Friday, January 22, 2016

Now I've Discovered Whittling

I mean, if one of my ladies is weaving baskets out of grass, and another is building a fence out of sticks with her bare hands while at the same time canning all of her own food, what am I offering to this Future Utopian Compound?? Not much, that's for sure.

I love knives, and my yard is full of sticks because we are super shitty at lawn maintenance. So I decided that I was going to whittle!! I did some poking around and was pleasantly surprised to discover how many whittling enthusiasts there are swapping info online. I figured they would be too busy whittlin' and choppin' and growin' beards to learn about the innerwebs. Luckily for me, they were not.

The Practical Old Dude Consensus on whittlin' knives led me to Opinel. I got this beauty for $12.49:

But they offer personalized engraving for 5 bucks!

SQUEEEEE!! Elsewhere I acquired a couple of Practical Old Dude whittling books, a sharpening stone and oil, a strop, and bless the Youtube denizens for instructional sharpening videos. My Opinel sharpened and ready, I dove right in.

Perfection. Time to gloat.

After mastering the spreader, I moved on to Santa pencils. I don't have any red pencils, so mine are more just dudes with long beards.

Hands of a seasoned lumberjack.

Next up was the "Five Minute Owl" that in my expert hands took a mere two hours to complete:

I painted him black and then dry brushed red on top of that. Now it is impossible to tell the difference between my Two Hour Owl and an ancient artifact. Absolutely stunning.

I now feel that I may proudly hold my head up at the Future Utopian Compound. But first I have to whittle a pile of wizard pencils for the demanding husband. A whittler's work is never done...

Thursday, January 21, 2016

"I'm Your Density"

What's my login again? Five months? Is that an improvement? At least xmas is over, but I'll get to that later.

Yesterday I had one of my incapacitating headaches. Today I am riding out the last of the heavy meds. I'm kind of numb, kind of jittery, and maintenance keeps setting the fire alarm off so I'm kind of homicidal. It's gonna be a long day. But this post is about a major life step, so Ima sack up and keep typing.

Last November I attended a week of artist workshops in Santa Fe called ArtFusion. One of these workshops was on encaustics, taught by Angel Wynn.

The first time I saw an encaustic wax painting I didn't know what the technique was called, but I knew I was going to do it. But I held off because it's an expensive hobby, sort of maybe toxic (at this point I'm sure I have E6000 and Sparkle Mod-Podge Cancer, so what's one more?), and also it seemed really difficult. So I jumped at the chance to take this workshop and learn what encaustics are all about. It didn't hurt that I love the shit out of New Mexico, bonus, so off I went.

The day of the workshop we all headed to the Encaustic Art Institute to meet Angel Wynn. We arrived before she did, so we had time to walk around and look at her art, which is amazing.

When Angel arrived, we found out that not only is she talented, but also beautiful and a snappy dresser:

That giant grin is because she gets to live in Santa Fe, and it puts me one day closer to buying an Airstream and burning down my house. I'M COMING FOR YOU, NEW MEXICO.

Speaking of fire, guess what?

Ohhhh yeahhhh. I didn't even know that part. GUESS WHO LOVES TORCHES? (Also, get you some of that Gloves in a Bottle because it is rad. When your days are as water-heavy as mine are, you need all the help you can get. My hands should be splitting open right now. Bless you Gloves in a Bottle, and thanks Angel for the recommendation.)

Over the course of the day we slung wax all over the Institute and ourselves and each other, learned about Angel's setup, supply houses, do's and don'ts, and got some frank talk regarding selling your art. We each left with four completed encaustic paintings, but two are a future birthday gift for the BFF so right now I can only show these:

They came out okay, right? I was encouraged by this. So as soon as my plane touched down at Hartsfield, I pulled out the Amex and bit the bullet. It was finally time to meet my destiny.

Here's what I've cooked up at home, and I'll try to list them in order:

I'm having a blast. And I have been so busy cranking these out that I have not bothered to take a photo of my setup. I will do that the next time I fire it up. Which will be soon.

Thank you Angel Wynn, thank you New Mexico, thank you Amex. The prophecy has been fulfilled.