to slab ivory or do extensive sanding and finishing. I can purchase blanks for numerous types of jewelry, and can order some slabs and tusks. Knives and pistol grips must be provided. Thus far I have worked on plastic (it's okay but I don't love it), and elephant ivory (my preference). I have not worked on walrus ivory, hippo ivory, ancient ivory, bone, or paper micarta. I'm willing to try but would want to try a sample piece first.

What's the cost?

Right now I am only taking commissions for black and white scrim, as I am still learning the color process. Most projects will be $125-$175 per square inch, but everything is a little different so please feel free to ask me for a quote. Simpler or lighter images will be less than darker or more complex images. This does not include the cost of ivory or other materials, sales tax (CA residents), or shipping, travel expenses, or any miscellaneous stuff that I'm overlooking right now. Please note that ivory cannot be exported!!!!

Here are some prices for various scrimshaw pieces that I can create for you using pre-ban elephant ivory. These prices do not include sales tax, packaging, or shipping. Prices are good through December 31, 2007. Contact me for a quote on your individual project. Please note that holiday gift orders must be received by November 15, 2007. I can only accept a limted number of orders due to time constraints.


Necklace pendants
18x25mm oval cabochon
prices include sterling silver or gold filled mount, and your choice of sterling silver chain, gold filled chain, or black leather cord

sterling silver cuff with 13x18mm oval cabochon inlay (photo available)

13x18mm oval cabochons, your choice of gold filled or sterling silver hardware: $150-$200 per pair
18x25mm oval cabochons, your choice of gold filled or sterling silver hardware: $200-$250 per pair

Bolo Tie
38mm round, black leather cord, your choice of gold or silver tips, $280-$380
38x52mm oval, black leather cord, your choice of gold or silver tips, $390-$500

Belt Buckle (domed ivory oval inset into brass buckle, belt not included)
43x29mm oval, $250-$330
65x45mm oval, $520-$700
75x51mm oval, $710-$950

Money Clip, sterling silver with hinged back clip, approx 1x2 inches

If you are looking for items that would just be "fine art" and could be framed, consider a piano key (approx 1x2 inches) for $250-$350, or the ovals listed in the belt buckle section, or a tusk slab.

Pre-ban elephant ivory tusk slabs are available in sizes ranging from 1x3 inches to 2.75x4.5 inches. Contact me if you are interested. I can also get hippo tusks and wild boar tusks. Prices on request.

What subjects do I work with?

I prefer to work with subjects that could be broadly categorized as "anything alive." Wildlife, western art, animals, birds, some human portraiture, including nudes. While I respect that nautical scenes are a tradition in scrimshaw, if you are interested in images containing boats (or cars, buildings, etc) I would be happy to refer you to another scrimshander, but would prefer not to tackle those subjects myself. It's just not my thing. :-)

I can work with your designs or make my own, but please be prepared to furnish quality reference photos if your subject is not something I can easily research (your dog, for example).

How long does it take?

Well, when you sit there looking through the microscope, it seems to take forever. ;-) Ha ha. Honestly, it varies. Smaller pieces may take a few days, large pieces may take a few weeks, and it depends on waiting lists (I do commissioned fine art too) and my own schedule with art shows and other obligations. I strive for a quick turnaround, but your scrim piece needs time for the paint to dry before I can safely ship it off to you.

How do I care for it?

Carefully!!! It is easy to accidently scratch or damage it.

Do not clean your scrimshaw with any type of solvent, as this could remove the paint. Do not get your scrimshaw wet (no swimming or showering with it!). If you are cleaning the jewelry setting around your scrimshaw, please be exceeding careful not to let any chemicals come into contact with the scrim itself. Use a polishing cloth instead.

With care, your scrim will last a lifetime and be a cherished piece of artwork.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

my brother :-)

Way cool, check this out. See the guy with the shaved head right in front of President Bush? That's my brother. He's down in southern California fighting fires. I wish he had a blog, I can't possibly convey everything he has described about his experience.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

scrimshaw necklaces

I don't think I've posted this yet. Finished about a month ago, it's a Cochin hen on a tiny piece of ivory piano key. Not for sale (was a gift for someone).

I finished this one today, Rosecomb hen on ivory pendant. For sale, ask if interested. Mounted in sterling silver on a black leather cord. [Edit: SOLD]

Monday, October 22, 2007

catching up

I am so tired. Let me summarize the last few days.

Wednesday I did not manage to finish that drawing. I put in about an hour which was all the time I had, and that included staying up til 1:30am.

Thursday we left here around 8:30am and drove to San Diego. My brother J drove the whole way. 8 hours. I slept a lot in the back seat on the way down there.

Flopped out in the back seat (yes I'm wearing a seat belt). Not my usual vantage point for recent road trips, but a pleasant change:

Saw a lot of cotton bales in cotton fields, cool!

The mood was pretty subdued down there, and it just seemed wrong that Grammie wasn't there at the door to greet us. There were a handful of relatives around the house that night. My brother D flew in from London, arriving shortly after midnight. The memorial service was Friday morning at a church a few miles from the house. There were a lot of people there, most of whom I didn't know. It was a very nice service. Very sad to hear people talk and see Gram's photo up there on the altar, but it was very nice.

I had to leave about an hour after the luncheon finished up. Cousin V drove me to the airport and I hopped on a plane back to Sacramento. I got home around 8. I had missed the wedding rehearsal and dinner that evening, but had to be back as soon as possible since the bride was staying with me that evening and we had to be up and about early.

I wish I could say I slept well that night but I didn't. I tossed and turned and had to be up at 6:30am. This wedding was for a friend I have known since I was in junior high. I can't quite remember the timeline, whether we first met through school or first met through 4-H, but I think it was the latter. She showed rabbits, I showed (still do!) chickens. Several of the bridesmaids met up at a salon early that morning for hair and makeup. We all had curly up-dos. My hair is long. Understatement. I can almost sit on it. How that gal managed to get it all up remains a mystery, except that I had 41 bobby pins in there! It looked great, but with the fancy hair and the over-the-top makeup I didn't feel (or look) like myself at all. Like a doofus, I didn't bring my camera, so I'll have to wait for the official photographer to post his. We all looked super hot, for sure. ;-)

It was a fun day, I only wish I hadn't been so wiped out, I literally could barely keep my eyes open by the end of the evening. I won't even whine too much about the dress. We all looked very pretty, but after 7 hours in it the urge to take the darn thing off was almost too much to bear. A whole day in high heels and a tight dress really did me in. Got home at 8:30, went to bed at 9:30, that's unheard of.

Yesterday I finally got to sleep in, but I HAD TO get that drawing done, so once I settled in to that around noon there wasn't much that could pull me away from it. I worked 11 hours yesterday. The background... JUST the background of this drawing took 13 hours. You might not think that by looking at it. I finished it at 1am last night. I LOVE it!!!!! :-)

"Green Legged Hatch" (American Game)
colored pencil, graphite, on white paper
14x11 inches
$1680, is custom framed

Today I did a few hours of file prep for printing (new cards and prints) and went to the frame shop and the photographer and between that and a few other things suddenly here it is the end of the day and I'm just whooped. I'm going to bed.

Oh wait, one more thing, I am going to Ventura!!!!!!!! Anyone who asked heard the answer "no I'm not going." Change of plans, I'll be there with 13 birds plus sale birds, and a lot of chicken art. ;-)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

October 16 work in progress

Eww, the light is making a glare on the drawing:

I would like to finish this tomorrow but that might not be reasonable. Time will tell.

Monday, October 15, 2007

works in progress

It's been AGES since I have posted WIPs, time to get crackin. The studio is functionally clean (not "beautifully clean" but tidied up enough that I can work in here again). I have very little time to do a lot of work. Here are some things that I have been working on at some point in the last few weeks:

(all this was drawn during the Draft Horse Classic show):

"Green Legged Hatch" (American Game rooster)
colored pencil and graphite on white paper
11 by 17 inches
for sale, price TBD

(all this was drawn while I was up north on the trail ride adventure):

not yet titled ("Zena and Aragorn""? "Aragorn and Zena"?)
(Gypsy horse yearlings)
colored pencil and graphite on dark gray mat board
9 by 22 inches

custom scrimshaw jewelry

Custom scrimshaw necklace pendants for sale! Animal or figurative subjects only. I can work from your high quality photos, or you can just tell me what you want and I'll design it for you. Black and white ONLY at this time. Pendants are 18mm by 25mm, pre-ban elephant ivory. Your choice of sterling silver or gold filled mount, and sterling silver chain, 14/20 gold filled chain, or black leather cord. All chains/cords are 18 inches in length.

MOST images will be in the range of $115 to $145, including mount and chain. Extremely dark images may be more. This does not include tax or shipping. Please contact me for a quote on your individual project. (EDIT: shipping within US ONLY!!!)

Pendant, mounts, and chains/cord:

To show the size of the pendant itself:

Sunday, October 14, 2007

so tired!

I'm back... again. Seriously, do I ever stay home for more than maybe three days at a time? It seems not. Between now and September 1st I have been gone for 21 days. And the month ain't over... *sigh*

This weekend I went down to Paso Robles (~250 miles southwest) for a poultry show. It's the first show of the season, so I haven't seen a lot of my fellow exhibitors since the spring, and it's so nice to see everyone. I am exhausted, I stayed up WAY too late last night at one of those after-show parties (very fun and funny).

I got Best RCCL (best in class) with a black Rosecomb pullet. My pics turned out kinda crappy but here she is:

And this is the bird I entered as a Dutch Bantam (she placed 4th out of 5 in the pullet class, lol!), she's one of the single combed females from the Duckwing breeding pen:

Great weekend, lots of fun, too tired for details.

So what's next, I don't know. There are a couple more fall shows but I hadn't planned on going to either one (lack of money, car in bad shape, etc) but gosh darn it I just hate that. The Ventura show is featuring the RCCL class and I REALLY want that judge to see my birds (hi! if you are reading this!) but my birds are still so young... I could stay with relatives (and cut out the hotel expense), if I bring some art to sell I could probably cover gas and entry expenses, hmmmmmmmmm, gonna have to give this some thought. I have not had a free weekend since the end of August, why start now? ;-) We'll see, I really want to go... but it's almost 400 miles away... it's terrible to be such a show junkie. I was absolutely not going but then I thought about it all the way home today and thought up all these reasons why maybe I should.

So of course now I'm even farther behind on everything. If I'm going to go to Ventura I need to get the Green Legged Hatch drawing done ASAP and get that framed. My waiting list keeps flip flopping around. Lots to get done by Christmas but some things need to be done a lot sooner. Bear with me...

I'm going to make me a scrimshaw necklace so I can wear it and be my own advertisement. It'll be a Rosecomb. :-) I want to keep it fairly generic, and for sale, I don't need something personalized, I already have a necklace I wear all the time.

Okay, off to bed, I'm super zonked and made the brilliant move of scheduling my farrier to trim the horses in the morning. So much for sleeping in!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

horses, vacation pix

Okay, I'm trying to get caught up... barely making a dent in things.

Tuesday was mostly just a travel day. Shylah, as you may recall, had been there for a month getting some additional training. Wednesday and Thursday we went on short trail rides in the mornings, and I spent some time in the arena trying out Shylah's new moves. J had to work those days so when I wasn't out with the horses or baking cakes or something I kept myself busy working on a portrait of Aragorn and Zena.

Friday was a busy day, with a longer trail ride in the morning and then prepping for the horse show the rest of the day. J got the horses cleaned up and I helped with the trailer and the supplies.

Saturday I got up just after 4am. We left at 5am and headed north two and a half hours to Yreka for the Gypsy Horse show. OMG it was so cold that morning! But it warmed up to a gorgeous day by afternoon. It was a fun day, but grueling. I helped with grooming and "babysitting" whichever horse was not being shown at the time. We got back around 6pm or so. A long day, I slept well that night.

Sunday was the longest of the trail rides, which was complicated slightly by Shylah not feeling well (ate too many acorns) but I figured getting out and walking would do her good, and indeed by the middle the ride she had gotten her guts moving well and was considerably perkier. She is, however, the laziest horse on the planet, and frustratingly slow compared to 99% of the other horses out there, including J's trail horse Rocket (who lives up to his name). I don't mind the slowness when riding alone but it drives me nuts when I'm trying to keep up with someone else. She is terrible with hills, and maybe partly it's that she's still young and still developing muscle, but geez it should not be that hard for a horse to walk up or down a hill, and she acts like it's the most difficult thing in the universe, even a slight hill. She seems to climb hills by pulling herself along with her front end instead of pushing herself up with her hind end..lacking 4-wheel drive I guess. It's very strange to me. And the rocks really seem to bother her, which again seems strange since her feet are REALLY hard. It would be interesting to try out some boots on her. Don't get me wrong, I love this horse, but there are some things about her that drive me up the wall, and I wish she wasn't sooooooo lazy.

Anyway, next thing I knew it was Monday and I was headed home. It sure seemed like a quick trip, I can't believe I was there for almost a week, didn't seem any longer than when I'm there for two days.

I have a couple of art works-in-progress that have not been photographed (my studio is still buried in a pile of art show junk, I have not even had time to clean up, much less make anything new. AAAACK!!!!

Now lots of photos:

Remember the kitten I called "Poopy" last year? He's J's mom's cat, and was there for a day this time, it was fun to see him all grown up. Other than lacking a tail he could be my cat Homer's twin, similar looks (especially the face) and very similar personalities:

Photographic proof that I was up early. Taken Saturday morning heading north on I-5 (that's Mount Shasta):

Weird metal cow sculpture in a field along side I-5:

Pics from the horse show... Aragorn is the black and white yearling Gypsy colt, and Zena is the buckskin and white yearling Gypsy filly.

One of the cute entries in the costume class (I don't know who these people are):

Heading back late that afternoon, another view of Mt. Shasta:

A few random photos of Aragorn:

Pics from the ride on Sunday:

Monday, October 08, 2007

in the last week

A lot has happened. I have been gone since last Tuesday, got home today. I had a great trip (trail rides, horse show) and will share loads of photos, but not tonight.

The sad news is that my grandmother passed away on Friday. We are all sad that Grammie is no longer with us, but there is a sense of peace knowing that she has "gone home" as she had wanted.

More later.