Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas with the Boston Terriers

Pictured above is the group of Boston Terriers, family and friends that spent Christmas with me. Valentine (mine), Tonka (friend), Grendle (friend), Spanky (foster dog), Geraldine (Brook's), Ziggy (mine in back), Olive (Brook's), Rufus (Mine - Rescue dog from A Place to Bark), Gertie (Brook's).

We went over to my daughter Brook's house Christmas morning and then I brought the granddogs home with me plus two Boston Terriers that Brook was dog sitting. They had a lot of fun in the blanket fort made over the coffee table. Plus everyone received a Christmas bone. Brook had a house full of her husbands family over later Christmas day.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

4 Fatbooks Auctioned to Benefit A PLACE TO BARK

I just listed 4 Fatbooks on eBay with 100% of the proceeds to benefit Bernie Berlin's A PLACE TO BARK dog rescue. These are 3 day auctions and if the winning bidder pays by Dec. 31st the amount will be doubled with a matching grant offered to the rescue.


Heavy Metal

Pink and Orange

Strange Botanicals

Monday, December 14, 2009

Rock Found at Valley Ridge Art Retreat.

It was a warm and sunny Fall day. I decided to take a break from class at Valley Ridge and go for a walk to take advantage of the beautiful weather. I try to get outside at least for a little bit on days like this to savor the weather and hold me through the Wisconsin Winters. On the trail this stone caught my eye.

A man who was part Indian and a collector of Indian artifacts once gave a talk to our 4-H group. He said that if you see a stone and it makes a strong impression on you it probably does have some special significance to it.

The circular opening in the circular socket is what caught my eye. The rock reminds me of a shoulder or hip socket. Perhaps it is because I know several people who have had their shoulder operated on this year including my friend Jill Shulse and a hip replacement for my friend Jeanne.

After holding the rock in my hand for awhile, would be a nice artifact to include in a piece of art as a remembrance of my experience at Valley Ridge. The circular opening could be complimented by a dome made with a dapping block that I bought on the way to the retreat at Harbor Freight Tools. We also had used dapping blocks in class.

The starting point will be the a dome to fit in the opening of the rock and to represent the sun. The sun that shone that day, light, birth and creativity.

I have also decided the primary shape for my piece will be a circle to further emphasize the circular opening of the rock and to contrast with the irregularity of the remainder of it. I draw several prototypes on tracing paper, cut them out, fitting them around the rock. Retracing and altering my design several times. I finally decide on swirling rays of the sun to hold the rock in place.

Here is the outer shape cut out of copper.

The rock, main piece, and brass addition to add more body, color and shape to the piece. I have also drawn on a design with a Sharpie marker to act as a resist for etching.

Fitting the pieces together.

A map to marking the spot with an X where I found the rock. An arrow on the bail points North. The curve on Witek Road where the driveway to Valley Ridge is. Buildings, trees and open fields. This part involves a bit of faith for me as the design in sharpie looks cartoonie to me at this point.

The back finished with a patina.

The front with the rays of sun curling around the rock holding it in place. Brass plate held on with micro bolts.

Inspiration from gathering with kindred souls in a atmosphere conducive to creativity lingers long after the event is over. Thank you Valley Ridge Art Studio for providing a special haven for artistic souls.

Hopefully in a future post I will backtrack and revisit my experience at Valley Ridge. Even my journal entries are all over the place, out of order. This is how my mind works :)

Saturday, November 21, 2009


I bought a brass burner this Summer at a church rummage sale in Cedarburg. I have had the idea to make it into a necklace ever since. I'm glad to finally get started. Jill Shulse, Thomas Mann and Keith Lo Bue are artist's whose work has inspired me in the creation of this necklace. I hope my work reflects inspiration versus copying.

The cover with it's door that opens and closes is the part of the burner that I want to use for this project. The bottom of the burner also has an interesting shape and perhaps will be used in a future project.

The next step for me was to find some type of theme or direction for the piece to take. This engraving from a 1800's book was just what I was looking for. I ponder using the title "A Royal Pickpocket" somewhere in my piece but it is not quite the direction I am looking for.

I cut out two circles, for the front and the back.

Next to find a quote or write a verse for this piece. The story included with the picture doesn't yield something for me to quote. The man appears to be dreaming so I look up quotes with "dreaming"as the key work...nothing. The pickpocket seems to be stealing a message from the dreamer. Nothing that I write seems sophisticated or mysterious enough. I look up Keith Lo Bue's work. His title's are thought provoking and I want this for my art. I look up a few words in the dictionary and this is what I come up with - SECRET DEVOTIONS OF THE DREAMER LIFTED IN A SURREPTITIOUS MANNER. I love the word "Surreptitious" and after a few days I think that I can finally pronounce it :) There are certain words that I have trouble pronouncing or remembering how to pronounce. My Grandma had this challenge also.

In order to letter this I write it upside down. It is really bothering me that the lettering is upside down so I remove the handle and turn it around. It is not until that I am almost done that I realize the handle now covers part of the lettering. After going back and forth several times, I decide I would rather have the handle cover part of the lettering than to have it upside down.
Final fit for the dreamer.

I had been using plexiglass for my previous projects but was looking for something more natural and aged looking to use. Mica was the answer.Unfortunately I didn't buy the mica at Valley Ridge that I was considering when I was there. I was trying to watch my expenses and had no ideas for it at that time anyways. Mica is not easy to find locally, and in the midst of a project I hate waiting for supplies to arrive via snail mail. Fortunately my friend Jill Shulse had a piece of that I could use :)

Mica arranged over picture for best look.

I decided to cut out the hand to emphasize it. Then drew the rest of the figure on a brass circle and etched it. This will be the plate for the back side of the necklace. I want the back of my work to be as finished as the front.

Close-up of two pieces together.

Mica arranged so that the least amount of spots show.

A brass key hole escutcheon to help protect the "Secret devotions".

A slot cut out from the backing plate that I made to go with the key hole escutcheon. Phrase from the story that came with the engraving.

Working out the arrangement of the necklace. Keys to enhance the theme I am developing. Wooden beads to compliment the wooden handle of the cover. I am also considering an asymetrical design to help balance the wooden handle.

More pieces to consider.

The finished necklace. I had one piece of brass chain from a vintage necklace. Adding a second and different chain gave me the weight I was looking for, plus more variety to the design. I also attached another key that looked like it could work with the key hole escutcheon. I feel this helped to further balance the large handle on the cover.

The clasp is made from a clock part and a nut (from a set of nuts at the dentist's estate sale). After letting it set for a couple of days I still need to redo the wiring on the clasp. It looks to messy for the style of the rest of the necklace and I have thought of a way to make it more neat in appearance.

The backside.

The front with door open. I'm still considering if I want to add something to the inside of the door...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

RAEvN's Nest Art Retreat - Thursday Night

Thursday night's social included a closet full of vintage and slightly odd clothes (some from my own closet :) for dress up and pictures. I sent the pictures to Walgreens and had them ready for the participants before the retreat was over. Here are some of my favorites.

Being the only guy on Thursday (Richard Salley was delayed in Chicago) Randy was worried at first when he walked into the closet. Luckily I had planned for Men's fashions too!

My daughter Brook, decided she liked the jacket and hat and now wants them!

Dianna modeling the latest in Cedarburg fashion.

Janet Davis drove all the way from Pennsylvania to attend RAEvN's Nest Retreat and found this lovely outfit to wear.

Kim Grant looking towards the stars.

Skip Wencl our Birthday girl!

Marie Kennedy sporting the latest in RAEvN's Nest Fashion!

Hmmm kind of how I always look ;)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Place to Bark Auction is Live! RAVEN

The Raven that I made for a book (more information in previous posts) and the auction that has gone live today. Image of raven wraps around 12" x12" profile canvas.

Proceeds will benefit A Place to Bark . I am a good friend of Bernie's and have seen first hand her care for animals. My Mom has Simon, a Pom and I have Rufus a Boston Terrier both saved by Bernie's rescue. Animal neglect and surrender to pounds is worse than ever and Bernie could really use the money.

About this nonprofit:
A PLACE TO BARK'S mission is: To provide assistance and care to animals in need. Working together closely with other animal welfare agencies to help end the needless killing of adoptable animals. Proactively working to save lives, by spaying and neutering, eliminating needless deaths. We are dedicated to educating the public on responsible pet ownership and to helping those who would like to have their animals fixed by providing low cost spay/ neuter assistance to them.

Here is the link to the Raven that I made for the auction on eBay.
Plus there are many other wonderful pieces up for bid. Check them out by typing in the words "Party Animals Auction" in the search box and all the listings will come up.

If you win the art consider purchasing the book that it is featured in too!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Auction to Benefit a Place to Bark

Art Zine and Auction to Benefit
"A Place to Bark"
Earlier this year, I was contacted by Jill Beninato, an Artist/Pet Photographer, who was putting together a project to support Bernie Berlin's "A Place To Bark" animal rescue. Bernie has literally saved hundreds of dogs lives so far this year. Jill invited myself, along with 20 other artists to create an original piece of artwork based on the "Party Animals" theme, using any medium we wanted. Jill photographed each piece and created a zine featuring everyone’s work, along with other fun articles and info about A Place To Bark. The finished zine is full color, 43 pages, and printed professionally by Lulu Printing. You can get your very own copy by clicking here. You will also be able to view a loop of all the artwork by clicking on that link. ALL of the proceeds go directly to helping the animals at A Place To Bark! All the original artwork from this zine will be auctioned off on Ebay on October 15th, 2009.
Above is the cover of the zine...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Antique Sale Treasures

I found a lot of unique, odd and bizarre items at the rummage sale I went to on Friday. Above is my most bizarre find. What is it? Answer at the bottom of this post.

The above item didn't strike me as odd until the antique dealer told me what it was used for. Hint: It fits on the end of a pole. Answer at the bottom of the post.

I was planning on spending the afternoon with my friend Jill Shulse when she called me and asked if I wanted to go to an antique sale with her. She did a preview on the way to an appointment and said they had just the kind of stuff that I would like. Jill didn't have to ask me twice. I cruised to her house and we were on our way.

There was three wagons full of antique bits and pieces. Assemblage parts galore!

"Look Jill casters" I exclaimed giddy with excitement.

Hmmm I wonder what Jill has found. Maybe I should go over there and check it out!

These are the treasures that I left with plus a salesman's sample window (not pictured). Thank you Jill for sharing your sale with me :)

Afterwards Jill and I visited at her house. Popeye sat on my lap and his pug brother Junior sat on Jill's. Another fun day with Jill!

The first item above was a homemade device to put on a calf, so that when it wanted to nurse on the mother she wouldn't let it. Looks dumb to me, I wonder if that farmer's cow developed mastitis or tetanus when it was poked with the nail. I thought it would be a good base for an interesting assemblage piece.

The second item went on the end of a pole and was used to hook into the nose ring of a bull to lead it around. Anyone have any piercings that they would like to be led around by ? LOL!