Saturday, March 14, 2015

My New Toy

Santa brought me something last December. I broke it out and started playing around with it recently. I'm getting hooked.

As a kid, I thought of myself as an artist. I did some drawing, mostly pencil with some pastel work and ink-dot. I did a lot of calligraphy. My brother had a wood burner that I tried once or twice. When you use one, you slowly follow lines drawn on a piece of wood, it makes dark burned lines, and when you're done you think, "well, that was interesting" before putting it away and never breaking it out again.

As usual, my wife knows better.

I knew I needed one since I lost the talents of John at the Wood Hobby Shop in Iwakuni. Sometimes clients wanted a name or Eagle, Globe and Anchor on a pen and since laser engravers are darned expensive, woodburning was my only option. John would always hook me up ... for a small fee. But I didn't have John any more. So I put it on my X-mas list and figured I'd learn how to operate it sooner or later. 

So one day my lives ran out on Candy Crush (see previous post), and I thought I'd play around with my new toy. One of the Japanese guys in Iwakuni was a real artist with a woodburner, so I saw firsthand what could be done. He was incredible. He actually made me the samurai box above as a going away gift.

I grabbed a piece of scrap pine and started doodling. Ok, Ok. Some line art should be easy. I converted Rosenthal's Iwo Jima photo to line art and gave it a shot. Hmm. Interesting. But what about shading? I tried a sphere. It really wasn't that hard. Hmm.

Brenda asked for a woodburn of the Mia Jima Floating Tori. Not my best work, but it was my first real attempt. Not bad, overall. And I learned more each time I picked it up. I did a mock of Michaelangelo's David using mostly shading with few lines. It was easier than I thought (all except the face, which didn't turn out quite right).

 Next I thought I'd try a Celtic cross. BIG mistake. That was HARD. But it didn't turn out half bad. Brenda wanted Gaelic for "Welcome" burned in at the bottom, which came out a little off center, but it's for us  so that's OK. She added some thinned green paint and a ribbon and now the piece greets our guests at the door.

It was also her idea to start woodburning my ring boxes. See why I keep her around? 

Now I've got stencils and no end to the ideas I want to burn onto the lids.


I was working on one at the in-laws' house when G-ma asked if I would do her old house in West Virginia from an old photo. No Rembrandt, but certainly not half-bad as it turned out.

I want to know! What have you recently picked up and really started to enjoy? Leave a comment below!

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