Barbara and I have recently returned from two weeks touring Ireland and Northern Ireland. They are absolutely beautiful and we would highly recommend adding them to your bucket list!
As you might expect, we took hundreds of pictures and several are going to be references for paintings I will be doing in the future, Many will be land/seascapes, and historic places. I am going to try a few cityscapes, something new for me, but I have a few references I want to try. I will also do two or three that are based on looking out the window of our hotel rooms. They will be entitled "View From Room...." Room 225 is the first of them. It was taken out the window of our room in The Merchant Hotel in Belfast. It was a grey foggy morning and the view was the back of several buildings, an apartment and off to the left this chimney with a sea gull perched on the top. I liked the angles, the soot and grime on the masonry the antennas and, of course, the sea gull on top. There actually is a building that runs all the way across in the reference photo behind the chimney, but artists get to delete anything they no not like/want in the painting!
Hope you enjoy it! Be on the lookout for more "Memories of Ireland" coming soon. I think the next one will be a seascape.
I recently received great news. Old No. 5 has been accepted to the 2019 Watercolor Society of North Carolina 2019 Annual Juried Exhibit. The exhibit will be at the Imperial Centre, 270 Gay Street, Rocky Mount NC from Oct. 8- Dec. 29. Thanks to the juror, Stan Miller, for selecting Old No. 5 to be par of the show. Stop by the exhibit to see 70 watercolors by North Carolina Artists.
I have been busy getting ready to offer some things at the Durham Craft Market. I have 37 new picture frames in various sizes glued up, and as you can see below am in the process of applying finish to them. Sanding and finishing is the time consuming part of making these! I've tried a few in a couple of new word combinations, Jatoba with narrow 1/8" red oak inlays and maple with 1/4" cherry inlays. I've done the 1/8" inlays in art frames before, but not offered them in photo frames. Not sure why, but think I will add them with the standard wood combinations. If folks like the new wood combinations, I will add them to the usual stock.
I also have 8 new cutting boards of various sizes and wood combinations. They need another coat or two of mineral oil but will be ready when I sign up for the market.
I'll let you know what Saturday I plan to be at the Craft Market. Hope to see you there!
Oh yeah, I just finished a new watercolor titled "No Swimming or Boating" based on a picture I took last fall while walking Millie the beagle. I wanted to do some water reflections and think they turned out pretty well. Let me know what you think.
Spring has arrived, its been a while since I posted a new blog so I thought I would update you on a couple of good things have happened in the last few weeks!
I am very pleased to announce that I have been accepted into the Durham Craft Market. The Market is held every Saturday from March through December adjacent to the Durham Farmers Market at the corner of Hunt and Foster Streets in Durham. Market hours are 8AM to noon from April through November and 10AM to noon in March and December. My plan is to participate once every four to six weeks between April and December. I will have my usual offerings including, photo frames, cutting boards, coasters, watercolors, giclée prints, and greeting cards. I'll let you know on FaceBook and on the blog when I will be at the market. I will also be participating in the Holiday Market in December.
My latest painting was sold without even needing to be framed! It will reside in the Garden View Offices in the Croasdaile Farms neighborhood with a couple of my other paintings after it is framed.
My father gave me two old Bailey style Stanley hand planes (a No. 5 and a No. 5-1/2) about 40+ years ago. I tried using them a couple of times unsuccessfully and then set them aside. 20+ years ago, I loaned the No. 5-1/2 to a friend. I didn't think much about them until I retired in 2013.
As I got back into woodworking I decided I wanted to learn how to use them and dove down the internet "rabbit hole" to find out how. One of the first sites I found, Red Mill.com, turned out to have a complete history of Stanley planes and I learned that my No.5 was a bit of a Frankenstein plane. Most of the parts were from a type 9 plane made around the turn of the 20th century, however the frog (the part the blade is attached to) was from a type 10 or later plane. I learned from reading articles that the old planes were difficult to setup primarily due to their having thin irons (the cutting blade) and chip breakers. Mine were originals and not in good shape, so I ordered modern replacements from Hock Tools who I had read good reviews about. I then learned about sharpening irons, how to set them up and that the throat of the plane body might need to be "opened up" to accommodate the thicker irons. With some trepidation, I took a flat bastard file to the plane throat and opened it up. The original tote (handle) and knob were also in bad shape so I ordered replacements from Highland Woodworking. Having done the renovations and learning how to setup the plane I discovered that not only could I use it, but I enjoyed it!
That led me to wonder if my friend still had the 5-1/2 and used it? I got in touch, he still had it and never used it, so I arranged to repossess it. It too was a Frankenstein type 9 but had been stored badly, rusted and in need of a general cleanup in addition to the upgrades I had done on the No. 5. I undertook the cleanup and renovations and now have two functioning old-time Stanley Baileys that I frequently use to plane down the inlays in picture frames so they are level with the primary wood of the frame.
That led to my latest painting, "Old No. 5". I was planing down some molding to make photo frames and thought that might be a fun painting to try. I took a couple of pictures with my cell phone as references and got busy. It took quite some effort to do the original drawing trying to replicate the angle of the scene and all the angles in the face of the vice. After spending several hours painting the plane and vice, I recognized that I had messed up the perspective of the back face of the vice in relation to everything else in the painting. I was able to "lift" some of the error but not all of it. I was about to throw it away and start over when I decided to try something I had read about, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. I taped off the sections I did not want removed and tried the Magic Eraser......it worked! I then moistened the area I had erased and repaired the roughed-up surface by pressing it with the back of a tablespoon. I was then able to blend the original painted area to the repaired area.
I hope you enjoy the painting, and my long winded blog. :-)
The last four cutting boards are done and I'm ready for the Durham Craft Market Holiday Market this Saturday at the Durham Convention Center from 11AM until 4PM. Interestingly, these boards have a "warmer" character than many of the others. I had a piece of 10/4 walnut with a bit of sapwood that I re-sawed to use in the centers of a couple of these but did not use any other walnut. Using a lot of jatoba, cherry and Sapele along with the maple has warmed the palate of these boards.
Hope to see you Saturday!
Well......I thought I was ready for two Holiday Markets. Had 19 cutting boards, 23 coasters and bunches of photo frames to go with the glicee prints and greeting cards. I had a really good holiday market at Motorco and unexpected sales to a couple of friends and a man who found me on the internet. That left me with four cutting boards, no coasters and only one size of jatoba/maple photo frames.
So I have been in the workshop with the baseboard heat and a small space heater running to get it warm enough to do glue ups. Oh, I learned that when you run the baseboard heat, space heater, dust collector and table saw that the circuit breaker trips! Having learned that lesson, I now have 8 cutting boards, 20 coasters, several more jatoba/maple photo frames completed and 4 more cutting boards glued up and ready for planing, sanding and final finishing with mineral oil. If the power stays on this afternoon they will be done bringing the total of cutting boards to 12.
I used a couple of woods, Sapele and tiger stripe maple, that I have not typically used with cutting boards. Using the tiger stripe maple and Sapele edge grain has made those portions of the boards almost "glow" under bright light. The two boards above are absolutely beautiful if I do say so myself. I also made on 8"X10" Sapele/maple photo frame while I was set up to make frame molding.
After I finish the last four boards I will be ready for the Durham Craft Market Holiday Market. Come see me in booth 35 at the Durham Convention Center, December 15 from 11AM until 4PM.
As you may remember, "Twin Pines" was based on a photograph taken by Marshall McIver of a scene on South Lowell Road north of Durham. I am pleased that a lady who lives out that way saw it on my website and has taken it home to the neighborhood. I hope her family will enjoy it for years to come.
I am getting ready for the Bright Spirits Holiday Market at Motorco this Sunday from Noon until 7PM. I'll have 17 cutting boards, over 50 photo frames in three customary sizes and four wood species combinations, coasters, giclée prints and greeting cards of several of my watercolors. Come see me. Oh yeah, as extra incentive, the Allagash Brewery Oyster Roast is going on at the same time. How can ya resist!!
John Schwartz - watercolorist and woodworker.