Friday, January 30, 2009

The 30-30-30 Project: Day 20

Two thirds done, woo hoo! I greatly enjoyed the last two days, I think you can expect to see more of this technique, as this is something I really need to practice now. And I finished my sales tax forms today, isn't that exciting.

30 days, 30 art pieces, 30 bucks each

all pieces are 2 x 3.5 inches and in archival poly bags
shipping in US $1
shipping outside US $2


The first seven (7) people to respond to this post will get something made by me. (This is posted in 4 places, fyi).

This offer does have some restrictions and limitations:

- I make no guarantees that you will like what I make. I will not take requests.
- What I create will be just for you. But it may be similar to other things I've made, and I may post instructions for making similar items.
- It'll be done this year (2009).
- If I reply to your comment to say you're in, I'll ask you to email me your real name and address.

The catch is that you have to put this in your journal as well.

The seven people will be confirmed once they have committed.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The 30-30-30 Project: Day 18, 19

I was tempted to not post this, or do something else, but a commitment is a commitment, grumble. It's not a very good resemblance.

Day 18:

But I REALLY like this!

Day 19:

In other news, let's see... I picked up my 50 boards from the gallery. Egads, I have to prime them all! Oh well. I'm glad to be working on board instead of canvas. I think I'm not going to actually do one per day. I'm going to work on them maybe twice a week and do several at a time. It really makes more sense that way, less wasted paint.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Reno recap

Okay, I gotta write this all down before I forget what I want to say! This was my second year visiting the Firearms Engravers Guild of America convention in Reno. I had hoped to be an exhibitor this year. That didn't pan out, long story, won't get into it, but I went anyway and took samples of my work and a portfolio and did the nomadic wandering thing. Which by the way is totally acceptable, lots of people do it. I'd met a fair number of people last year and was eager to see them all again. I'm an active member of a couple of online engraving forums which has been a great way to "meet" people and a lot of those people were there.

I took a bus again this year. Not Greyhound, that was just a little too weird and scary last year, so I opted for an All West casino tour bus. Sweet deal! Costs less than a tank of gas, they give you cash and a meal coupon on arrival, and the bus was half empty and mostly populated by old people. The weather turned out pretty good, I actually could have driven, but it was so convenient to take the bus. I'd totally do that again. It was snowy in the mountains and did snow in Reno while I was there. Strangely, between Saturday morning and Monday late afternoon I did not step outdoors. It's kind of weird that you can exist entirely within a casino.

A view out the window on the way there:

View out my room on arrival:

View out my room at night:

The "mining machine" inside the dome at the Silver Legacy:

I was so tired when I got there (because I'd been up til almost 1am finishing the tiger, and then got up at 5:30 for the bus) I ended up napping for almost two hours before I went down to the show. I knew I'd be totally useless if I didn't! Pretty much as soon as I walked in the convention hall I was greeted heartily by a couple of people I didn't know but who recognized me from the forums. How awesome. After about three hours I finally made it from one end of the building to the other, meeting and greeting all around along the way. It's just the most amazing bunch of people, so much incredible talent all in one place and people are SO nice and friendly and helpful! I did lots of good networking, and everyone is more than happy to introduce a newbie around to all the pertinent folks. I love these people. Seriously. I don't say that lightly. I showed my work to a lot of people and got a lot of compliments (mind you I'm totally star stuck by some of these engravers, so you could just knock me over with a feather when some of them compliment my work) and a lot of really helpful advice on marketing and engraving.

Saturday night was the big banquet. I did not have a ticket, as it cost a small fortune, so I got a table for one in a nice restaurant in the casino (I think that's the first time I've ever eaten alone at anything other than a fast food joint, it was kinda weird but also kind of empowering). And I was served my food while the rest of the engravers were still in line! Ha! I goofed around my hotel room on the internet for a while before heading back downstairs, as I'd been encouraged to come into the banquet hall after dinner to watch a bit of the auction. I was mortifying underdressed and slunk over to an empty seat for a while before heading back down to the convention area to watch a little jam session put on by some of the engravers who are talented musicians. Dang these guys are amazing. I'm about as unmusical as it gets. They played old cowboy songs and a little rock and roll and some old Scottish tunes I and I was just enthralled. I faded out around 11pm and headed back upstairs for some much needed sleep.

Sunday was another convention day. I hadn't been sure what I'd do all day but no sooner was I in the door then I ended up chatting with various people and time flew, I made a bunch more good connections and also got to just sit and catch up with some friends I haven't seen for a year. And before I knew it, 5pm rolled around and people packed up and left. I was kinda sad to see it end. Lacking dinner plans, I decided to experience room service. A little pricey, but convenient.

Oh, I have to throw in here that I think hotels are weird because they are so incredibly wasteful. For one thing, who actually uses an entire bar of soap while they are there? And for crying out loud, I'm ONE person with a room for TWO nights, I do NOT need a fresh bar of soap every day. Why on earth would they throw out the barely used one and give me a new one if I'm staying another night? And same with washing towels. The little "save the environment" card says if you hang the towel on the rack they won't wash it. So I did. They washed it anyway.

But I digress...

I headed back downstairs that night to see if there was another musical jam session to be found (and was terribly tempted to stop in one of the many bars, the place was populated by rugged looking dudes from the Safari show. However, good judgement once again won out, thank goodness). And sure enough, a jam session was just getting underway! So I enjoyed good company and good music for a few hours before I went to bed.

I had originally toyed with the idea of going home Sunday afternoon, but wanted to catch the seminars on Monday so I stuck around for those and I'm glad I did. While none of them applied directly to the work that I'm doing now, it was great to catch a glimpse into some other forms of engraving. I gotta say though, 8am is a tad early. Three cups of tea later, I was still barely functioning. I went to lunch with some of the guys and had a great time, then headed back down for an informal "show and tell" session.

Now I have to say something about the demographic of this world. I'm an oddball. Good thing I'm used to hanging out with old guys in the chicken world, I feel like I fit right in with the engravers too. ;-) There are exceptions, of course. They're great company. So for a few more hours people just sat around and visited and looked at each others work and asked questions, offered advice, etc. We were kicked out around 3pm, and I had an hour and a half to kill til the bus got there. I searched unsuccessfully for a wireless network (apparently available only in the rooms, those sneaky buggers), gambled $5 and won $0.50 (which I didn't bother to cash in, and I really don't know a darn thing about how to use those machines, I just put in a dollar and pulled the handle), finally caved in and had a tasty green beverage (DW it's just not the same without you!) and headed outside to catch the bus for the ride home. It was so beautiful, the sun was going down over the mountains and the clouds were pink and gold, but the bus windows were too dirty for a photo.

And I couldn't stop smiling, because it's this feeling again of that is exactly where I need to be. Engraving. Scrimshaw. That's it, that's right for me, I fit, and if I can toot my own horn just a smidge I'm darn good at it! And I love it. Now if I only I could find this feeling with a man, sigh. But I digress. ;-)

So I have a lot of ideas and suggestions to put into play. This week however I am focused on getting my sales taxes done since they are due on Saturday and I don't really feel like going to jail. Priorities, you know.

Clearly nobody had let me write anything lately, geez.

Tiger Engraving finished

I finished this late Friday night last week. Well, technically early Saturday morning. ;-) This is my first attempt at a technique called bulino, which is named for the particular type of tool that's used. This was all done by hand (which nearly killed my hand!).

On the bright side, it looks like a tiger, so that's good! Definitely a good start but there's a LOT of room for improvement, so it's very much a learning process. I over-polished the piece, it should not be so shiny. Blame my art background for that one. ;-) In the world of printmaking, plate tone (the ink that would catch on a non-polished plate and therefore print as a light gray) is a BAD thing. In engraving, it's apparently okay. Live and learn. I was also far too heavy-handed with this and need to make smaller markings. Looking at other bulino engravings this weekend in Reno was really helpful. AND, I did not manage to actually remove all the metal I wanted to remove, much of it was just displaced in the form of a raised burr, which is very bad. I have ordered some sharpening equipment and I think that'll be a big help, I really struggled with sharpening the tool by hand and think I messed up the geometry pretty badly which is why I was not able to properly cut the metal.

But all in all a good start and it'll only get better from here! :-)

Photographed through the microscope (not inked):

Photographed on my table (not inked):

This piece is not for sale.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The 30-30-30 Project: Day 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17

Reno was great! I'll try to write something more meaningful about it tomorrow. I'm struggling to catch up on things, and it's going to be a real hairball of a week.

The temptation to bail out on the 30-30-30 Project was overwhelming. Missing 5 days was extremely difficult to make up, but I made a commitment to do this, so I will. I decided to sorta go with a theme in catching up. That helped. This project is extremely difficult for me. Moving on to a new thing every day is really tough, it makes me feel scattered. I guess I actually like to work on the same project for long periods of time. At least the 50-50 show has a theme I can go with!

Okay, so here's a crapload of pics. I'll get these on etsy when I can.

30 days, 30 art pieces, 30 bucks each.

Day 12 (SOLD):

Day 13:

Day 14 (SOLD):

Day 15 (SOLD):

Day 16 (SOLD):

Day 17:

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

January 21 work in progress

Okay, engraving solid dark areas with this technique is very intense, it really wears my hand out. I could buzz this thing out in about 10 minutes with the airgraver BUT I want to see how long this takes by hand. In order to do the bulino technique properly I need to remove tiny chips of metal (that's what I'm doing). If I just stippled with the airgraver it would merely be displacing, not removing, and would only texture it. Tempting, but no. I REALLY gotta get this done before I go! The background is going to take many many many hours.

The 30-30-30 Project: Day 11

30 days, 30 art pieces, 30 bucks each.

Day 11:

They are up on etsy now!
California residents add 7.75% sales tax.
US shipping $1
outside US shipping $2
packaged in a clear archival bag

for a bit of GOOD news...

I'm so excited! And I just can't hide it! You know how people say "I'm jumping up and down." I really did! And I yelled WOO HOO very loudly. Because I was accepted into 20th Street Gallery's 50-50 show.

[insert wild applause here]

Thank you thank you. Yes, this means you should buy lots of things from me right now before I take the Sacramento art world by storm.

50 days, 50 pieces (see, the 30-30-30 is just a warmup!). My theme is chickens. 6 x 6 inches. Acrylic and ink. I start January 30. I finish March 25. This was my sample submission:

Blue Rosecomb
acrylic and ink on board
6x6 inches

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

January 20 work in progress

Ugh, this is SO hard to photograph! Still a long way to go on this.

The 30-30-30 Project: Day 10

30 days, 30 art pieces, 30 bucks each.

Day 10:

They are up on etsy now!
California residents add 7.75% sales tax.
US shipping $1
outside US shipping $2
packaged in a clear archival bag

Monday, January 19, 2009

January 19 work in progress

Nasty fluorescent light color today. Yesterday was really a fluke!

The 30-30-30 Project: Day 9

30 days, 30 art pieces, 30 bucks each.

Day 9:

They are up on etsy now!
California residents add 7.75% sales tax.
US shipping $1
outside US shipping $2
packaged in a clear archival bag

Sunday, January 18, 2009

January 18 work in progress

I'm trying to get this done or close to it by next weekend so I can take it to the engraving convention in Reno and find out if I'm doing this right. It's so weird. Looks great one way but in most lighting the image shows up negative and it looks like crap. Evidently that might just be the nature of the beast, so to speak. I can see why people ink them (this is NOT inked in the photograph, it's all in the lighting) but the purists say if it's good you don't have to ink it. Eh. I don't know.

I have no idea why it turned out accurate color in the photo tonight, that was a fluke! Usually the fluorescent ring light on the scope makes the photos turn out a bit green.

tiger engraving
1 x 1.5 inches
on copper

The 30-30-30 Project: Day 8

(This is my 900th blog post!)

30 days, 30 art pieces, 30 bucks each.

Day 8:

They are up on etsy now!
California residents add 7.75% sales tax.
US shipping $1
outside US shipping $2
packaged in a clear archival bag