Miniature Rocking Chair

this chair is 12″ tall, it was my first attempt at carving, I tried carving and was hooked~the bluebonnet painting is 3″ X 4″, the globe on the lamp is a ping pong ball

I copied a chair that had belonged to Dan’s grandmother which was over 100 years old. The real chair was hand made and uncomfortable, the seat was too high, so I cut off the legs and made new mortise and tenons, put it back together and it is now (like in The Three Bears story) just right. The miniature  is 12″ tall, my first attempt at carving. It is made from dowel pins and oak wood. Ron Sutto came one day and told me how nice it was, in fact he bragged so much about it, I was feeling just pretty good! After he left, I picked it up and said something like, ‘it is a pretty good piece of work’ ~ then dropped it on the tile floor and it splattered into a dozen pieces. (pride before the fall) I put everything in a shoe box and left it for a couple of months before I had the energy to rebuild it.This was the beginning of a passion for making miniatures.

Texas Landscape

Texas Landscape

This has everything you could wish for, green pasture, sheep, and a windmill

This is a landscape I painted in 1989. The barn was near Fredericksburg,Texas, the rest is just dreamed up. I have never painted on site, everything was painted at my kitchen table. I have always taken pictures of interesting trees to put in a painting, otherwise I would find myself putting the same tree in the next picture. I took pictures of barns and houses, then built a painting around those. Old houses add a lot of interest, they all have a story. A clothes line out back, with some clothes moving in the breeze can bring life to a dilapidated house. You don’t want to see one too far gone, you want to have hope that there is still some life left in it, that someone can still make a home there.

Grist Mill in Glen Rose Texas

Charles Barnard built this grist mill in 1860, it is now an art gallery~

My friend Pat brought me an snap shot of an old grist mill in Glen Rose, it was built back in 1860  and at one time owned by her Great Grandfather Price. She wanted me to paint it for her. She told me the story behind it and I found more information on the internet, so while I was painting, it was interesting to know the history. She remembered visiting her grandmother there when she was growing up so it was part of her young life. Once when she was six years old, her mother put her on a bus in Ballinger, sat her behind the driver and told him not to let her off until she got to Glen Rose where her grandparents were waiting to pick her up. Times were different back then. After I finished the painting and she had it for a few days and came back and wondered if I could add some children playing in the yard.  I asked my little Edmiston neighbors to come over and pose under my oak tree, with a wagon and the swing, then  painted them in the picture. It brought it to life. This old building still stands in Glen Rose, it has been a grist mill, cotton gin, hospital and now an art gallery, many changes in a century and a half.  Pat has this little bit of history hanging on her wall. I enjoyed painting it~

Art Lessons

working on his project

this was a mama painting for sure, to keep for myself

In 1963, we had a seven year old in school and a two year old  baby at home. I was painting every day, it helped keep me from being lonesome. (work and projects always make me happy).  PJ wanted to do whatever I was doing, so I let him paint with me. I could give him a brush and a canvas and he liked it. One day I saw a perfect picture of him working in his pajamas and I painted this ‘mama picture’, something to keep for myself.  Both our boys have been the subject in many paintings. They were always available and willing. Being mama is the best of all blessings, and now I am  mama to my little ‘ four legged babies’.

Miniature John Townsend Secretary

little things are fun to make, and filling the shelves up with pretty things is the best.

Today’s blog is one I originally I posted  last year. I would like to post it again since at that time I had just started my texasmornings  and had very few people looking. I was feeling pretty good when I was up to 9 lookers until someone told me that by the information on the my stat counter, 5 of those were me. So after a couple of weeks, I was up to 4 real people looking. One more thing that confused me was the time, instead of regular time,  it used Military time so it ended up going on in the middle of the afternoon instead of early morning. Someone told me Military time ran from 12:00 midnight to 24 hours later and then started over at 1:00 AM. I would throw that system out but maybe we would have lost a war or something if we had done it my way.

This is a John Townsend secretary I copied from a real one I have in my living room. It is 23″ tall and made of mahogany.  I found a place that made skis from thin strips of wood and they gave me enough scraps for years of projects.  Unlike the smaller miniature furniture, the drawers and doors need work on the larger pieces. It took a while to make it, all the drawer pulls were made from copper wire that I hammered flat, then cut into shape with a scroll saw, probably something like making jewelry.  Dowel pins are great for carving figurines, vases and all the pretty things we like. I found a  jewelry place in Bryan going out of business and bought a box full of stuff. I took the stones out of the earrings and used the bezels to frame tiny photographs. Crystal beads and chains made great  chandeliers. It was always fun making the furniture pieces but the best part was making all fancy things to fill the shelves. There are envelopes the size of a fingernail, addressed and stamped,  inside each one is a two page letter. It only takes simple tools to build and carve these things. I used a coping saw, Diamond Deb fingernail file, emery boards and carpet knife. Later I bought a small scroll saw, it has a round sanding disc to shape the turned pieces. Finding good glue was always a problem, it had to be sticky to start with and then be really strong when it dried. This was always happy work.

Art Show

I painted this as a demonstration during my art show at a Hemphill Well Department Store. I donated this one to the West Texas Rehab Center in San Angelo. It hangs in the beautiful new conference room.

Hemphill Wells in San Angelo invited me to have an art show and demonstration at their store in 1973, (the same time the San Angelo Roping Fiesta was being held  at the fair grounds, the men roped, the wives shopped). I painted for a week and enjoyed every minute. People  came to look and other artists came watch me paint the bluebonnets, landscapes and water scenes. By the third day, they were bringing their folding chairs and staying all day. (Mr. Russell wasn’t too happy, he had planed for it to be a time they would be shopping for pretty things on the fourth floor). This is one of the paintings, it is 24″ X 36″.  Since I was painting under florescent lights, the colors seemed pale,  I had to work to make them brilliant. Later when I came home I found all the pictures were extra bright and a little different from the norm. I was happy with the end results. I was invited back several times for  demonstrations, something I looked forward to. I never taught  art lessons but gave demonstrations along with the art shows. When people watch, they are inspired and they learn a lot of the tricks and  techniques. I learned from an early age  by watching my mother Elizabeth Elder. She was wonderful painter.  If you pick up a brush and squeeze paint out on a pallet, I will be cheering you on! 

Cow Skull

 

Old cow skull

a cow skull makes a nice piece of art for the wall

This is an old steer skull I found in the pasture. First the buzzards, then the bugs, finally staying out in the weather for a couple of years, and it was nice enough to work on. Fine horns, nice bone structure, it was like it had been hand carved. I can just imagine what a beautiful creature he once was. I sanded it down until it was smooth, stained it, then put on several coats of polyurethane varnish , sanding it between each coat. I painted a cattle drive scene on the forehead, then added leather strings and turkey feathers. 

Billy Goat Skull

This is the skull from a billy goat, his horns are 2′ across

A friend who knew I liked to work on the skulls left a goat head on my front porch one morning, It was way way too fresh! I held my breath while I carried it out behind the rock fence and left it for a year. Then I found it there one day and made a wall hanging from it. It is a beautiful skull, I liked working with it. I hope this one lived  a very long time and died of old age. I like goats~

Abe Lincoln

this took several weeks to paint, I loved every minute of it. Only two weeks after this event took place, President Lincoln was  assassinated.

I painted this picture from a black and white Mathew Brady sketch. I was not excited to do it but someone wanted it. Since the sketch had very little detail, I painted in faces that were not there. I ended up with people I knew, members of the family,  I had to improvised. When I thought it was finished, I had to go back and take out the 30.30 rifles, they didn’t have any of those in the Civil War, and replace them with muzzle loaders. I also had to repaint the Mexican people with black people. There was a lot of painting going on with this one. It was a huge challenge, all the faces are the size of a postage stamp .I was loving it by the time I finished. The guy who ordered it traded it for something else. (Some day it will be his again).

Little Folks Figurines

Little Folks

the girl in the blue dress is mine

When ZZ was growing up, her favorite toy was her play kitchen. One year she even got an E-Z-Bake oven and was able to make cakes and cookies. She had her Papa’s little table and two chairs and all kinds of dishes and cookware. She could put a real meal together for her little friends,( both real and play like). It was fun watching her. Most of her other ‘toys’ were how-to books. One was on sculpting and making figures. They were made from polymer that was baked in the oven and came out strong and hard. The figures had finest detail, ribs on the socks, buttons and buttonholes.  She gave one away  to someone special every year . What a thrill to be “the one”. These two pictured are a little boy with his fishing pole, Dan and Debbie got that one for Christmas one year,  the girl in the blue dress and sandals is mine. What a treasure~

Boy Going Fishing

The rod and reel have perfect detail.

Carving and Whittling

this is a group of carved pieces, there has been a lot of whittling going on for years, these are just the things I ended up with.

this is a group of carved pieces, there has been a lot of whittling going on for years, these are just the things I ended up with.

I like the egg, it feels good to hold it. This was one of the first projects and started with a square block of wood.

I like the egg, it feels good to hold it. This was one of the first projects. 

My boys like to carve and whittle. Here are a few of the things they have made. The wooden chain is carved from a single straight board, the egg started as a square block of wood, then there is a box with open center and a carved ball inside. Each of these started with a solid piece of wood.

the little hard hat is carved from bass wood, It has all the detail of a real roughneck’s steel hat.

the leather band inside cushions a blow to the head

There is also a hard hat, made exactly like the steel hats roughnecks wear on drilling rigs. It even has a leather headband inside.

the little shovel is a fine piece of art

My favorite is this spade, made from walnut with a maple handle. The shovel part is carved thin and  is as smooth as silk. It is a contrast between a tool used for hard digging and an exquisite piece of art.

Grooming Old Sally

grooming-old-sally

In l963, I painted this picture from a snapshot my good friend Helen McAngus gave me of her daughter Lisa and nephew Willie. Their horse was Sally~ This picture was one of the most enjoyable  to paint that I can ever remember. I knew these kids well, they had fun growing up in the country, there was always something to do. About six years ago, I had a letter from Helen’s granddaughter Shannon, telling me she had the painting now and how much it meant  to  have something from her mom’s childhood. Since then I have written her notes about Lisa and Willie growing up. Shannon has a beautiful little daughter named Morlee who  looks a lot like Lisa. This picture has been on Face Book but I wanted to put it in my blog, it has come full circle for me, fun from 1963 and on up until today. I love this story, I loved those kids~

Jamaican Dolls

Jamaican Dolls

these dolls are 20″ tall, made from knit socks

Meet Stanley and Rose Olive, the Jamaican dolls I made  in around 1956 . He was a wheeler dealer and she was a show girl. After a while I decided they needed a place to sit so I made the two wing back chairs. Stanley has a pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes in his shirt pocket, he carries a leather bill fold in his pants pocket with a driver’s license and a picture of Rose Olive. She used to have a big purse but lost it. I liked these two characters. A few years ago, someone came to my house and was offended by them so I put them in the cedar chest in the attic for quite a while. I just recently decided to bring them back out and enjoy them again. They are really quiet nice, they have never caused  trouble ~except for that one time~