Welcome to my blog. I am a young, self-taught artist from the Gulf Coast, who wants to provide pyrographic artwork that sends a clear strong message. Please take time to look through my pages and posts. I appreciate comments, love making new friends, and covet faithful followers. Shout hello if you know me, or are just passing through.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Diving Back For More

               Now that Thanksgiving is behind me I jump back into my routine and finish one project as I move into another.  Although these have nothing to do with Pyrography they are worthy projects to post and I will add that I have completed the commissioned project with the poem called "The Burden". 

               I removed nearly all of the paint from the model using Nail Polish Remover and will begin coating the model with a first layer of paint so that the following layers will adhere better.  I am still tossing around a few ideas for the coat color so if anyone has any ideas, please comment. 

            The bobcat rug I was commissioned to do is nearly completed.  Today I will be finishing sewing it and re-gluing an area once mischievous little cousin pulled lose.  To any more experience taxidermist I must mention that this is my second mount, and first cat.  Despite its obvious faults I have every reason to be proud of it. 

          Although it was a small cat, her pelt is so beautiful and with the care I put into her, she should last a long time. 

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Celebrate the Family

         I'll admit that I don't much like winter.  We don't get snow...and I don't really like snow unless it covers everything.  Sunshine brings true happiness.  Finding happiness in snow is just to cover up the fact you can't be happy without the sun. 

          I've collected Breyer models for several years.  I stumbled across my first models in Walmart when I was in fifth grade and was so ecstatic to find that these plastic models actually looked like horses.  Forget Grand Champions or those velvet fuzzy things- and you didn't find me playing with glitter pastel barbie horses.  NO WAY!  Honestly, those pets from My Littlest Pet Shop give me creeps.  So as I gradually gathered up a herd, I was given a nice wooden stable to house them in.  It took up most of the patio room for a good two years.  I tried my best to accessorize it and make it look like one of those model train sets in convention centers and town halls.  I was only 12 years old then. 

         I was set on edge whenever guests came because they often didn't control their children.  First I'd tried shutting them all in their stalls...but when the toddlers figured out that they could open the little doors and find horses...I began to gather my horses up in my arms and move them to my bedroom and lock the door.  On one occasion, my little brother let our cousins in there...and I walk in...to find them all smashing the horses together...and dropping them on each other...and making them fight!  (wail)  And the tail was broken off of one!  I didn't kill my little brother. 

       I tried super-glue...and krazy-glue...and guerrilla glue...nothing would bond to the plastic.  Years went by.  The model sat broken on display in my bedroom.  I contemplated using goat hair (mohair) by drilling or melting a hole in the plastic where the tail belongs and gluing the hair in.  

       Because all the other glues I had attempted the paint was eaten off the model's rump, I decided to make this one a custom horse.  Breyer models may be heated and reshaped, cut on, and repainted.  Being the daredevil artist that I am, I fearlessly subjected my be-loved model to all forms of torture.  I submerged it in boiling water and adjusted the neck and head and ear so that the horse was making a right turn, right ear laid back.  Then I took my hot knife and sculpted the nostrils, ears, eyes, and mouth (making it open mouth)  And repaired the tail!  It wont be breaking again! 

       Next I will paint it and seal it, enjoy it, and then perhaps, sell it.  Here is a look at what it looked like before it was broken, and what it looks like now.  (Please note that these are pictures of someone elses' model.  Mine looked very much the same)

I sanded the entire horse so that my paint would bond with the plastic better. 

  My sisters are always shocked whenever I destroy something.  That makes the challenge even more fun.  I destroy to make better.  I'll miss my appaloosa sport horse, but I wont tolerate any tailless, naked models atop my furniture any longer!

      I'm thinking of making him/her a light palamino or raspberry roan.  Not sure...consider my possiblities!

Thursday, November 11, 2010


         I'm having fits as I attempt to aline the eyes for the bobcat rugshell.  I did have them installed nicely...and then decided that I could do better.  I should have been satisfied.  Frustrated, I took the stiff skin outside and broke it down into a nice pliable soft leather.  It feels like velvet and it floats like silk.  That should make a nice rug, no?! 

        I can't help thinking about my adventure the other day though.  I had been working for about four hours to install the tounge and jaws into the form, carving and measuring, carving and measuring, adjusting, carving and measuring...and then I finally got to glue it in.  I took my pieces out into the patio, looked at my skin lying on a Yellowjacket bow target, and happily applied the Mohr Jaw Juice.  They weren't kidding when they said it is stronger than critter breath.  I was so glad I didn't bother opening any windows indoors or turning on any fans.  As the application became more messy I ran inside to get a piece of carboard to keep it from curing to the table.  I was gone only ten seconds.  When I returned, I noticed that the skin wasn't on the hunting target. 

       Panic!  My uncle's skin was missing.  I knew I hadn't mislaid it- perhaps my little brother was playing a joke.  I investigated the crime scene.  Doggie prints...drag marks.  The bobcat had been pinched.  "I hope that Tannin makes it sick!"  I growled running across the property, attempting to determine which direction the thief could have flown. 

      Soon I spied the little, black mutt lying in the neighbor's front yard chewing happily on something...white...leathery...catlike.  I ran across the field hoping to reach her before she chewed too many holes in it and at the same time hoping she wouldn't take it and run.  As I crossed the property line I noticed two rough looking young men sitting in the carport.  One was hunched over on a stool while his buddy was giving him a hair cut.  He couldn't have had more than 1/4 of an inch of hair earlier that day but he was getting a haircut anyway.  I ignored them and snatched the pelt from Star, about ready to take her own hide for the deed. 

       As I turned to leave I couldn't help noticing the shock and surprise carved on the features of the two guys.  The one on the stool had his mouth hanging wide open, and the other was holding the scissors and electric razor limply in his hands.  
       "Sorry fella's...(nervous laugh)- Just had to get my bobcat!"  (swinging skin girlishly as I shook from anger, nervousness, embarassment, and the spookiness of the neighbor's place)
       "That's real?!"  The one administering the haircut exclaimed.  
       "Yeah!"  I replied. 
       "I thought it was a stuffed animal.  -Don't mind the dog, she swipes everything."
       I picked up my pace but he stopped me again.  "Hey!  Where'd you get that bobcat?!"
       Knowing how word had spread of my father shooting at the armed intruder I was tempted to say that he had killed it with his bare hands...or...poked it with a skinning knife...or shot it between the eyes at a hundred yards.  Knowing how vunerable I may have looked, I was tempted to say that I had shot it...but then I went ahead and said, "My Uncle shot it."  

       When I returned to the house, I put the skin indoors and immediately fixed the broken latch on the patio door.  I didn't want to loose any more skins to that pooch.    As far as it's come, the cat is salivating almost rabidly- I love that Jaw Juice, and I want his eyes to look angry.  This being my first bobcat and an open mouth mount....well, I give everything I do my best shot...er...uh...yeah- best shot. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Burden

           Updates on the project a friend commissioned me to do.  The pictures aren't doing it justice.  I blacked out the lines of the poem to protect it from thieves whether intentional or unintentional- (I know that after reading something I'm often inspired to write something very similar.)

The burn in the cherry wood is my favorite. I think I like it better than basswood.  The initial designing of Christ and the burdened Pilgrim weren't too time consuming.  The problem I ran into was getting the correct size and being able to fit the poem on the piece at the same time and still have it readable.  The calligraphy I used for the poetry is fabulously eye-catching and easy to read.  Because the stanzas were short and the poem narrow I designed Christ's arms to fill in the rest of the wood.  This leaves a pleasing and equal amount of cherry wood and burned wood.

                      I'm so proud of myself when it comes to the pilgrim at the bottom.  I made his burden look as cumbersome as I could and furthermore threw him on his knees.  I wanted his staff to look like a crucifix as if he were using the cross for support but I thought it better to have the crosses on a hill far away because by the time he got to the cross his burden would have fallen.  Then I put sharp stones and rocks on his path to show the path as rough and hard...nothing easy to walk.  While most sinners think of themselves as living the good life, they are really miserable people once they realize the burden they are carrying. 

                       The crosses have already been burned but I have yet to update the pictures.  I'm currently spread out over three projects, a contest burning, this burning, and a bobcat rug. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

My Tribute

            I have been commissioned by a close friend to burn a poem she wrote on a piece of cherry.  Because the poem has not been copyrighted you will only see updates of the surrounding artwork.  I am excited about this piece because of the message in the artwork itself, not just the words.  The poem- was her artwork.  The burning- mine.  Unfortunately, until her poem is copyrighted, I will not be able to display it on my blog. 
           I am totally amazed at how easily the cherry wood burns. It has amazing qualities and color potential. 

           This post is titled, "My Tribute" because I want to commend a group that is often despised, little recognized, ignored...and honestly wished to be kept out of most people's lives.  I just got my driver's license...I should know.  You're driving down the road at a sane speed and this maniac passes you at about twenty miles faster than you're going- and by the way, you're likely already pushing the speed limit.  And you think, "Man, where are the cops when you need them?" 
            We all know that this analogy represents two kinds of drivers.  There are only two kinds of drivers in the world- believe me.  Every driver fits into one of these two categories.  There are idiots and maniacs- and yes, you fall into one of these two categories no matter how good a driver you are.  The idiots are the drivers travelling slower than you are, and the maniacs are the drivers travelling faster than you. 

           Even as law abiding drivers we all have a tendency to feel uncomfortable when officers are on the road.  You never know when they're in the mood to do a random stop or maybe you aren't really sure if your brake lights are working.  Maybe your the type of person who checked his brake lights before he left but knows that they could have stopped working sometime after the officer pulled out behind you. 

            A day doesn't go by that you don't hear or see something negative about a police officer.  I was sitting in the orthodontic surgeon's office the day of my wisdom teeth surgery and watch on the newscast, a guy getting the stuffing beat out of him in the middle of an intersection by a policeman.  It made oral surgery look pleasant. 

           Considering these sort of facts by themselves gives us the impression that every time you see a police officer he'll be tazing someone...or roughing them up.  But until you've had one come to your rescue you wont know just how friendly they are. 
             Several of them admitted to me that they are extremely bias.  And who wouldn't be after having to haul off bodies and having just hauled off the body of a two year old child the previous week.  They see victims and it makes them bitter.  They have a hatred for crime.  They don't have anything against other humans.  But they'd rather have to hurt the criminal than stand by and see an innocent hurt. 

             A term I often see on U-tube and hear abroad is the phrase, "Dumb Cop".  I read a quote once that went:  "If you hear a man grumbling, 'dumb animal' it is likely because the animal out-foxed him."  And I believe that this is true concerning policemen.  Naturally we'll find the video of a policeman having a bad day and putting his car in reverse when he wanted to put it in drive or tripping up or fumbling. 

            It happens to the best of us. 

            Policemen are humans, people with homes and families.  They're shot at, killed, targeted, and hated simply because they are a tool of the law.  You may have ran into a mean one.  I may soon run into a mean one.  But as I found out November 2nd at 1:30 in the morning, they risked getting shot at by a lunatic 17 year old to protect me and my family.  They did it because we were in need.  They came quickly, they were polite, professional, and frankly they treated that kid pretty nice.  They didn't beat the stuffing out of him at all for terrorizing an innocent man and his family in the middle of the morning.    I know that it's often that they are minding their own business when a criminal takes it upon himself to punish them for upholding the law.  Officers are quietly filing their paperwork when a criminal shoots at them or destroys their property.

             I commend Sam Cochran for his service to the people of Mobile County, and I commend all the officers who make up the local police force.  Although I couldn't quite see their name tags on their uniforms, their faces will all remain very familiar, and you can be sure they are considered friends. 

             It was amazing to see them in action.  Their efficiency, skill, and training is utterly amazing.  We're always thinking to thank our military heroes for fighting overseas...but do we think a moment about thanking the military that protects us in our neighborhoods and towns? 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

American Poverty Is The Lack of Parenting

                  Tuesday, November 2nd, approximately 1:04 AM... my senses were aroused by a series of disturbing noises generated by something huge!  I heard a slamming noise...like that of our deep-freezer in the patio adjacent to my bedroom being opened and closed repeatedly.  I opened my eyes as another loud slam reverberated through the wall to my alert ears.  I sat up in bed, groggily wiping the haze out of my eyes.  The clock read 1:--something AM.  I had only been asleep less than three hours.  This time the slamming held more of a hollow thud - the noise the back door makes when slammed.  I knew that there was someone out there.  My adrenaline began to pump.
                   Mother had already awakened Father and he had turned on the flood lights.  When the lights came on, I decided to cautiously peer out my window.  As I did, I saw the burglar in a light colored hoodie sweatshirt covered in gold paisleys and wearing dark jeans.  I quickly and carefully took down his information knowing that I would need it.  "About 6 foot...maybe...oh...early twenties...light colored sweatshirt, dirty blond crew-cut hair...flashlight...gun...gun...gun!"  I saw him standing in front of our picnic table, brandishing the flashlight in his right hand, and the hand gun in the left.  I immediately retreated from the window as the man swung and aimed the flashlight at my window. 
                   At that moment Dad came into my room to look out my window.  The banging had stopped temporarily as the crook stopped to glance over the meats he had taken from our freezer and placed on the picnic table.  He was probably wondering how he would carry it all away by himself.  "Dad- he's got a gun."  I warned, laying back on my bed.  My two sisters had roused and were sitting up on their beds.  They had heard some of the banging themselves. 
                  At that moment I heard the banging of the carport guard rail (a safety device my dad Incorporated years ago to protect us kids from falling from the high concrete wall while riding our bicycles.  The sound made from someone using it to pull themselves up is all too familiar and unmistakable) as the crook climbed up into the carport and shined the flashlight at my window again.  He rattled the screen.  Fearing that gunfire could erupt at any moment I slid out of bed and ordered my sisters out of the room. 
                  Honestly, they'll tell you that I scrambled, scampered, fled like a rabbit, and said "He's got a gun, I'm getting outta here!" so I'll have to give you their side too.  I'll admit that I did say that, and I did run out looking for a knife or my BB gun- but!  Interjection BUT! While dad had my legs pinned down under my covers I was urging them to get out of the room ahead of me.  When dad finally withdrew from the window and my legs were free, they still had not moved, and I took it upon myself to be the first to leave.  They quickly followed. 

                  Mom, obviously in shock had asked dad permission to call 911.  I went straight to wake my little brother Gabriel who would not move or wake up.  So I had to haul him out of bed while he slept and drag him to my parent's closet.  The crook commenced ramming the back door with his body.  Fortunately for us, there are five steps that precede the doorstep and he didn't have a wide area to stand or even launch from.  

                  Dad went into his closet and procured several guns he owns.  He attempted to load them but the first one jammed.  The banging became more steady and methodical.  I was going into shock.  My body temperature had dropped and I was shaking and my teeth were chattering.  I went into the bathroom looking for a sharp object or knife...tweezers...anything sharp enough to stab and eye out.  Since I had seen the burglar the 911 operator asked me to describe him over the phone.  She was also wanting to talk to dad but he was ignoring mother.  I watched my dad tromping back and forth pulling out ammunition and guns, trying to load them and becoming frustrated.  It sounded as if the door was going to break open at any moment.  

                   The feeling of helplessness was terrible.  Our castle was being seiged for the first time ever.  The door sounded as if it would splinter and I could in minutes be faced with the ugliest devil I'd ever seen.  And I knew that this devil had a gun.  Even with his back turned to my window, my glimpse of him had been a frightening one.  He looked like a convict escaped from jail.  

                   Dad came back to the closet and snatched out his deer rifle.  Loading it, he left and stood in wait.  I heard glass breaking and new that the burglar would be entering the house.  How awful it was to hear my house being shattered and demolished by one deranged maniac.  Then, I heard a single shot split the air.  I expected to hear a scream or a groan or a scuffling noise.  Not able to recognize the shot, I didn't know if the bandit had shot at my dad, or my dad at him.  My adrenaline had been pumping so fast and my ears pounding that the sound of breaking glass and gunfire was muffled and quickly fled my memory.  The time flew so that the entire ordeal seemed to last only seconds.  Looking at the clock, we realized that twenty minutes had passed.  

                  Dad returned to the room and we were relieved to see that he hadn't been shot.  "I don't know where he is.  I couldn't see him, I just saw his shadow through the blinds and thought I'd warn him before his head and  the gun came through."  Dad said.  Mom was still on the phone.  She told Dad that the police were outside and wanted him to come out the front door.  When I saw eight police cars in front of our house, I suddenly felt very safe.  (The  Mobile City Police deserve a Tribute standing by itself in a following post)   

                  I was asked to step outside and describe the burglar.  I'd never stood toe to toe with that many police officers before.  Several of them carried assault rifles with flashlights mounted on them and went into the back yard to investigate.  I gave them my description and answered their questions.  Before I could even finish the officer's radio blared, "They've just found a man on Diamond, not a quarter mile west- requesting back-up- he's armed and putting up a fight- over and out."  Immediately two of the patrol cars on the road sped into action and zoomed up the hill at a terrific speed. 

                  Ten minutes later they returned with the crook in the back of the car.  The continued to question me about his appearance and whatever other details I could remember.  Adrenaline had partially erased some of this information but they brought me the man's bloody sweatshirt to identify and his shoe which they matched with the mud sole marks on our door.  An ambulance arrived immediately to treat him for a serious wound on the wrist.  I could only assume my dad's bullet had grazed him by the amount of blood on the cuff and waist of the sweatshirt.  It is likely that it was caused by glass shrapnel thrown by the bullet coming through the window. 

                   I was terrified when the police announced that they would shine a light in his face so I could get a look at him.  I almost didn't want this because I didn't want to think that it could have been a neighbor kid I went to school with since 2nd grade and even played cars with every day in play centers.  It wasn't the neighbor kid; and they quickly found enough evidence to form a solid case against him. 

                   The officers told us that the guy was asking for a cigarette from the seat of the patrol car and even said, "Why can't I just go home?!"  They wouldn't say if he was under the influence of any drugs but the CSI guy admitted that they wish that dad would have just shot him.  They complained that criminals like this leave jail too quickly and commit the same crimes.  On top of that, it would have saved them hours of paperwork and they have become very biased after ten years on the force and seeing innocent families being carried away in body bags because of fearless criminals.  The forensics detective confiscated dad's rifle temporarily, but after finding that the bullet had apparently not grazed him and it had only been shrapnel that had wounded the crook (and understanding that my dad wanted it for hunting season) gave it back and instructed him on the proper scope to use in case this should ever happen again. 

                    Let me tell  you, police officers are very opinionated people.  They have a great sense of humor, they're very friendly, and they are pro-gun and pro-family.  The people who protect you, do not vote for socialism. 

                    The neighbor sauntered over about the time the detective did.   Her breath reeked of cheap cigarettes and she held the hand of her half-breed grandchild who she babysits constantly.  It was 3:00 AM.  As the detective's face came into the light I immediately recognized him.  I'd seen him around town...somewhere before.  "Hello, I'm detective Bradley."  He said softly.  I looked him over.  "Smallest shoes I ever saw a man wear...short, woman-fine hands...big brown eyes....small nose....brisk, alert...very intelligent gaze..."  I looked at his shirt.  On the cuff the guitar center emblem was sewn into the cloth.  "I knew it!  I knew it!" I thought triumphantly.  "I saw this man working behind the counter at Guitar Center when I went to hang up Pablo Sainz Villegas posters for the Mobile Symphony Youth Orchestra in April earlier this year!  - And he's a detective!"

                     Detective Bradley asked questions and set an officer on fingerprinting.  Dad found the doors on two of our vehicles ajar.  Papers had been thrown around and the sun visors lowered.  We hadn't locked any of the vehicles and were glad that we didn't because the crook may have broken the windows and been even more upset when he didn't find anything valuable inside. 
                     The goods in the freezer were emptied on the picnic table.  Turkeys and Hams were loaded into an empty trash can and whole Chickens were found in a cardboard box.  The only items left in the freezer were my taxidermist specimens: a beautiful squirrel skin from one unlucky electrocution victim, and the skull from the bobcat that my Uncle wants me to clean for him.

                    Detective Bradley asked me and my dad questions, glanced at our identification, and scribbled notes from the crime scene.  Every time a question was directed at either one of us, the neighbor lady broke in.  According to her, the crook was DJ's friend, the slumlord let him, two other guys, and a girl rent a trailer for $200 each a month, the gun he had was a 380 automatic cause she saw it earlier that night when DJ came home from work and found him crouched under their window - but she didn't know him!  The detective became miffed.  The neighbor talked in circles and although she sounded as if she knew everything the cops wanted to know, she continued to ask questions and showed a considerable amount of alarm when she heard that my dad had shot at him.  The following day she stopped the Fox 10 News car and told them that it was her gun the crook had used and that her house had also been robbed.  I doubt she knows the cops plan on furthering their investigation.

                    The CSI detective gave some fancy names to the serious of holes the rifle bullet left in the patio walls, the concrete, the picnic table, and the direction it flew then advised dad to get himself an automatic and mow down anyone else who came along.  "You were very reserved"..."Just the other day...I hauled off a two year old in a body bag"  Detective Bradley stated that the previous week his patrol car had been broken into.  He had spotted the crook trying to break the door open when he fired.  "There's a ding in the car to prove it."  He stated with a small smile. 

                     My mother, still in obvious shock, stayed inside.  I heard her playing the piano at 3:30 AM and singing.  "I Cast All my cares, upon you...I lay, all of my burdens, down at your feet...and anytime that I don't know ...just what to do...I will cast, all my cares upon you..." 

                    The police left at 5:30 that morning and about 6:00 AM we crawled back into bed and slept until 10:00 O'clock.  It took another 24 hours to even think of getting back into routine.  That morning dad replaced the window and reinforced the doors.  Then the news people began circling, as the officer put it, "like vultures" and advised us to go ahead and give them permission to come otherwise they would ask around until they found us and have free reign of what they could film. 

                    Their report was their own interpretation of what happened, and they did leave out our thanks to the Mobile County Police department but the picture they got of Phillip Anthony Johnston was truthful enough.  I wonder if the vibes radiating off his convict face scared me more than the gun.  I would have been more scared to know what he looked like before the ordeal was over as my vivid imagination could have accurately depicted him breaking down our door...my dad was the only physical thing standing between him and us.  He would have been sorry to find that our electronics are stone age, we don't even have a TV, and when he shined his light upon the first wall of our house, he would have come face to face with Christ.  If only Hoffman could have painted those eyes staring straight at the viewer... 

                    So now, I sleep with half of my brain somewhat alert.  Any little rustling outside my room could be a burglar...but dad has purchased more weapons of defense and trained us all in the use of them.  If anybody is curious, I'm a near sure-shot with a gun.  And if you'll excuse my redneck rhetoric, "I ain't easily scared."  I get it from my dad.  I can say that throughout the entire ordeal, he was only stirred...never shaken as he admitted on the news.  Now that you've heard my story, take a look at the crook, who by the way, is as old as my younger sister.  He is 17 years old...   

                   I almost feel sorry for him...almost.  I'm sure the cigarette and drug withdrawal he's dealt with will get the mental faculties working again, and he'll think twice before he ever attempts this neighborhood again.  The Forensics detective said that we should be good for a whole year, and if they know what's good for them the entire generation will remember what could happen...17 years old or not, that kid could have been shot dead. 
                  And if my dad hadn't been armed...we would have been in trouble.  You may think you'll never need a gun until you have a maniac breaking your windows and beating on your doors...and he...is armed with an automatic.  A gun that could easily dispatch more than half a dozen people before any of them can think to tackle him.  The gun, was allegedly the neighbor lady's- but you can never believe anything she says.  For every three sentences she speaks, one is a lie.  And when this guy gets out of jail, he wont be able to get a gun permit.  Where will he get his next gun?  Where do they get their next gun?  Don't think for a moment that if we the people don't have weapons the crooks can't get any.  The crooks will steal them from squad cars and find you helpless...cowering in your bathroom. 

Comments from others: 
November 04, 2010, 1:00PM
one less crack head to worry with, thank goodness for Remington
November 03, 2010, 8:53PM
Borlovan , as I see it , I would have done more ! I know you did right !
November 03, 2010, 7:44PM
People here in Mobile are sick of crime.  Victims taking matters into their own hands is going to happen more and more.
November 03, 2010, 4:42PM
Ive gone to school with this kidd at Semmes Middle && MGM. This is absolutely crazy! The people i used to know and know now are 100% completely differnt people now && this just comes to prove it.