Ok gang, this contest is starting to drag out like a bad night at the theater. This clue is enough to get some of you to the finish line. If not, I'll seal the deal for you later today.
Just as in Clue #1 this is an image from the place, but it is not the Landmark I'm looking for. I am attracted to the log feel of this structure however.
Clue # 2
I honestly love the heartland. Particularly in Summer!
Previous clues and rules are in posts below.
In this installment of "Where's Jay" you will be vying for this beautiful little Boxelder bud vase, also known as "The Prize".
To review, here is how the contest works:
I will be posting pictures from somewhere along the way of my many travels. The challenge is to be among the first to identify that location. I will post additional pictures and clues until I have 10 correct answers. Those ten names will then be put into a drawing to see who wins "The Prize".
All answers must be emailed to me: email@example.com
DO NOT answer publicly on either this blog or on my facebook page (Jay McDougall - Wood Sculptor) where I will also be posting the clues. This may result in immediate disqualification and we wouldn't want that now would we?
So here we go with clue # 1. The answer is a place/landmark. This image is taken at the place but is not the landmark.
You may ask questions, I may or may not answer them. So get out your lucky rabbit's foot and rub that penny - Good Luck!
I just finished carving a major wall piece. Here's a photo journal of the process that I think you may enjoy.
The process begins with sourcing some logs from a downed tree. In this case it is a cottonwood that was taken down for a road improvement project about 3/4 of a mile North of my studio.
I was able to cut quite a few slabs from these trees. There are many times that I'm not nearly as fortunate. Often there are only a couple of pieces that meet my requirements out of any given tree. Now it's a matter of deciding just what will become of them.
After selecting three blanks for carving they must remain covered with plastic sheeting to prevent them from shrinking/cracking before they are carved. In this present "wet" state each slab weighs about 150#.
The blanks are now trimmed, squared, and sequenced.
The orientation and proposed forms have been marked onto the slabs. The pieces are ready for carving.
This is what about 300# of wet wood chips looks like. I have carved away nearly 100# of material per slab to reveal the desired form and relieve the backs.
The panels are now carved and about to get closed into my dehumidification chamber for drying. Nothing to do now but wait, kind of like watching paint dry or waiting for water to boil.
After drying I refine the carving, sand, oil, and wax the panels. At this point they are ready to be mounted on their steel backs.
The mild steel backs are cleaned and prepared for the application of a patina which will yield a dark mottled appearance that brings some great visual contrast to the triptych.
Here you are able to see the patina that I have applied to the steel backs. I am now burning in a blacksmith's wax to protect the backs from oxidation and the elements.
I find myself in many conversations involving the use of exotic woods. At times it seems as though I'm in a "Who can Stump the Wood Guy" competition. Having worked with wood for my entire career and holding a degree involving wood technology I guess I should be aware of more exotic woods than most. However there are in fact many, many more wood species that I am not familiar with nor ever will be. And that's OK with me. Exotic woods by definition are "...of foreign origin or character; not native; introduced from abroad..." The truth be told I have never been the least bit interested in using materials that are not native to where I live and work. Having said that, I must remind you that all the beautiful woods I gather locally are indeed considered "Exotic" everywhere else in the world, so I suppose when viewed from a global perspective I do indeed work with exotics. I'd like to introduce you to three of my favorite Otter Tail County Exotics:
This is one of the few woods I use that also has value as a furniture wood or for commercial lumber. I like the strength of the grain pattern. It's strong but not overpowering. Of particular interest is the fine wavy pattern in the summer growth (space between the rings). This herringbone pattern makes this specie shimmer.
The broad, uniform canopy has made the American Elm a favorite urban tree valued for its shade in yards and parks.
The American Elm has been a favorite for lining boulevards. These Elm tree-lined streets are fast becoming a thing of the past as Dutch Elm Disease (named for where the disease was first located not the specie) continues to decimate the Elm population.
Cottonwood has very little commercial value due to its low strength, density, and tensile attributes. It's often used for low value items such as pallets and lath. It is one of my favorites. The flame grain that I find in the cottonwood takes my breath away.
An incredibly graceful tree, I have measured local specimens with 6' diameters. The slightest breeze will produce a beautiful rustling sound as the thin, flat-stemmed leaves flutter.
Boxelder is a real show stopper. The vibrant dashes of red overlaid on the satiny grain of the Maple is striking indeed. In the rare cases where I carve a piece with no red present the result is almost as though it was made of ivory.
The red in the boxelder is present as the tree grows. This is a picture of a freshly cut boxelder log. What causes the red will be the topic of a future blog. Hint: Boxelder beetles are non-boring beetles.
I have to say that I prefer knowing where my material comes from. Best wishes - Jay
from the very Exotic Otter Tail County
Trimble Tech HS - Fort Worth, TX. Ms. Lopez and Mr. Gerardy's classrooms.
Cindy and I had an opportunity to participate in an "Artist in the Schools" visit this morning while in town for the Main Street Fort Worth Arts Fest. Cindy is my wife and also a professional artist. We often tag team when given the chance to visit art classes.
We believe it's important for students to be exposed to people like us who have chosen a career path in the arts. Whether they end up being artists, musicians, accountants or mechanics, the exposure to the arts in school will make them a more valuable commodity in their chosen field. The most difficult challenges are usually solved by approaching them from a unique direction. This requires a very fit right side of the brain, and strength is only gained through consistent exercise. I think of creating things as push-ups for the right brain.
We all got to work on some 3D exercises this morning. This group of AP students are working on drawing this term and many will be moving on to sculpture next year so our timing was great. After a brief presentation about us, our work, and what is involved in being a professional in any field, we were able to use the bulk of the class time carving up space. Initially we let them cut and fold a piece of paper as many times as they wanted as long as they utilized all of the cut parts. This represented additive sculpture.
We then moved on to the task of creating a free standing piece using only one cut and one fold. This represents something much more akin to reductive sculpture in that if you make a mistake your only correction is to make the piece smaller. We loved the results and the students had the joy of coming up with some terrific solutions to the challenge. Good job Trimble Tech - Go Bulldogs! And thank you to Main Street Fort Worth for encouraging Art in the Schools.
Boxelder and Sugar Maple (left rear). 5" - 8" tall; $100 - $115/vase
I started carving vases a few years ago as a means of getting some more color into my display at shows and exhibitions. Fresh flowers bring a lot to the party and are a fabulous compliment to my natural forms. It was a perfect solution to carve vases to serve this display need and an equally great solution to find a use for some of the beautiful wood cut-offs that were really too beautiful to throw away. Since then I have begun to use the process of creating these small pieces of sculpture as a warm-up exercise for my larger pieces. Much like sketching this is a means of exploring line and form while getting my head in the place it needs to be for carving my larger scale work. So here's a peek at some things from my latest sketch book.
Sugar Maple and Black Willow logs - ready to carve!
And now that I'm in the groove it's time to move on to the big dogs.
Game Over! Congratulations to Al H., Nancy G., Marnie K., Scott W., and Hank O'B. I'll draw the winner later today. For the rest of you:
So where was Jay?
"Standing on the corner in Winslow Arizona."
I'm a contemporary wood sculptor living and working in rural Minnesota. I gather my logs locally and travel the country selling what I make from them.