Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Finished walking stick

Hi all,
In my last post I showed you the horrible knobs that I'd made for my walking stick, well I've done another one that isn't perfect, but it's a damn sight better than the previous two and it'll do for me.

Here is the top of the knob complete with turquoise inlay.
Pretty neat even though I do say so myself. Here is the pattern on the body of the stick.
That also turn out very nice. Here is the whole stick ready to go for a walk.
You can see in this photo the shape of the knob which is much improved. The only thing I dislike about it is the size of the metal ferrule. I think it needs to be half that size. My wife has asked me to do a stick for her so I'm going to reduce the size of the ferrule on hers.

There is a lot of work in that stick but every part of the process was pleasant. I enjoyed drawing the design and doing the carving and pyrography work. Okay it was time consuming but it was also therapeutic.

I have taken it for a couple of walks and it does the job well. It feels sturdy and a aid to my poor old legs.

I have started work on something called a "Flower of Life" and I should be able to show you that in my next post.

I am also managing t keep up with digital painting and have just uploaded a painting I did of some calla lilies.

Please take a look if you are interested in seeing how they were done and subscribe if you would like to see more. My next painting will be of some autumn leaves and a robin. Any comments on the video or the stick are welcome.

Monday, 27 May 2019

Couldn't get it right

Hi All,
I have been very busy trying to finish the walking stick. I made a knob for it and did a bit of pyrography to finish it off.
I also used my Dremel to do some inset carving on the flowers and the stalks. I also burnt the background to give it some contrast.
Here is the finished stick.

I hate to say it but I don't like it. A lot of work for nothing. I couldn't put my finger on what was wrong.
Was it the wrong shape ? Too big? Was the pyrography over the top? Would a plain knob have been better? I'd love to know what you think.
Anyway, I decided that I could do better and did another one; a different shape and no pyrography.
Yes I know, and I can hear you laughing. My wife thought it jolly funny and made all sorts of lewd comments. Another wasted effort. Well perhaps not because it has helped me the solution. I need to make a smaller knob, which isn't all that easy. Let me explain.
The reason the knob is so big is because about an inch of the end of the stick is inserted into it. This is done to give it strength and I thought the design would be simple and look OK. Evidently I was wrong, so now I need a new design.
I have decided to use a ferrule to joint the stick to the knob which will give it strength and allow me to make the knob much thinner and smaller. Hopefully this will give me a balanced stick. I have sent for a piece of tubing to make the ferrule and when that gets here I will turn a new knob. With a bit of luck it will be in time for my next post.

I'm still doing art on the ipad and have just finished painting some crab apple blossom with a honey bee . It is the first time I've painted a bee. If you are interested, I have done a short video to show how I painted it.


If you enjoy it please subscribe, it costs nothing and if you don't click the bell icon, you won't even get bothered with notifications.
Any comments, I'd love to hear them.

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Inlaid pot

Hi all,
With the big gardening jobs behind me I have managed to get creative during the last week. I finished the pot that I've been turning and it came out quite well. The lid is perhaps a little on the big side, it probably should have been slightly smaller, but overall it looks ok. The lid looks better in real life because the angle of the photo has made it look even bigger than it is.
The turquoise inlay looks very nice in the top of the lid and the one around the side looks okay too. If I did it again I would make it a little bit wider but I was worried that I wouldn't have enough turquoise powder to complete it. I shouldn't have worried because I had loads left over but it was too late then. I can't remeber what the wood is, I think it is Panga Pang. but it doesn't matter because I won't bother with it again. It was very hard and created one hell of a lot of dust when I was working it.

If you saw my last post you will know that I'm also working on a carved and pyrographed walking stick. I have drawn on the rest of the flowers and outlined them with the pyrography iron. I have also started carving the stems and leaves.
I used my dremel with a small rosebud shaped burr and it worked very well. It was accurate and quick. I did all of the carving in the garden which makes a change from doing it indoors where I have to have the dust extractor running which is very noisy.

Besides working with wood I've also managed to get another painting done. We have a couple of polyanthus plants at the bottom of our garden.
It's a beautiful little plant with flowers similar to a primrose and I thought it would make a nice painting. You can see how I got on if you watch this short video. I did them on a blck background to make them stand out.
















I also explain a bit about going digital. If you enjoy the video, please subscribe, it costs nothing and if you don't click the bell icon you won't even get bothered with notifications.

Thanks for looking in.

Friday, 10 May 2019

Pyro stick

Hi all,
Are we having some bad weather or what? Every year is the same. We have a few nice days that gives me a chance to catch up with all the gardening jobs, then the weather turns foul so I can't sit in the garden and enjoy the fruit of my labour. But even worse, while the weather is bad, the weeds still keep growing, so when it goes nice again, instead of enjoying the garden it will be back to weeding and mowing.

Still I have a plan. Later this year we are having the  front garden, and part of the rear garden, hard landscaped with slabs, blocks and gravel. That should save me some time next year and I'll be able to do more stuff that I like doing.

On the woodworking front, I have decide to concentrate on the walking stick that I began a couple of months ago. I have done a patch at the top of the stick by carving some flowers on it.
I drew the flowers on first with a pencil then carved out the shapes with a Dremel using an inverted cone shaped burr. Then I used my pyrography iron to burn and re-enforce the shapes. At this stage it looked a bit rough around the areas where I'd done the carving, so  I filled in the whole of the background with my pyrography iron. Instead of my usual spoon tip, I used a wire tip on a hot setting and just kept poking holes in the wood.
It was very therapeutic and the contrast it gave made it visually more appealing. Now all I've got to do is more of the same on the rest of the stick. I am looking forward to sitting in the garden and doing it soon when the sun comes out again. And, I will also be doing a carved knob for the top of the stick, so I will be getting on with that too.

In the evenings I'm still doing a bit of digital painting. I have just finish a a pair of magnolias which I am very pleased with.
You can see how I went about paint these on a short video I did for my Youtube channel "The Armchair Artist" by clicking on this link.
Please take a look and, if you like it, please consider subscribing. I will upload a new video of each painting when I complete them.
Thanks for looking. Any comments or questions I would;d be pleased to receive them.



Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Back in the swing, almost

Hi all,
I've been trying to keep up with my wife's requests for improvements in the garden, one of which included relaying 9 wonky slabs. It isn't the sort of work I enjoy at my age and it has left me a bit on the wrong side of knackered. Anyway, the worst is over now so I'm hoping to get back to a bit of crafting.

The weather is warming up and last year I enjoyed doing a bit of wod carving cum whittling whilst enjoying the sun in our back garden. My wife said she wouldn't mind another shelfie, so whilst have a tea break during the slab laying process I drew one that I would like to make. The following day I even managed to make a rough model of it out of Plastacine.
If you are thinking of taking up woodcarving it really is worth making a model  from Plastacine before you start cutting wood and making mistakes.

You can see that this shelfie is going to be an old chap from years gon by. I can imagine him sitting on the dock of the bay waiting for relatives coming over to America to live the dream with him.

I like big hats on my shelfies and the long tailed coat at the back will help with the stability and and balance when it is sitting on the shelf. I am looking forward to carving it over the next few weeks.

I have also got a lump of wood on my lathe that I'm going to turn into a vase with a turquoise inlay; so that should be fun.

Other than that I'm still painting on the ipad and need to catch up with a couple of videos. I my last Blog I posted the wrong picture of the video I had uploaded so I have corrected that. If you want to take a look here it is. In it you will see how I created a painting of some harebells and a butterfly.




Sunday, 7 April 2019

Trellis

Hi all,
I'm afraid I haven't done any woodturning or carving this week because my wife has had me busy in the garden. Our neighbours cut down a lovely big hedge that gave us a lot of privacy.  Despite us putting up a new tall fence we still had a view of other people's washing and trampolines.

Here is picture that shows the hedge on the right.
To get some privacy back we decided that I would build a free standing trellis a couple of feet from the fence. This would be covered by growing the very rampant Belvedere rose over it.
Here is the trellis.
.

You can see how this will work, even without the rose it feels a lot better to not be overlooked. Digging the holes for the posts was the hardest bit of the job. I enjoyed cutting all the lathes because it gave me a chance to use the cheap chopsaw I got recently from screwfix. Very good it was too.
Anyway, I've had little time for anything creative except for a bit more digital art that I do in the evenings.
Here is my latest painting of some harebells and a blue butterfly that I have done for my youtube channel, "The Armchair Artist."
I hope you enjoy watching it. If you do please consider subscribing because I want to share them with as many people as possible.

Friday, 29 March 2019

Bottle opener done

Hi all,
Well it has finally happened, I have actually finish the bottle opener project, complete with pyrography pattern. And here it is.
I'm pleased with the way that it turned, even though it is a bit flimsy. You have to hold the metal part while you open a bottle because if you didn't it would bend at the first joint, a boomerang shaped bottle opener is not a pretty thing. To overcome this you have to just hold the metal part whilst using it.

It was only cheap but I won't be using that supplier again. I did try to get a more substantial one from Axminster but as is often the case they were out of stock.  Anyway, I will use this one until it breaks and then I'll see if Axminster have got a grip on their stocking levels. One thing is for sure, my new bottle opener looks much better than the one I was using.
I don't know what my next turning project will be because my wife has presented me with a big task in the garden. We live in a small bungalow and, until our new neighbours moved in, we had a lot of privacy courtesy of the big leylandii hedge in their garden. These were planted by the previous owner, who like us like us didn't like being overlooked  by nearby houses.

Anyway, the new neighbours cut down the hedge and opened us up to the world. One solution would be to plant some more trees, but at our age time isn't on our side. So she wants me to build a self supporting trellis that can be covered with rambling roses and thus give us a bit of quick screening. I will show you my progress in my next post.

I have managed to do a another video for my channel on Youtube, "The Armchair Artist ."  Please take a look  and subscribe if you would like to see more.
Thanks for watching.



Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Bottle Opener

Hi all,
In my younger days I used to be able to sup some stuff. In fact, if you put all the beer into one container there would probably have been enough liquid to extinguish the fire of London. Sadly those days are gone and I now drink much less in a week than I did in a night. Having said, that I still enjoy one or two bottles of beer during the course of a week. Anyway, I have on the table at the side of my chair one of the ugliest bottle openers you ever did see. How I've put up with it for so long I don't know, but it's days are numbered.

I have started turning a new one out of wood. I got it off line and it was only when it arrived that I realised I didn't particularly like the design as far as the turning is concerned. Here is a picture of it.
The problem is that the piece of wood that goes in the middle needs to be concave at each end to accommodate the ball designs on the opener. Perhaps it is because I'm new to woodturning but I could work out how I could hold the work in a chuck and turn each end concave. One end was not a problem, but two concave ends had me stumped.

My solution was to make it in two pieces and join it together because I couldn't think of anything else. That meant a joint and you can see it below.

Not ideal, but what else could I do. If you have another solution I'd be very pleased to hear about it. In the meanwhile, I will have to use my pyrography iron to disguise the joint and make it look acceptable. I will show you the finished product in my next post.

By the way, "A Staffordshire Boy,"  one of my books is free to download from Amazon until Saturday, so if you want a copy please click on the books tab at the top of the page and then on the book's cover.

I have also been busy on the ipad doing a bit of art and uploading it to my channel, "The Armchair Artist" on Youtube.

 If you would like to see episode 8, please click on this Link.
Thanks for watching.

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Toothpick Pot

Hi all,
What a fantastic week of weather we have just had. I have never known it so warm for so long in February. The garden was full of butterflies and bees and I was sitting there in my tee shirt enjoying the sunshine and doing a bit of pyrography. It doesn't get much better than that at my age because I have given up almost everything I enjoyed that ends with "ing."  Smoking and fishing I missed the most but it's no good moaning you just have to get on with.

Anyway, the weather was most welcome and it took away any excuses about being too cold to go into the workshop. I even managed to finish the toothpick pot that I started a couple of weeks ago. I made this pot because I was fed up with loosing my toothpick. I wanted something that was both practical and looked good on the shelf within reaching distance of my chair.
The pyrograhy decoration was one of my favourite designs and it was all done with a spoon tip. I do like the smaller woodturning projects and I'm about to start turning a bottle opener which I hope to show you in my next post.

Besides the woodturning and pyrography, I have managed to spend a few hours in the evenings on my ipad doing some more art. Towards the end of 2018 I did group of pencil sketches that revolved around flowers growing on a trellis. Here is a couple of them to give you the idea.

These turned out very nice, they were realistic but they lacked a bit of colour. So, armed with the ipad I got at Christmas, I thought I try something similar on my ipad. I wasn't bothered about it coming out very realistic, I just wanted to create an image that is pleasing to the eye.
Anyway, I had a go and even taught myself to make some stamp brushes to make the process easier and quicker.
I use the stamp brushes to allow me to make adjustments to the composition and to make sure I am consistent in shape and size of object. If you are interested in finding out more, I have uploaded the first part of the painting to my channel on youtube. If you would like to see it please  click on the video below and it will take you to "the Armchair Artist" channel.

Thanks for watching. If you enjoyed it please consider subscribing, I only have one at the moment and they are probably very lonely.


Sunday, 24 February 2019

Egg and box

Hi All,
Goods news, my wife is now recovering after a stint in hospital and the weather has warmed up nicely. This means that I will have a bit more time to do creative things and it will be warm enough to go into the workshop.

Last week, I showed you a drawing of a tooth pick pot I said I was going to make, well here is the lid. It is still on the lathe but at least it's a start.
I have turned it out of a piece of lime which takes pyrography very well. In my next post I hope to be able to show you the finished box.

The sun really has been shining in our back garden, so I set up my pyrography iron outside and finished the wooden egg that I'd started last year. It really was nice to catch the warm rays of the sun whilst doing a bit of pyrography. Another advantage of doing pyrography in the garden is that the fumes from the burning wood are taken away on the breeze; it feels much healthier than doing it inside despite the fact that I always use extraction.
So there is the egg, finished with 3 coats of melamine lacquer. I did think of painting the flowers but I thought they look good with just the pyrography. Once the melamine was dry I put the egg in the bowl with the ones I done previously and I now have quite a collection.
I find that decorating these eggs is quite therapeutic. The eggs are also cheap so it makes for a good pastime. I get my eggs off Amazon the delivery is quick and the price is right. The secret to doing good egg decoration is like with any woodwork. They will only ever be as good as the finish, and to get a good finish the wood needs to be prepared. Before decorating an egg I always sand it down with several grades of sandpaper. I start at 150 grit and work my way through the grits to 600, it really does make a difference.

Besides the woodturning and pyrography I have also been busy doing another digital painting, this time of some irises. I have done a video of it and it can be found on my channel at The Armchair Artist.

The eagle eyed may also have spotted that I have added a video link on the righthand side of the page. If you click on that, you will be able to see all 7 episodes of the videos I've done so far. I think I'm getting better, so if you like what you see please consider subscribing and then you'll be able to see how I progress. It doesn't cost anything so you have nothing to lose. I'm not in it to make money, I just like doing the paintings and sharing them.

All comments and questions are welcome.



Sunday, 10 February 2019

Tooth pick box

Hi all,
This year is turning out to be pretty grim so far. My wife has had the paramedics out 5 times and has had 2 stays in hospital. She had the trots for 3 weeks and has lost 2stone in weight. She was actually in hospital for most of this last week so, what with visiting her and looking after her mum who has heart failure, diabetes and Altzhiemers, I haven't had much time for creativity. I hate making excuses but there you go. My wife came out of hospital on Friday and I got a horrible cold on Saturday. I'm begining to think somebody has it in for me.

I did manage a couple of things. Firstly, I firmed up my next woodturning and pyrography project which I hope to start this week. It is only simple, but I think it will be pretty and it is much needed.
Here it is, a tooth pick box.
I don't know what it is about getting older but I seem to need a tooth pick after every meal, yet when I was younger I never used one ever. Must be something to do with the gaps between ones teeth, what's left of them, getting wider as one get older.

The second thing I managed to do was to finish and upload episoide 4 of The Armchair Artist to Youtube. In episode 3 I digitally painted a rose. And, while the rose was okay the background was
crap. So in episode 4 I get rid of the background and paint in some leaves and a bud. You can see how I go about it by clicking here. Hope you enjoy the video, I do hope to get better.

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Walking Stick

Hi all,
I've just had the week from hell so not much achieved regarding creative projects in the workshop. I did start carving some flowers on a walking stick.
However I'm not sure if I should continue with it. The stick is made from chestnut and it is very hard to carve. I've tried the knife and various burrs in my dremel but it is hard work. I guess there was a couple of hours work in what I've done so far so to do a whole stick might not be the best way to spend my time. Perhaps I will do it gradually in the summer when I can sit in the garden and whittle await like a good old boy on a veranda in Oklahoma. I've got a lazy old dog so all I need is the weather.

In between events of a domestic nature, I did manage to do a bit more art on my ipad. This time I thought I'd paint a rose.
If you ignore the crass background I think it is pretty good considering I haven't got a bloody clue what I'm doing with the software. I was experimenting with several brushes to see how I could achieve the effects that I wanted. The problem is I used so many brushes I'm not sure which one had what effect. I guess it is just a matter of practise. Anyway, my foray into digital art all seems to be going in the right direction and will serve me well as and when my legs curtail my activity at the lathe.  I did a short video of the painting and it can be found on my Youtube channel The Armchair Artist .
This is my first video with a taking part so it isn't the best, but like the painting I'm hoping that the videos improve as well.
It is my intention to chart my digital art progress on this channel so if you are interested pleased keep watching.
In my next video I am going to do another rose with a better background and hopefully the flower will be an improvement too.


Sunday, 20 January 2019

2019 a poor start

HI All,
Creating something out of wood is on my to do list but I can't get around to it. 2019 has started very badly for us. Although we are both retired we are full time carers for my mother in law who lives with us. She is in her mid eighties and amongst other things suffers from heart failure and diabetes. Now she has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's which is making things very difficult for us. If that wasn't bad enough, I have had the paramedics out twice to my wife, one of which resulted in a visit to the hospital. This happened on the same day I had to take our dog, Daisy to the vets to have an operation.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not moaning, I'm just trying to explain why I haven't had much time for creative woodwork. Having said that, I have been messing around with my new ipad and doing a bit of artwork whenever I get a couple of minutes in my chair. Learning how to use the ipad, and the "Procreate" art app have been a welcome distraction from the other stuff. Here is my latest digital painting of some birch trees.
 It wasn't meant to be too realistic because I was just trying to see how digital art could cope with creating depth in a painting. The answer is quite easily, it is done by creating layers and altering the opacity of the brush.

I have also been teaching myself to use "imovie" to edit videos for Youtube. I have now created a new Youtube channel called "The Armchair Artist," on there you can see a small clip of how I went about doing the birches painting. Here is a link 
to the video, which is very basic but I hope to get better at the painting and making videos. If you have any questions or comments, both are welcome.

I will get back to the wood soon, I'm sure of it.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Digital Art

Hi all,
Happy new year to you all.

I'm afraid I'm letting the side down when it comes to creative woodwork, I haven't even managed to turn a pen. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, we have been engulfed in the season of over optimistic expectations, which is just another way of saying Christmas can be a bit of a disappointment. The weather has also been a bit cold for a nesh old soul like me, so I haven't been frequenting the workshop at all.

So to answer the question about what I have been doing I will give you the answer. To cheer myself up at Christmas I coughed up a load of money and bought myself an ipad pro. I know this is difficult to understand given my usual miserly way, but all I can say is I must have had a rush of blood.

Anyway, I've always wanted to have a go at digital art so a I thought Id have a bash. Here is the first image I painted digitally.
It only took me a couple of minutes and I was so impressed I thought I do another, this time of a cherry.
Again, this was only a quick study to see if digital art was viable for me. The next thing I did was to take a photo of a cyclamen leaf from my garden. I then imported that into the ipad to use as a reference on the same screen that I was working on. The image on the top left is the photo.
This enabled me to copy it very easily. Again, it was only quick to see what could be done and I'd have to say it has huge potential. If I had taken my time I think I could have rendered a very close copy.

Anyway, I have been so impressed with the ipad and the app that I used for the painting that I have created a new youtube channel called "The Armchair Artist."  Please click on this  link To see my introductory video and my first real go at a digital painting. It is only short but well worth a look.

Some creative woodwork and pyrography will be on the way soon, but I just thought I share my move to digital art with you. Any comments or questions welcome.