Monday, 31 December 2018

Pyro Santa

Hi all
I managed to carve a Santa for my wife for Christmas without her finding out. This wasn't easy because it took about two months to complete using most of my spare time.
Here it is.

He was carved from a piece of lime. The lantern and robin were carved separately and stuck on at the end.  To throw my wife off the scent whilst carving it I pretended that I was doing a carving on a walking stick. Each time I heard the door to the workshop opening I would stick the Santa up my jumper and start carving the stick.

In the end, I almost ran out of time because I underestimated how long it would take to do the pyrography. In fact, it took several hours and almost as long as the carving itself. It would be more difficult to do pyrography in secret because of the smell, so again I pretended I was working on another project, this time burning flowers on a wood egg.

Anyway I got away with it and her face was a picture when she opened it on Christmas morning.

I hope you like it, any questions please feel free to ask.

To celebrate the new year, I am giving away downloads of my book "Bossyboots." To get a free copy and have a good laugh please click this link.

This is probably the last time this book will be offered for free because I an removing it from the Amazon "select" programme.

So let me wish you all good health a peaceful new year.

Thursday, 13 December 2018


Hi all
Just a quick one. I was hoping to show you the carving that I'm doing, but work on it has been very spasmodic due to other commitments. However, it is now coming along fine and I will be putting up pictures of it in my next post. The carving is mostly complete, so it just need some pyrography and finishing.

One thing I have managed to get on with is my latest drawing. I am doing a set of three to put in some frames I got from a charity shop.

Here is the second picture in the series which is about flowers growing on trellis. This is one of some bindweed that was partly inspired by a photo and the rest came from my imagination.
I am pleased with the way it came out. I used 4 pencils to complete the drawing: a9B, 3B, H and 2H
The images measure 5 inches square or 125mm square in new money.

The paper is Arches hot pressed watercolour paper, which I can thoroughly recommend if your aim is to get a very dark blacks.

You may be wondering how come I can manage to do drawing, but struggle to get on with other creative projects like turning wood and carving etc. Well the simple answer is that I reserve time in the evening for drawing and that is not affected by the temperature and other commitments at the moment.

Please watch out for my next post which will include some woodcarving and pyrography.

Just a reminder, here is the first drawing in the series.

By the way, I have surprise coming your way. I am going to have a go at something completely different. All will be revealed in due course but I can't let you know until after Santa's done his rounds.

Thursday, 6 December 2018


HI all,
My woodworking output is very poor at the moment. It is too cold in the workshop even though I purchased an oil filled radiator. The radiator is okay, perhaps not as warm as I would have liked, but it is slow to warm up, so if I am going into the workshop I need to switch it on about a hour before I go in there and stay for a couple of hours to make it worthwhile. The problem is, like everybody else I am very busy at this time of year so can only snatch small chunks of time for crafting. Having said that, I have managed to finish the carving of a fridge magnet Santa.
He looks quite good and doesn't suffer from the flat face that my other carvings have suffered from. I'm giving it to my wife for an extra Christmas present so I hope she likes it.

So my main creative time at the moment is going into drawing. I manage to snatch a couple of hours each evening before settling down in front of that hopeless little box in the corner. I started pencil drawing last winter and did some roses that I was quite happy with.

These are the roses that I did last year. The only issue I have with them now is that they were drawn with a plain white background and they look incomplete. So I am now experimenting with a dark background which I think gives an image a bit more character.

Here is the first of a series of pencil drawings of climbing plants. This one is a clematis, Montana growing on a trellis and was based on a photograph taken in our back garden.
I'm not sure if it is better than the roses but I think it is more realistic. I would love to know what you think about the two images. Which do you like best?

Besides the background colour there is also another difference and that is in the paper. The rose picture was drawn on Bristol board paper, which is very smooth and incredibly nice to draw on.
The clematis drawing was completed on Archie's hot pressed paper, which although smooth does have a bit of tooth. The reason for choosing the Arches paper was because I wanted a really dark background and after a few tests I found that it was possible to get a much darker black on the Arches than it was on the Bristol board.

Having finished the image I now realise the darkness came at a price. Because the paper has more tooth it does look more grainy and I'm not sure I like that.

My intentions are to do a series of 3 drawings with the theme of flowers growing on a trellis so I will use the Archie's paper for the next 2 to give the series some continuity. However, when they are complete I will probably go back to the Bristol board with some carbon pencil which should give me a darker finish.

In my next post I hope to be able to show you the second flower in this series complete and in its frame.

One really important tip I would give anybody who is is thinking of having a go at drawning. Please don't use cheap sketch pads or paper from your computer. The pads they sell in shops for sketching, are in my opinion, just not good enough for proper drawing. Give yourself half a chance and get a small Bristol board pad for about a fiver. That way you may find that drawing isn't so difficult after all.