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Holy Cow – Still Sheltering in Place

The masked Motley Artist

The shelter in place continues…. you see me here with a make made by my wife. She is a quilter and talented fabric artist. She is making masks to donate and is now also making scrubs for the local hospital. I am proud of her and will be helping wherever I can to make supplies to donate. We only go out once a week or so to do the essential shopping. We will continue to do the shelter in place till the end of the month, or when they say it’s ok to go out. I really hope that we will have the various markets I was planning to attend.

I am doing my part to help the economy, I have had to order more paper from Dick Blick since I am doing so many paintings. below are a few of my recent ones. I have also broken out a stash of large paper for some of my new series of driftwood accent frames in large formats. I had to order new blades for my band saw, cutting driftwood for my lamps and frames, I discover a few embedded rocks and broke 3 blades in 3 days. Ordering other lamp parts as well, we are keeping the delivery guys busy.

Holy cow is right, these were done for a friend of my wife who loves cows. These won’t make it to my gallery for sale, but they were so much fun I will do more.

I have also completed a few more of my driftwood accent frames. The Bluebird on a branch and the Cedar Waxwing are hanging on the wall in the living room. I am really happy with the way the painted branch fits is an extension for the driftwood. I find that making the driftwood accent frames is an exercise in fitting and adjusting.

Digging into my bin of driftwood puts many ideas into my head, I am working on 4 new lamps and 3 more driftwood accent frames.

With nice spring weather and temps in the 50’s, the outdoors is calling, winter was not kind to the yard so yardwork is now a priority during the nice days.

Stay Safe….

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The Joy of Shelter In Place – Coronavirus

A week if shelter in place has let me spend a lot of time in the studio. I have been able to finish several paintings, make more frames and build a few lamps. I like spending the time working on new projects and some worked and didn’t, the ones the need work (failures) are on a shelf waiting for inspiration.

The featured piece on the blog is a painting that will not go on the market right away. It’s a unique frame and painting and was an experimental piece. I can see it being a future series, when I can find the right materials.

I finished several paintings a few are in the gallery below.

My new paintings included one of our previous dog Jill, a wire fox terrier. This one will not be for sale, my wife has already claimed it.

My wife the dog and I spent time on the local beach scavenging for driftwood and stones for my lamps. Niko was in and out of the lake swimming several times, I know its mid March but she is a lab and her tail wagged the whole time. The driftwood will have to be dried before i can work with it.

I pawed through several pieces of driftwood from my storage bin and came up with a few pieces that inspired me. These lamps are a little shorter at 22″ with shade, than my prior version and I am waiting on new sockets to finish them off, I use a dimmable socket and didn’t have any to finish the lamps.

I decided, with the shelter in place mandate, to order them and not go out to the local hardware store. Once I complete them they will go up for sale.

More to come ….

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Winter Market and Coronavirus

Winter Market Booth 1

I was able to participate in the Westport NY Winter Market on March 14, 2020. This a winter farmers market held in the Heritage House. I had been planning on this market to be my first of the year, well before the craziness of the Coronavirus started. I build stands for paintings that were made to clamp to a table. I had to bring my own small folding table, along with a couple of other tables, and using my bins with a top to hold a rack of my paintings. I had a 8′ by 6′ space to display my art, I pre-staged the layout in my home based on the limits. I was pleased with my small space, it came together quite well.

My wife had invited a few of her quilting and master gardener friends and many of them came, despite so many other events being canceled. Some of her friends had seen my work at my home. I recognize the need to build a mailing list and contacts, this will be a challenge for the future.

I was able to sell a couple of paintings and I made contact with a few people that requested other paintings. I didn’t want to start with commissions for their requests, so I will make them on speculation. All the new requests were derivatives of projects I am already working on. Once I complete items, I will let the people know and if they want them then we can close the deal. I was able to sell some note cards that I had made to test the market for such items. I was surprised that they were a good seller and had request to extend the cards available. These will be an item for every show.

Of course my first show coincided with the start of the Coronavirus pandemic. several events had already been canceled and as of writing this almost everything is being put on hold.

With the Winter Market complete , I am hoping that the one in April will go off as planned.


With the first instance of the virus being reported in the area, the shelter in place recommendation I think it will be an interesting spring. I will take this time to make more art and work on projects around home. My wife and I are not “High Risk” but I am glad that I know that I now work for myself and had planned on taking a year to get everything in place. I will admit that my retirement investments have taken a large hit, but I am sure it will all come back eventually. I’m not one to panic and my wife and I both flexible so I don’t worry about the future. I am going to enjoy my time working for myself and building my art business.

I have ordered a few supplies and I will make a lot of art to build up an inventory of products, and take time to explore more areas of interest.

I have already worked on several new paintings in the last couple of days, with one new one that I have great hopes for almost completed. It mixes a couple of materials an I like it so far, so this is a teaser for a post later in the week.

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Days In the Studio

This week I have spent my time painting. I have completed several paintings and made another dozen frames for those paintings. I have been painting dogs and cats, I find that painting puppies is most enjoyable.

I am watching the events unfold around the corona virus and hope that the panic will subside soon. I’m not sure what effect it will have on the farmers markets and art fairs, but I intend to go if they are held. I will miss the sporting events most, I love to watch sport while working around the studio.

This is my sad hound dog face, I am missing hockey most of all. I wish I had good internet, I would like to watch Youtube events, like the curling events form Canada.

Will share more soon.

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Organization and Creation


I find that when I am unsure what to tackle next, I clean up the shop. The act of cleaning and organizing seems to reset my creative process. This week I discover that needed to take time to organize my online workshop. I realized that I was showing items on my website that I have already sold. I had a collector come to my home to pick out a few paintings for a baby shower gift. It was nice to get the positive feedback and she had been to my website and ask if I had any more available. I was able to load all my current paintings and I still have to photograph and add more of my sculptures and furniture to the site.

Check out my gallery for all my current paintings.


I have painted several paintings of our dog Niko, and on request completed paintings of Hazel and Fuji for family. I will do pet paintings on commission, with a good photo.

This past week I start painting dogs and cats. Several of them were memories of my youth. I love being a full time artist, I have the time to try more new things.

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Cloud Lamp

The cloud with the crystal rain drops is a whimsical night light. Just another tangent of art without boundaries, going where ever my thoughts take me.

By using Swarovski crystals it sparkles and shows rainbow effects on the wall. The cloud lamp is made to use the 5v led strip lights so that it is powered by a USB charger, like the ones use to charge phones.

This is a new take on my original umbrella light. How did this all start, I was playing with a strip of LED lights that I used in my tall wood strip lamp and had a jar of tiny crystals on my workspace, I saw the sparkle and thought of slashes in water. Pick a few crystals and add a little wire and raindrops. a little wide and raindrops.

I will sell the lamps soon on my site.

I have included several build pictures if you want to try building it yourself. LEDs were purchased from amazon. Crystals were ones I got from a clearance sale at Swarovski Lighting when I worked there. I used separate pieces of 1/4” plywood to make assembly easier. The switch and 5.5mm plug were also purchased at Amazon. I made sure the base would be heavy enough to avoid tipping and thick enough to allow installing the plug and switch. Paint with enamel paint and a quick spray of blue paint. I then added the crystals with a dab of hot glue.

Let me know if you have questions about the build.

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First Driftwood and Stone Lamps

Hollow Branch Lamp

Another week of free time in the studio. I was able to get to a location that had internet access where I could start to upload more images for the web site. I have major problems with internet access at my home, no cable and no DSL that works. Now my wireless hub is acting up.

I promised lamps in an earlier post so I have finally been able to get some photos and upload them to the site. I completed 4 lamps so far and have a couple of others on the workbench. I enjoy the beech feal with stones and driftwood of our shoreline.

You can find the rest of my lamps in my gallery under furniture.

I have put in applications for a couple of art fairs and if I am accepted I will add them to a calendar of events. I am also working on a newsletter that will celebrate all the art items I had produced for the month.

Spiral Branch Lamp
Spiral Branch Lamp
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A Great Week in the Studio

For the past week I have enjoyed the ability to spend almost all my time in the studio. Now that I am retired I look forward to every day. I have been delayed posting by internet problems. It goes up and down and is one of my biggest frustrations and concerns now that I work for myself.

I made 50 frames for my most recent paintings, and after mounting all the paintings I find I need a few more. Not all 50 paintings are from this week, I have only finished about a dozen since my last blog post. Most of the remaining paintings are from earlier this year. My header photo is from my shop showing some of the frames in process.

I work in watercolor but I like to spray them with a UV protection and finish with Kamar varnish so I don’t have to use glass. I like the matte finish of the final product. The frames are all made from cedar that I cut to size and that lets me set the subject in the best position. Making frames is enjoyable and I love the smell of cedar.

Finishing without glass makes the paintings of bunnies, puppies and birds appropriate for a child’s room. No broken glass if one gets bumped off the wall.

I Painted some puppies this week.

I’m going through the stack of finished paintings and photographing them, and once my internet situation improves, I will post to my gallery pages.

Enjoying Life….

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Buzzing Around My Studio

This whole weekend I have been buzzing around my studio jumping from one project to another. That’s when I’m not out blowing snow from the recent storm. I will admit that time on the tractor is a way to slow down and not feed the frenzied thinking. After doing 5 neighbors I ran out of warmth and snow.

All I can think of now that I am no longer tied to my job, is all possibilities to make art. When I go into the studio I find that I’m trying to do them all at the same time. I pick up one item and while holding it I will see something else that I also want to do.

Even when I settle on a project, I will find myself thinking about all the things I want to do to begin to build my art business. I’m sure that this state of frenetic activity will calm down as time passes.

I needed to end the day today with my paintbrush, just to help myself to slow down. I chose a calming subject, Sleepy Puppies. Of course I still couldn’t just do that, so I set up a way to shoot a time lapse video of the painting process as well. Ooh, Now I have to figure out how to post it, and feed Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and YouTube.


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Preparing for Transition

This week is very odd, I am working with my team in the office to prepare them for my departure. Friday is my last day at my job and dumping all the key information in my head to my team is harder than I thought. I touch on one thing and a dozen other important tidbits pop up. Trying to stay at a high level, it’s nice that my guys are so professional, and it really helps that they are all smarter than me. That is the key to success, hire people smarter than you, set high expectations and turn them loose. They have never disappointed me.

I will miss my team and many of my colleagues. The nice thing is I live in a small town so I will bump into them often. I hope to see them at local craft markets.

I have not gotten depressed about being laid off, quite the opposite, it’s hard not to smile. With the company struggling, I was anticipating drastic changes. I’m not surprised it was me that got laid off. I developed an incredibly strong team that are more than capable of carrying on without me. I basically have worked my self out of my job, and I’m proud of it.

I do feel for the others in the lay-off. I am the lucky one where I had planned for this. I have contacted several others to pass along contacts for potential jobs. Good thing the local job market is strong.

I do have a lot of things to take care of over the next month or so due to the changes. Finding good affordable healthcare options is the big one, but I will take advantage of the employee assistance program to get things started.

My plan is to take a few weeks to enjoy not having a day job and spend quality time in the studio. This is the first time since I was 15 that I have not had a job working for someone else. I’m sure I will learn a lot about being a full time artist, and plan to make this blog a journal of my journey.

Sleeping baby chickadee wood carving.

One thing I am scrambling to do is get more of my artworks onto my web site. Like this carving, the challenge is getting good pictures.