Sunday, December 31, 2006

New year on the sofa

I had a mighty long chat with my pops on skype today, it being new year and all. So the sketch time was a little skimpy. It does make a lot of difference to the communications having all this technology at our fingertips, but we also had a little conversational lubricator on hand in the shape of a Guinness for me and some kind of rummy mixture for senior.
I guess the report writing took up most of my day, I am still writing down ideas in the hope that I will be able to whack them in to shape once they are out there.
I do get the sense that the system is failing to notice the importance of simple things like drawing and writing. Techniques for communication beyond speach that are within the power of most. Whatever the complexity of the question answered, it is quite likely that the answer was a drawn or written squiggle on a piece of paper.
At one point in our loops of thought across the cybergs we ended up talking about the other side, the dear departed. I was of the opinion that the sense of contact I had with that back when my mother died was something that only happens at those times, and not a regular doo. At that time I did feel a tremendous sense of peace and interconnectedness. The stretch outward into infinity is somehow familiar to me and perhaps to us all as we look into the night sky, but the story doesn't end there, infinity has no parts, no out or in, so when the mental elastic reaches the end and whips back I don't usually get the same amount of stretch in the inward direction and I end up on the end of the bungee dangling here in reality once more when I would rather have the sense of everything I had back then.
My sense is that today is just another day, and there are issues persisting on our planet that make the simple turning of the year seem less significant every time around. Even in relation to my little volunteer work there are echoes of some changes for the worse in the world. I have noticed the school becoming more isolated from the community and now the doors are locked more often than not. There have been many incidents of people entering schools and trying to harm the students, so this year Y shaped poles appeared on the walls of the corridors for teachers to grab and fend off sword bearing intruders. My idealistic hope would be for this to be temporary, but I can see that once you declare outside dangerous it is very hard to go back and declare it safe again. There used to be a sense of the school being a place that could not be entered by those intending harm, like the precincts of a temple, but that is gone. We are certainly a weird bunch, persuaded into fighting wars by the propaganda of economic convenience to those in power, but letting these essential and valuable realities fade away without a fight. I am happy that my children enjoyed a childhood that did not include these things. Of course I know that childhood at least will prevail and find peculiar entertainment in this strange world, like my dad talking about hunting for bomb fragments after each air raid all clear as a kid in WWII Britain to see who could find the biggest. My dear hope for the coming years is that the WWW will by some strange alphabetic quirk become a true web of interconnectedness and make WWIII and other conflicts an impossibility. I think that the millions of conversations floating over that web like the one I enjoyed today must be going a long way to counteract the unimaginative leadership we enjoy and the similarly unimaginative terrorism that is fighting against it. Even if the next generation is just a little more creative they may make it their habit to search for the third option, a lighter middle way that needs no Jerusalem. So here is to them, and more power to their collective elbows in this place that could be paradise if only we would let it. A happy new year to all intending no harm to others.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Another of the volunteer work sketches. This time using a rotary tenoncutter in a drill. This year we tried three leged stools and I simplified the design a bit. The seat of the stool is a triangle made of three sticks with round mortise and tenon joints. The triangle needs to be tapped together a bit at a time, but once it is together and we weave the seat with straw rope it won't come apart. This is a nice size of drill (rechargeable 18volts) as it has enough power to put up with the stresses of the job and cut steadily with a brake as well and a very responsive trigger. I get the kids to understand the controls first just running the drill, then they actually do something with it. They keep the battery and handle against their leg or hip so that they don't get their wrists jerked and know that if they let go of the trigger the drill will stop immediately. The tenon cutter works great and makes shavings like apple peal, which the kids also like to mess around with. I am there to give a hand if something looks wrong and to keep an eye on the angle as there is a tendency for the kids to try and hold the drill so tight that it doesn't follow its course as they lean forward, but leans with them instead. This causes the cutter to chew out the side of the tenon making it weaker.
Charcoal on cartridge 20x 35cm

Friday, December 29, 2006

Stained Glass

Another day on drawing things for the report. We do two sessions of stained glass. I get a load of glass fragments thrown out by stained glass makers and the kids pick colors they like and wrap the edges of the glass fragments in copper foil tape. They soon learn to cut glass once they realize the right sound and feel, but mostly only make it as far as straight cuts. The important thing is to lower the height of the work surface so that hey can put the weight of the upper torso behind the push on the cutter.
The next session they finish up and solder the bits together to make patterns or sometimes little boxes and things. Soldering is also something most pick up quite quickly.
Charcoal on cartridge 20x30cm

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Paid up

I spent a good part of the day on domestic chores, paying my bills and whatnot. The evening saw me dilligently tackling the report on the volunteer work, hence the rather vacant look. I must get on and finish the writing so that we can get it translated. It does seem like I will need a lot of drawings to explain everything so it is a good job I am getting practice. Back to the piano for Sammy today and I had a rather quieter go myself while he was napping after his post round. Another lovely day, but back to the more wintery temperatures, so I have my hat on indoors while the stove works up to muster.
Charcoal on Cartridge 25x35cm

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


More chiseling for me today as well as a continuation of tidying and a dose of translation work in the morning. We were splashing about in a second hand shop before christmas and found a new clarinet on offer. That went as a christmas present to me misses and her old one went to Sammy. He hasn't played for a few years, but he has added that to the daily routine. A much nicer day for him today on the post round. Everything was very ionized by the torrential rain yesterday and the flow of that water down all the water courses around our home is still swishing along. It was mild enough for me to let the stove burn out and stay dead for most of the day.

Charcola on Cartridge 25x35cm

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Big Rain

The rain arrived as promised. I came up from the shop at lunch time to find Sammy home looking like a drowned whatsname. He just had time to have a shower and scoff his lunch before heading out again. I lent him all my rain gear and my wellies, but he was in too much of a rush to do up the little snappers under his chin, so he put on the overhelpless look one does on these occasions and I did up his poppers. It must be many a long year since I've had to do up his buttons for him. It is still chucking it down out there and we have already had our average monthly rainfall for December on this one day. Let's hope tomorrow brings something better or I'm turning the woodwork in for boat building.
Pastels on cartridge 25x35cm

Monday, December 25, 2006


Christmas is it not. My daughter used to read Mr men books at nap time now she reads the Architectural review. Sammy did his first day of deliveries on the post round and survived OK. More of the same tomorrow, but the forcast is for rain. We completed a major shift around after my window fixing efforts back in October so the new office and work area upstairs is now up and running.
Time for some slightly more luxurious food than normal in a moment and so to bed.

Pastels on cartridge 25x35cm

Sunday, December 24, 2006


I couldn't focus on much with everybody playing their own music, so I opted for another go at young sammy on the piano. Christmas eve is upon us without much of the paraphenalia here in Japan. I had a chat with my pops on the skype web phone as is our usual routine. More and more I find myself thinking that the study of history should be confined much more to ones own personal level. There is virtue in knowing what happened before one was born, but there is certainly much of it that I could do without, whereas some of the pictures that come out in conversation with the nearest and dearest are extremely poignant for me and if studied cast a revealing light on history as a whole. It is the very shortness of memory lane that makes it so important to take in each little step. Anyway, for all of those caught in the trials of life and deeply in need of the much wished for world peace, I add my voice to that plea from my fairly peaceful seat here in the mountains of Japan.
May the lengthening of the days into spring bring us the power to see the other side of things, whatever it may be, and work out that life really is too short for many of the things society believes to be so important.
Pastels on cartridge 25x35cm

Saturday, December 23, 2006


I am not sure if sammy saw what I was drawing yesterday, but he decided he wanted to have a go at the bracelets as a christmas present. This is the other way of attaching one end of the work, you just loop it over your toe. He had the same difficulty as the kids, finding the fingers difficult to control at first, but he soon got the hang of it. I just had to show him right handed and let him figure it out with his left hand.
Pentel pastels on cartridge25x35cm

Friday, December 22, 2006

This is not a scene from today, I do this volunteer activity at the primary school and I foolishly agreed to write a little illustrated report about that and I want to use drawings rather than photos.
Today was the last day of term for the school and they asked me to come along to their little ceremony and say a couple of words along with some other guests. They also told me that the report is due on Jan. 10th rather than the end of the month as I had thought, so this evening I needed to get cracking on planning some pictures.
The first activity we do is making promise rings, little bracelets woven with knots. It is amazing how hard the kids find it at first to use their fingers for all the little knotting jobs as well as gripping five strings threaded through their fingers. Gradually during the session they get up to speed and some become very nimble. It is important which way you loop the knot, so I get them to drape the thread loosely on one side holding the thread neatly between thumb and forefinger so that the direction goes right. We have been doing this for a few years now and most kids get about half done in the session but can remember how to straight bands at least. One girl managed to get on to doing chevrons and crosses a couple of years back, but she was one of the rare specimens of humanity that can empathize and quickly learn a task by watching others do it, a skill that is almost essential but dissapearing all too quickly. It is a nice quiet pastime for us all to get to know each other a bit sitting around a big table.
Pastels on cartridge 25x35cm

Thursday, December 21, 2006

New Sofa

A few days ago me misses bought a second hand sofa on an Internet auction. It arrived from Hokkaido this afternoon. It is a long way from where we are, but it only cost 15 quid to ship it. The inevitable demise of our old sofa followed immediately and it really did remind me of skining a large animal, dragging it outside and getting all the toxic nasties off to leave the frame clean for burning. I chopped up some of the wood for the stove, but a lot went into a bonfire outside in the field between the house and the river below. The timing was good again as we were able to put all the skin and blubber into bags and get it up to the rubbish men in time for their pick up. Then, once they had gone with that, we all hoiked a load more metal up for them to consider tomorrow.
It was fully dark by the time I had got the last bits settled below the rim of the fire. I had a load of cardboard, which made a warm and comfortable seat on the ground. No sound of boar in the woods, maybe their recent losses are making them more cautious.

Pentel pastels and charcola on cartridge 25x35cm

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Office Material

I made the mistake of going on the piano first today and that has cut my drawing time.
There was a rather miserable scene in the brain box, but I left it there. In the woods there are several snare traps for the boar. This morning on my walk I saw a tree trunk moving about and stared at it for a while, it was a tree trunk, then a moment later when I looked back it wasn't. It developed ears, nose and tiny incomprehending eyes and little dancing fore feet trying to get a grip on the slippery muddy bank it had slid down on to while its back leg was caught in a heavy snare wire. It wasn't a tiny specimen, it was huge, but its whole persona was of a shy kid on its first day at school in need of the toilet. I called at a neighbours on the way back to ask if he knew who had set the snares and he called them to come and administer a sedative. I hope they did come quick, I am not a fan of these lazy forms of hunting, one would hope for all beings that the inescapable blow when it comes will be swift.
Instead of all that you have a portrayal of how chair use is hereditary (see Nov 22nd), Sammy in his room on his laptop. It will be a black day for chair designers if many of my descendents ever find themselves working in an office. Today largely went on comptuter work for me, but in the privacy of the living room this type of etiquette does not raise many eyebrows.
Charcola on cartridge 25x35cm

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


I suspect this bird of being a few feathers short of a whatsname. I suppose it is just because our stream is so small and he's so big, but he always looks so scatterbrained squeezing his way around. There are a lot of those stone walls around as the river runs below the road, so I sometimes sneak up on him to get a closer look, he seems a bit lacking in color around the head, so maybe a juvenile bird. Dusk was falling, I was taking a break from digging and just turned round in time to see him cruising down the straight and pulling up short to get round the bend in the river. I always feel slightly sinister digging in the evening, but only churning in some of the ash from the fire, not hiding a silver hoard or severed head.

Goache and charcoal on cartridge 25x35cm

Monday, December 18, 2006


Sammy is back on the piano again after his bout with a bug. We went to get more firewood today as he was feeling in need of excercise rather than sitting at a desk for a couple of hours. He was saying in the truck how good it is to feel good after feeling so bad. Quite right, too. The timber hauling and a go at carving were my activities today (also chopping up an old scooter for disposal), but things were a bit chaotic in the evening hours with everyone at home and translation work to do, so I just had a quick go at the reflection in the window...

Charcoal on cartridge 25x35cm

Sunday, December 17, 2006


Young Sammy wasn't up to anything much today, so I had to weild the axe for the duration. As you might have gathered, the road runs above our house and people can look down on us working as they walk by. This old lady lives up the road from us, she is getting a bit frail now as she heads towards the nineties. She had gone down the road to visit someone and been given a huge white radish about the size of my leg and it had got the better of her on the way back as it rolled around in her shoulder basket. I think she lost her balance and was draggin the thing up the road when she popped into view under that white rail you can see at the top of the chainsaw picture from yesterday. I went up and offered to carry the basket, but she wouldn't let me have it, just asked for help getting it back on, so I got it on and hoiked the radish out and carried that instead, which made her chuckle. She insisted I should have one of hers to take away, so I waited about playing goosberry while she communed with her vegetables for a moment. She was really inside of her webby monkey proof field protecting area here, but that wouldn't have left much to draw. She is very hard of hearing, but sometimes we connect on known facts of mutual interest, driftwood and whatnot.
Gouache on cartridge 25x35cm

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Chain sharpening

Tempted to have another go at the boar today, but I opted for the more mundane chore of chainsaw sharpening. The maintenance of last week has paid off and the saw is working OK, but sharpening is one of those things that happens a lot. Also cleaning out all the gunk with compressed air. Without a compressor, chainsaw maintenance would be a lot less fun. There are little holes here and there which really need to be open for everything to work nicely. There is a cog at the end of the saw bar to hold the chain away from the metal so that it won't gradually wear the bar down to a nub. This makes a very satisfying whizz when you put the air nozzle over it, no real reason for doing it except to hear the whizz.
Just about all the wood I got in with sammy is cut into lumps now, but he is down with a cold today, so it will have to wait to get chopped as he specifically asked me to leave it for him to do.
Acrylic washes with charcoal on cartridge 25x35cm

Friday, December 15, 2006


We did go and get more wood yesterday and I cut up some of it today. The other chore was facing up to getting rid of another load of scrap metal and whatnot that had been getting a little obtrusive down in front of my workshop. There is still a lot more to do, but this was a good session of tidying, cutting things up small with the torch and friday is the day for it with the rubbish collection. When evening came around I was outside burning a load of scrappy wood shavings and stuff. I could here the boar down the valley snorting again, so went down to take a look. They really do not mind the light at all and it takes some serious movement to even cause a pause in chewing. I watched this one for ages, putting the lantern on a wall to give my arm a rest, eventually I started tossing little stones to see how much disturbance the animal would take. Basically I think these animals would very soon become endangered if the supermarkets all closed down. This looked like the same animal as the one the other week to me, not a fully grown adult, and with a very high tolerance for human presence. The main food seems to be roots with just constant foraging, not even pausing to excrete, just letting things come out naturally. The buttress wall here drops down to where a little rivulet flows out. They also dig around in there a lot and I think they eat crabs, foraging under rocks for the hibernating crusties.
Washes and charcoal on cartridge 25x35cm

Thursday, December 14, 2006


There is a passing place on the road where I walk the dog, on the mountain slope above it stands a tall Paulownia tree.
In the spring the road seems to have been widened especially to house the carpet of fallen trumpet shaped flowers and forge a patch of sky for the tree to fill with its capacious leaves. Now the autumn is nearly over, new leaves are but a twinkle in the bud and the ground is carpeted again through the generosity of the parent tree. Some of the fallen leaves are over a foot from tip to tail.
I walk up the road on one of those mornings when my mind is steered away from higher things and follows my eyes to hug the ground. Suddenly I am jarred from the sneaking sensation that I am shrinking. The road appears to grow nearer as it widens and every step brings larger and larger fallen leaves into view and eventually my feet become tiny in comparison to the giants littering the ground. I realize my mistake and pause in the middle of this place where the tree casts off its unwanted garments as the seasons change. For a moment I look up and contemplate this evocative stage on which my little scene from a larger annual play about the seasons is being acted out. Each episode I witness as I move in from the wings is rather uneventful, but the magic of flashbacks means that I can recall all previous episodes, even the scent of the flowers and consult my mental program for upcoming events. As I walk on, growing back to normal size with every step, I begin to write this little note in my mind.

0.9mm propelling pencil on cartridge 25x35cm

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

On the shelf

A day of all sorts. Tidying up ready for more firewood first, then planking a metal shelf in my storage area. The monkeys had been using it to picnic on some of the bitter citrus fruits from the tree next to it, they were full of pips.
I wanted to get the shelf done ready for the change over from normal to snow tires. I am hoping to store the tires up on this shelf as it is just about on the level of the road and I should be able to tuck the tires in there easily. I had kept the planks back from some of the firewood and getting the nails out of them was part of the tidying up. Just before lunch I popped over to the school to pick up the furnace and sand from the casting session. I had the crane set up from hauling an empty argon cylinder up for the gas man to take away, so tied it off and managed to get everything loaded on the truck at school before anyone came out to help and then lowered it all down back at home. We were hoping to go for more wood in the afternoon but the weather failed so we just got the crane off the truck and shifted stuff around, then I moved down to the shop for some pottering around checking materials for chairs. Firewood should be the order of the day tomorrow.
Washes and charcoal on cartridge 25x32cm

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Sammy got on OK with the potential job and is scheduled to act as postman for 10 days over the new year. Today ended with a load of computer work with no inspiring episodes of manual labour, so I drew him while he obligingly had his first go at spider solitaire. I don't know why I just don't find any of those games interesting anymore. Neither did he really, so slightly distracted humming away in a fairly tuneless fashion and gradually melting into the chair. The piano session has now started, so more musicality in the air. We have some food simmering on the stove, too as we are on cook duty.
Charcoal on cartridge 31x40cm

Monday, December 11, 2006

Sore Saw

Charcoal again, appropriate for the firewood making theme. My saw played up in every way it could think of except snapping its chain. By the end of the day we had reconciled our differences and I withdrew my aspersions as to its parentage. I thought it was going to be a nice little saw when I bought it, but several design features would have been better removed from the drawing board and burnt. Sammy put in another good go with the axe this afternoon and got a line on some work delivering the new years cards and other post for about ten days around christmas and up to the turn of the year. He likes riding his bike, so it should be fun for him. Steps toward financial independence feel good for most people. I went on a little blog search for compressed charcoal and found a lot of very proficient drawings that made me feel like doing something similar to develop some new techniques, but my main objective here is to try my memory at drawing some of the things I do during my days on this planet, so that wil have to wait. Today my activity was taming a chainsaw.
Charcoal on cartridge 31x40cm

Sunday, December 10, 2006


In our international jumble family we sometimes find ourselves making up ridiculous combinations of words. Today I found myself in real trouble trying to decide what to draw and ended up drawing that situation. To be unable to decide or be puzzled is Nayamu in Japanese so we mix it with the present progressive tense and get nayamying. The real version would be Nayandeiru. Thankfully Sammy seldom has trouble with this kind of thing on the piano and sends a lot of positive energy into the room pulling me through this type of crisis if I time my drawing session appropriately and I manage to make it to the other side of nothing with something down on paper. We went to get more firewood today and rather over did it stuffing the stove, so we got a bit tropical in the leg department as the evening wore on.
Same materials and size with colored chalks for flavor.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

One more thing

I was working down in the shop today putting a surface on a piece of wood for a "small" table. I also made another gouge for my air tool collection.
I was very tired after the aluminium casting session back on Thursday the 7th, so I wanted to go back and recollect a few things from that. The kids this year have been very nice, this was their last session with me on this volunteer thing I do at the school once a month. They had made up polystyrene objects on a previous session and this time they added little runners for the metal to be poured into. We did three sessions of three objects each and the kids got quite excited to see what would come out of the sand.
I chose to do the casting at the bottom of some outdoor steps, and the kids sat on there each time we were ready to pull some things out of the sand box. One of the girls was sitting on her friend's lap and they were clapping when I pulled the newly made things out of their burrows. I think they were cold as well as friendly, and a lot more cute than this. I asked them if they wanted to do the pulling out, but they were all nervous of what they would find. It is great that they could get so enthusiastic on a cold grey afternoon. And they all cooperated in some of the less cheerful tasks like tidying up. I am always very busy during the sessions as there are obviously a lot of safety concerns as well as the desire to ensure that everyone gets something positive from the excercise so it is good to try and recall some of the scenes that shoot by while I am skittering about.
Gouache and compressed charcoal on cartridge 31x40cm

Friday, December 08, 2006

Snap crackle and pop

Another day of crane trials. I went to pick up a ceramics kiln that was being disposed of at a primary school in the neighboring town. The pick up went fine with the crane doing a nice job. At the drop off I think I lost concentration and over lifted, which pulled the extending boom in on itself and snapped the welds on the back end. I think they were the only welds on there I didn't do, it was a capped section of square pipe, so I used it as it was. Anyway, I was in the right place to mend it with all the welding equipment on hand, so it didn't take a minute to repair with an extra strap of metal for strength. The kiln only dropped an inch or two when the failure occurred, so everything was fine and I was happy that it hadn't happened at a more critical time.
The chap who has this shop was very happy to get the kiln and as we were chatting of this and that he mentioned the solar weather is pretty nasty at the moment, so we should expect some weird weather phenomena like tornados. I was able to tell him that London had just experienced a nasty Tornado, which didn't surprise him at all. I suppose the space shuttle folk are happy that they have earth weather to blame. They won't be wanting to admit that they would have had to cancel anyway because everything out there is having a nice shower of various particles which do not really give the recipient magical super powers.
The chap in the picture is also working at the shop and had been conscripted to play father christmas at the kindergarten today. A busy few hours for us all.
Incidentally, most primary schools are getting rid of this type of equipment as they have no time in their curriculum for these creative practices any more. It is a very bad sign for society, but lucky for you if you are looking for a kiln for free so ask at your local school if you live in Japan.
Same materials as the last few days, slightly bigger paper

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Absolutely pooped. You can see the sand box with me pouring metal into the holes where the polystyrene is and the kids down on the right making hand prints to have metal poured into. The furnace is the tub with the sideways opening lid. The young chap on the left with the cap on is on duty with the sprayer in case I spill something where it shouldn't go. Aluminium is such a good condeuctor of heat little spills cool very quickly. About 90 percent success with the castings and no injuries, so a good go at it.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Young pig

All went well with the crane exploits, I had Sammy to help out pushing the appropriate buttons and well out of the way should any catastrophic failure occur. I gave him strict instructions not to try to help out unless told to and he seemed like he would happily do that. I took the furnace to the school and unloaded there. As I was parking the truck back at home I heard noises down the valley a way, so I asked Sammy if he wanted to go and check it out. I was pretty sure it was wild boar, but not sure of their size or current attitude to the larger primates, so I gave sammy the torch and took along my wrecking bar. We couldn't see the bugger at first even shining the torch here and there after hearing a very definite sniff in the brush. In the end we spotted this chap and snuck up about five meters from him. He didn't mind the light at all, but eventually grew uncomfortable and headed off into the brush clearing his nasal passages all the way. I think he could sense me recollecting the last time I skinned a wild boar.
I included some of the battlefield on the living room table today. The surrounding scene while painting is pretty much like that on Nov 18. I like these little tray things that all screw together for mixing washes in and the paint bottles are grease bottles from the hardware store filled from larger bottles of acrylic gouache. I went for as cheap a painting set as I could, buying just primaries, black and white and mixing up a small secondary assortment.

Gouache washes and compressed charcoal on cartridge 25x35cm

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


To the right of our stove there is a window outside which we stack up firewood so that we can pop our heads out and collect some when needed. For the past ten days this mantis has been holding on to the wall in the same pose right by the stack of wood. I gave its antenea a little brush with my fingers to test the depth of its meditation. It stirred a little, but stayed fixed to the spot. I wonder if it will stick there praying until spring.
Pencil on cartridge 25x35cm

Monday, December 04, 2006


Left is a side view of the sculpture I was working on last week. It is begining to take shape and the chisel I described the other day made a lot of difference after this was taken. We had a little walking tour come by the house on Sunday and they stopped to look at one of my sculptures that sits by the side of the road at the site of a little local legend. It was strange to hear one of the ladies saying how wonderful it was and then later hear her friend explaining to her what she saw in it and the woman only just then seeing the shape as the others did. I won't mention what she thought it was, but in essence an abstract male form. I think it is best if I let you make your own minds up about any pictures of sculpture, especially when they aren't ready to leave home yet. Scale wise I think the green thing poking out is one of those disposable cigarette lighters.
The crane thing I have been working on is a different matter, so I have put a few notes in the sketch of how it should look once it is up together, maybe it makes sense. Today I took the parts to a friends shop to use his MIG welder on some of the more important welds. I always find it more tiring working on foreign territory and anyway my brain box is all filled up with mechanical thoughts, so the drawing for today is the same.
I guess I could have managed with my own little TIG welder, but it does take rather a long time and I think I need to get the crane moving by Wednesday to take the furnace to the school a day ahead of time or I will be too hassled on the day. I must also look into making up another pot for the aluminium, probably an old propane tank from the stockyard at the reservoir. This is the second incarnation of the crane, so I hope I have learnt something. Fingers crossed.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Another working day, I would be in the background off to the left here chiseling the rotten exterior off of several lumps of wood suitable for carving. Sammy put in another stint on the axe this afternoon after I had sawn up the wood we brought in yesterday. It looks like about a week's worth. Especially difficult to work out any of the positions of things with sammy being left handed, but I think I need to get a bit more confused to work into these drawings some more so that they will start to be of use in creative work and I get more time to figure out what is the key to each thing. It has already made a difference to my mental activity having drawing as part of the routine of the day and it is proving to be a good thing even when the results don't amount to much.
Charcoal on cartridge 25x35cm

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Pencil pusher

Feeling a bit run over. I spent the morning welding up parts to attach a crane thing onto my little truck in preparation to try and haul my aluminium melting furnace to the school for a sand casting session there next Thursday. Then out for some more firewood collection in the afternoon. Throwing loads of timber down from one place, loading it onto the truck and then throwing it down into the yard back at our house. So you are getting a precis of the view from my spot on the sofa. I must get off here and have a stretch to put my muscles and whatnot back where they should be. Then perhaps I might have a go in the piano chair.
Incidentally the other young un did well in her assement on the project we were discussing back on November 12th, she was pleased by the response from her tutors after all her hard work.
Pencil on cartridge 25x35cm

Friday, December 01, 2006

At last

It has been a long time since my Dad and I first thought about carving with pneumatic equipment and today was my first go with something that worked. I was thinking about drawing the chisel yesterday morning and also about how I made that, and in the afternoon I had a whack at reshaping the plain flat chisel on a flux chipper I bought last birthday time into a gouge. The reshaping went fine, but I didn't put much of an edge on the chisel yesterday, so it wasn't much fun to use. Today I decided to give it another chance and reduced the bevel angle and honed it pretty much like I would any other wood chisel. It proved mighty nifty and perhaps my next tool treat will be a few blank tools to work up into different chisel shapes. For now this little devil is the bee's knees for rough work at all sorts of angles. I am kneeling down at the bench here, but as long as I can get a reasonable grip on the body of the chisel I can carve away without needing to put very much force at all behind the chisel.
Compressed charcoal on cartridge 29x42cm