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.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My New Burn

              My Optima 1 pyrography burner arrived in the mail today which was very exciting.  However, I can't figure out why the mailman had to put it behind the house in the patio...when we were home.  I was very pleased with the package, the pens, and everything that came with it.  The quality is great and I can't wait to get started burning.  

              My only wonder is how the owner of the company could tell me not to burn red oak and yew (red oak being odoriferous and yew vapors being toxic) when the package he sent me reeked of cigar smoke.  I might inhale red oak and yew vapors anyday before I stuck my nose within a good four yards of cigar smoke. 

             I have found upon experimenting that oak does not make a good burning surface and will not keep it stocked.  Cherry is very nice and Maple is as well although I haven't had any oppourtunity to burn on Maple.  Basswood is by far my favorite.  So now that I have my new burner you will see some old projects springing forth again...and some aweome new ones.  Although, one highly top secret project will not be posted until the end of May.

              Apart from pyrography my friend who asked to see me playing my panlfute also wanted to see me playing my silver flute.  Getting a good quality video of any piece I have practised lately is hard so I've pulled one from not TOO long ago.  My May 2010 flute recital.  The church made for an excellent flute space...so echoee.  Enjoy.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Optima Burner Pyrography

             I am excited to announce that near the end of this week my new (real) pyrography burner will arrive.  I chose Optima after much research and budgeting.  It may take me some time to re-learn (but I am a quick adapter) to not press the hot iron into the wood like I have had to do with my Walnut Hollow Iron.  I feel already that when I touch this professional Optima burner I will not want to even look at the craft iron again.  

             The Optima burner pens do not retain heat as the thick heads on the craft irons do.  This gives you a rock steady temperature.  Otherwise, you might be burning a piece of basswood a lovely pink when the heat stored in the pen tip begins to climb causing that lovely pink to turn to dark brown.  You may not notice an immediate change in my burnings, but I will never again burn a monotone picture.  This also opens the doors to human portraits.  

             A friend requested some time ago that I youtube myself practicing my panflute, so here it is.  My tuning from note to note is somewhat shaky and I haven't found my style or inner panflute personality but it should come with time and practice.  I never perform as well whenever a camera is running.  That's just how it works, doesn't it?  And not four days ago I had a full set of braces glued to every tooth in my head so I had to kick things into high gear to even get my playing acceptable for the weekend orchestra rehearsal.  I don't think...Dr. Seebacher noticed.  I was a little when I got home Thursday evening and found that I couldn't blow a single note...
               The song here is called "Isn't He" which sounds better with two instruments echoing each other.  

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Breyer WEG Color Contest Winners!!

         I checked Breyer Reeves' website for updates on their coloring contest winners just a week ago and hadn't seen anything.  I figured I had been disqualified for using cardboard paper or it had gotten lost in the mail...or I just simply hadn't won.  And today, as I was busily sketching my orchestra conductor Dr. Robert J. Seebacher (attempting to plan out a top secret project that you will hear about if I succeed) I heard clunking...as if some prowler was trying to break into my house!!

         I was ALL alone.  Cautiously, I checked the windows and made sure the doors were locked and bolted.  A few minutes into my work, I heard more knocking and wondered if perhaps I should check again.  Nobody.  Finally, when my siblings returned from their dentist appointment they announced that there was a large package sitting at the door.  And it was addressed to me.  Just then, the opossum that lives under my house clunked the pipes again.  Apparently, I had mistaken the noises of this creature as a daytime burglar and so when the mailman made similar noises, shrugged it off. 

        "You didn't do any shopping recently, did you?"  Mom asked. 
"Me no!  I don't know the first thing about buying online!!  I didn't order anything!"  I was quite in shock.  The box was addressed to me...from Pequannock, New Jersey...from Breyer Reeves International.  Opening it, I realized that my entry had WON!  I WON the contest!  In the 17 and up age bracket I had one 1st place!!
I didn't know whether to laugh or cry...I just stood there. 

         "Really?!  For real really?!  I won 1st?!  There's gotta be some mistake- surely it was honorable mention or 3rd...1st?!"  I squeaked.  "But all those proffesionals...with art degrees...and licenses...me?!"  I tore through the box looking for the coveted Espirit model that 1st place was to recieve.  I found the set of Classics and a whole bunch of stablemates.  "Did I win 2nd...that sounds more like it, maybe there was a typo." 

        Checking online I found that I did indeed win 1st, and that Breyer will be sending me the Espirit model.  I'm not a Stablemate collector after all and I do love the Classics, but the Espirit was what I had been after.  I must thank them for their kindness in correcting the mistake. This was my first EVER contest to enter and even win!!  And I am so happy.  I must say that there were artists in the younger age bracket that would have blown mine away and I'm so proud for them as well because at their age, I would not have been able to compete.  My art at their age was fairly pathetic. 

But I am a proud winner and I should be of my very first contest!  And I'm sure the winners from the other groups are just as well.  Bravo to them all!  To see other contestant's wonderful work visit this link.  You can even access their Facebook page from there.

You can't really see the etched roaning on my work in the picture.  I think it is better seen in my older post about the entry when I thought I had lost the contest. 

I shall be considering names for all of my beauties soon. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pyrography Ship and Map

Today I sat down and burned away and I have almost completed the little sea chest!  Clouds, gulls, rocks, and shadows completed it nicely. 

On the side with the rose compass I added details of a map, shading the land so that it is distinguished from the water and naming rivers, islands, and even a mountain. 

I thought about adding to the anchor's side...but haven't come up with anything as of yet. 

I've never tried a seascape before or even drawn a ship.  I've done childish outlines of small fishing boats or a magna doodle sketch of a steamer or battleship, NEVER was I even brave enough to attempt a fully rigged Clipper or Schooner.  And yet my first doesn't pass my own critisism test...I find something awkward about the masts...not tall enough maybe?

I love the way the map turned out so that I think I am quite already addicted to burning maps and hope to burn more in the future.  Maps have always intrigued me, I studied them in my free time as a child.  And I think that if I burn maps, some child may wander up to the burning and study the topography and the little bays and inlets, and read the foreign names of the bays and islands and wonder what it must be like to explore some far away place.

Thanks for coming and visit again soon!  Don't forget to Facebook my homepage for all your friends to see. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

New Projects

 I'm sure you've noticed that I've stopped updating on the Father's Portrait.  This is solely because I need a temperature controlled burner which I will soon be investing in. 

As spring rolls in I have been moving into other projects as well: one being a taxidermy project in which I will make a deer foot gun or coat rack and burn a wildlife scene into the wood above. 
The other being a turtle shell I want to decorate, and the third being some unique pieces of water sculpted wood, one piece that I am still working at freeing from under a humongous boulder.

It is quite a bit of work but I am in such love with that piece of wood that I doubt I will give up on it any time soon. 

As you can see in the above pictures I am burning a pine wood box.  The lid is covered by a beautiful Schooner or Clipper ship...although I think Clipper ships often have four to five masts.  Anyhow, I have also burned an anchor on the side and not pictured an ornate Compass Rose on the other. 

While toiling after that one piece of wood under the boulder I unearthed another interesting piece of wood from the creek bed.  While most woods will rot in water, hardwoods are often preserved.  But these two pieces I dug up were roots...lumpy bumpy, roots.  And I loved them.  So I packed them back and cleaned them off and hope to decorate them by setting semi-precious stones in them, wrapping copper around some of their ends, and accenting their cracks and bumps with gold.  It should make a wonderful contemporary mantle piece...because I can find no other purpose for this wood than to sit and look pretty!!

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Dinah was GONE

         The other day I had quite a scare.  A feral cat living in the neighborhood had alread taken three of my chickens when they were very young and was still hanging around.  I've been very conscious of him and take measures to protect from flock from him.  But the other day I walked out and found Dinah missing.  I called for her and walked all the way around the property calling and calling and looking. 

          After employing the rest of the family in my search and to no avail  I began to let my mind convince me that even though there were no feather found anywhere ...some predator must have taken my little Dinah.  I began to cry...and determined to get on the computer right then and spend $150 on a varmint pellet gun that would rid me of any predator that crossed over onto my property and threatened my birds. 

          A few minutes later, Mom called me because she had found Dinah, sneaking out from under the house.  After I chased her down and killed her (figuratively) and hugged her close and kissed her and cried some more, relieved to have her back, I spanked her (lovingly) set her down and went under the house to see what she had been doing all this time. 

         As I had suspected, there was a pile of eggs in the sand.  She had hunkered down and kept quiet to protect her collection!! 

         Today I completely skinned the deer feet and salted them.  Now I will have to keep an eye out for that perfect piece of wood to mount them on.  I will not burn on pine, so I hope to find some Oak or Walnut, even Cherry would be better. 

          I have halted work on special edition pieces temporarily while I go about purchasing a temperature controlled iron.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

To All My Dormant Fans!

       To all my dormant fans and followers!  I haven't posted in a few days simply because I haven't done any burning in a few days.  However, during that time I found an old leather wallet that I cleaned up and burned this morning!  The only thing I don't like about burning on leather is the smell.  The flying eagle and eagle head I did on both of the billfolds turned out nicely. 

       I found the owner of the hero bracelet by the way.  His real name is Milton Brandow.  He hasn't replied to me yet but this should be my last effort at getting the bracelet back to him.

        I should put pictures soon.  I can't really explain what has caused me to procrastinate my usual burning and what has squelched my inspiration.  The only thing I can think of was some inner unrest caused by the buildup of 1 year and 2 months of simmering curiosity that finally reached the boiling point. 
        I HAD to find this person from the past.  And I have.  Found him knowing only his first name, amognst thousands of other possibilities.  What were the odds?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Pi - The Circle is my favorite Shape

I know it will sound just horrible of me to say that as a Senior I considered doing something like this but I did.  And I didn't have the means to do it.  But I will still give this guy all the credit because he had the talent to put this into an awesome video and on top of that, release it on 3/14/11!! 

While the video may make you think "oh-kay....whatever."  At the beginning wait until the circle begins to move faster.  It's really neat.  I always wondered what Pi would sound like...as a song!  I will add that as a Senior...bored in Geometry class, I wondered that since Pi was a never ending number...I could create a potentially neverending song! 

It would have been more exciting than neverending Geometry class anyway!  Enjoy!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Book Review

              Sorry I do not have any updated pictures of my woodburnings posted.  I had to take a day off because of a power outage caused by violent storms passing through, which also happened to spawn tornadoes in the area.  I am also searching for temperature controlled pyrogaphy irons as I feel that in order to progress the quality and style of the art I will need...the real thing, and not some hobby iron. 

             Apart from that I am searching on what to do with an item I've held for a long time.  I was walking a trail in the woods behind my house when I came across the belly piece pictured below leaned up against a tree on the side of the ATV trail.  I didn't know what it was until I drew closer, and picking it up, continued on trying to solve the mystery of how it got there.  A couple dozen yards farther south on the trail I found the top of the shell and the scale peices strewn around it.  I don't know how it died and how it was left in such good shape...if you can call the missing shells good shape - but my past experience is that turtle shells will fall apart when left in water.  Anyway, I could laquer it as is...or strip off the remaining shell pieces and paint it.  I haven't made up my mind because I don't want to ruin it...and it's such a once in a lifetime find...I really don't want to sell it...unless of course...it's the right price. 

             I also plan on doing a book review on Hope Unseen by Captain Scotty Smiley.  I never did hate doing book reports in school...but we wont call this a report.  Thats sounds too constructive.  This will be my own personal review...as if I'm somebody really important who everybody should listen to.  (Grins)  I might even post a youtube video of my review since initially I was going to share with my blog readers post by post about the book...but alas, pageviews have waned to almost ZERO!  So, I will soon have a link of my review or a post, whichever I decide on. 

Thanks for coming, checkback soon, and feel free to give me your ideas on that turtle shell. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Book Review on Hope Unseen

        I'm stalling on woodburning at the moment as the temptation to be outdoors in this lovely spring weather is TOO overwhelming for me.  I'm still waiting on my Havalon scalpal to arrive in the mail and then I'll likely have some updates on my next taxidermy projects.  But today, *happy dance*, my book arrived in the mail!  And my four little precious peeps have been laying up a storm and provided me with a baker's dozen!! 

Their eggs are actually quite large now, because they are Buff Orpingtons after all and they taste delicious!  I have never enjoyed eggs more.  They also make deserts such as brownies, cookies, cakes, etc blue ribbon quality. 

Broody Babette is already over her broodiness.  In fact, her comb quickly returned to its true red color, she dustbathed, and then as the hormone levels began to even out...she took all her frustration out on poor Dinah who she mercilessly bullied for the rest of the day!

 I'm very excited about starting this book, and may do some reviews on it as I read.  This book is a First Edition hard cover that I am proud to call my own and my fingers are just itching to turn every crisp leaf right now. 

So...I will go now and soak in some sun while I enjoy my book...right now.

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Check out my Etsy store as well!

Oh - one last comment.  Don't forget to check out the video at the bottom.  It should be dedicated to my cousin Timothy as the lyrics speak right from his heart. 

Too good David!  I love it.  And yes people often ask to call my landline because our AT&T is so bad...yeah, Timothy's right.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Broody Hen

             I suspected the other day when I pulled Babette off the nest that she was going broody.  I collect the eggs regularly, and there was only one egg under her at the time but she's a Buff Orpington, and only about 7 months old.  This morning I noticed that only three hens came out of the henhouse so about lunchtime I go out and find Babette, seated squarely in the nest where she had been since last night!!

             To the isolation pen she went!  This of course is my first time dealing with a broody hen so it's a very new experience.  I go suspicious first when I noticed the large amount of feathers left in the nest and suspected they were dropping from her crop.  She is now completely bald there!  A few hours later I go to check on her and find the pen empty.  So I check the nest, and there she is!  Now I have her locked up in a wire cage as others say that so long as she can't sit comfortably a few days in the wire cage should break her broodiness.

            I wish I had some eggs to set under her but she's so young and I can't imagine what started it.  I hope she gets over this quickly.  I've been tickled to death by city folk who think hens wont lay eggs without a rooster around or wont get broody without a rooster around, etc.  Surprising they don't think of a woman's timing or moodiness...with or without a man around. 
            But my girls are the best!  I ran across some adorable saying the other day, "The rooster may rule the roost, but they don't call it a hen house for nothing!"  and "The Rooster does all the crowing but the hen delivers the egg"

            As for my portrait of the US solider holding the infant, I'm taking it slowly, plugging and unplugging my iron when the temperature gets too high or too low.  I will be SO grateful when I get to invest in a temperature controlled iron!

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Friday, March 4, 2011


           The piece is coming along quickly, although not as well as I had hoped.  The wood grain of the oak is a little tricky as I'm new to burning on oak.  This will be a good bit of practise for me, but I don't yet know how to improve it. 

           I am not entirely pleased with the expression on the soldier's face.  The grain made it even harder to create.  I think that if I had his mouth dome correctly it would help as the eyes can't get much better as I've burned and erased and burned again. 

          As hard to imagine as it was previously, this oak piece burned really quickly.  I would love to invest in a temperature controlled iron VERY soon. 

           So if this piece fails I'll be sure to try again with a temperature controlled iron.  I never give up.  ...maybe I can fix that lip...

I'm am proud to announce that my Native American Talking stick has sold and I am sad to announce that I was not able to contact anyone about the herobracelet I found.  I found that there are two completely unrelated James N Dyke's here in my town and the one I was looking for works at McConnel Automotive.  Unfortunately, I could only find his work contact so I sent an email...but have had no reply.

            As one last note, this is a patriotic piece that will go on the Special Edition page. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Father's Portrait

               I am ecstatic as I announce the mapping out of an oak round.  This tracing paper design only hints at what it will look like when it is finished.  In fact, as soon as I am finished with this here post I shall be burning away!

              I have also purchased several pieces of wood and a nifty little pine box that I will have ready to go in the near future.  The pine box will be available for custom orders until I find something to burn on it.  If I like how it turns out I may offer more on my Etsy shop.  

             This will be my first time burninging with oak wood.  So I'm doubly challenging myself this time.  Somehow, I'm not as nervous about doing people, but I'm probably going to pull hair as I work on this infant- you know how delicate they are.  They are terribly impossible to portray delicately.   

            I'll have to keep the skin soft and smooth and the features light and rounded.  I would feel more comfortable if I had the pampers of a nice temperature controlled iron, but that shouldn't be too much longer in coming.  Since oak is a harder wood than cherry it should be easier to burn light. 

           I will be meditating on a name for this soldier...this father holding his newborn infant for the first time.  Suggestions from newcomers, followers, and visitors welcomed.

           Thankyou for coming.

Rearing to Go

           I'm out to buy wood today and am very eager to get started on my next two portraits.  I have various pieces of wood laying around my art table but none of them will do.  The basswood bark doesn't fit the one picture while the shape does.  The same basswood piece fits the other portrait but the size definitely does not.  So I'm out on a hunt for hardwoods such as Cherry, Oak, and Pecan that will compliment these pieces.  My biggest problems here will be size again.  I could downsize the portraits...but I feel that they do need to be larger.  

            I thought about giving all you dear readers a spoiler and showing you the plans for my latest and greatest, but I feel that holding you in suspense just a little longer is okay.  If time permits today, I will begin mapping the wood and even burning.  

            And in a few days my new Havalon Piranta blade should come in and I'll begin work on my taxidermy projects:  making a panflute tote/carry case out of buck hide, and a deer foot coat/gun rack (that I will burn wildlife into the wood above).  

            One last note, I have opened up an Etsy shop which I will be listing my items on.  My shop name is Licksoffire but I still go under my penname, Phoenix Pyrocreations.  In the following weeks you'll be sure to see some of my work listed on Etsy and also displayed here.  

           Thank you for stopping by!  Please come by again and subscribe or follow my blog!