The Misery Whip – Progress Report

I’ve decide the name the painting “The Misery Whip.”  I’m not done yet, but closing in.  It is almost midnight so I’m packing it in for tonight.  Here it is so far.

"The Misery Whip" a work in progress.

“The Misery Whip” a work in progress.

Bucking Logs – The Donation A WIP

I have an impending deadline.  I am creating this watercolor painting as a donation to the Sierra Cascade Logging Conference, Education Day live auction.  It is a 1930’s era logger bucking logs with a crosscut saw, also known as a “misery whip”.  I sketched it the night before last.  I stretched my paper yesterday morning.  Last night I started putting paint to paper.  Tonight I have to finish it.  Tomorrow I will need to cut the mat and frame it so that tomorrow night it goes to auction. whewww!  I’m ready for a nap, unfortunately that will have to wait until Sunday.

This part is for any Conference attendees.  I’m posting this to the Conference facebook page in case there are any attendees going to the Education Day Dinner and happen to look online.  We want you to show up with your check books because it’s fundraising time.  You can bid on this if you like it, or bid on something else if you don’t, but bid!

It is a WIP.  This is where I stopped last night, but now I’m back at it.  Updates will be forthcoming.

watercolor, watercolour, logging, bucking, logs, painting, saw, crosscut saw, misery whip, line art, sketch

In the beginning, the line art.

watercolor, watercolour, logging, bucking, logs, painting, saw, crosscut saw, misery whip

The background washes and starting to find some detail.

watercolor, watercolour, logging, bucking, logs, painting, saw, crosscut saw, misery whip

Completed intial washes and adding some background detail.

You may be asking, why did he wait so long to start this?  An excellent question and one to which I have a good answer.  However, I can’t go into that now, because I just don’t have time.  That will be another blog.  Stay tuned.

I Needed This Day

Some days I need to experience the beauty in my world.  Today was one of those days. Today was exceptional.  Here are some pictures I would like to share with you.  Today the sun shone warm.  Tomorrow a storm is coming.White fir, Aspen, forest, blue sky

reflection, floating, leaf, water

wild turkey, turkey

Black Butte, cinder cone, cattle, black angus


Fire Salvage Begins

Burned timber being skidded into the landing.

The race is on.  Salvage operations on the Ponderosa Burn are now underway.  They race to harvest the fire killed timber and deliver it to the mills before it breaks down, and loses it’s value.  The small landowners managed their timberlands to provide additional income, maintain healthy timber stands, and create an attractive forest.  This fire has changed their management plans.  If they don’t recover the value of the timber they will have no money for reforestation.  The large timber companies will replant their lands as a part of normal operations. Replanting fire damaged timberlands in California is not required by law due to the massive cost it represents.  The timber companies replant after these fires because it is good stewardship and good business.

The landscape on the big canvas is being repainted as this latest transformation begins.  Fire was the first paint brush to change the canvas.  Men and their machines are the next one.

Salvage Poles

A load of fire salvage poles arrives at the mill.

Nellie In Watercolor, Part 1

Nellie in her youth at Iron Canyon Reservoir.

She is a smart pushy redhead and her name is Nellie.  She is a 12 year old golden retriever.  She belongs to our oldest son although she has continued to live with my wife and me since our son grew up and moved out on his own.  She is very good at dog to human communications.  If she wants out, she rattles the door knob with her nose.  When it is 8:00 pm she comes and reminds me that it is dinner time, even after the time change.  I’m not sure how she does that, but she does it without missing a beat.  When I ignore her demands she shakes her head at me and stares as if she thinks I’m very dense.  If I continue to ignore her she gives me a deep “boof.”  She is quite a girl.

Over eleven years ago she was running in the AKC Hunt Tests.  At the time our son got Nellie we had an agreement with him.  It was that he would have to earn a title with her.  This was to insure that she was trained into a well mannered dog.  So he ran her in the Hunt Tests.  It was a little rough watching a Junior Handler running a Junior Dog.  Inexperience in the case of the both accompanied by lots twitching and fiddling around sometimes made the events a little nerve racking to his parents.  At one event, when the bird was thrown my son was messing with her lead and she didn’t appear to mark the falling bird.  She dutifully ran across the creek, the long way around, and into the field.  She looked about as if she didn’t have a clue where the bird was.  Then she sat down.  We could hear the gallery groan uncomfortably at the thought that this boy and his beautiful golden were about to fail this test.  She looked around the grounds while she sat.  The seconds slowly ticked away and we know the judges were about to tell him to “pick up” his dog.  There was no point in continuing this embarrassing performance.  Without warning Nellie stood up and ran straight to the fallen bird.  She picked it up as if she knew where it was all along and delivered to my son.  This was just one tense leg in a 4 series test, and at the end of the day they both passed the test.

The original sketch I did for the watercolor of Nellie eleven years ago.

Back at that time I started on a watercolor of Nellie.  I sketched it out on a watercolor pad, but never got around to finishing it.  Not long ago I came across the dusty sketch.  I decided to work on it and post my progress on the blog along the way.  Today I’m featuring the original eleven year old sketch.  I hope not to embarrass myself with this process, but after all you know what they say, “paint like no one is watching” or something close to that.

How Is A Forester Like An Artist?

The forester and the artist both create landscapes.  Only a forester’s canvas is far larger than an artist’s canvas.  The artist uses pencils, pens, brushes and all the other tools that create the play of color and light on paper.  The forester’s tools are far larger, louder and powerful.  They are the skidders, feller-bunchers, chainsaws, yarders and seedlings.  Okay, I know what you are thinking, what kind of baloney is this guy selling.  When we look out at a forest we see a beautiful thing.  Harvesting trees changes how that forest looks and develops.  The conventional wisdom may be that harvesting trees makes a forest ugly and at stages along the way I would agree.  That is all part of the process.  When an area is burned in a wildfire and the salvage harvest is complete it looks pretty bad to most folks.  This is only one stage in the development of an ever-changing picture.  Soon the seedlings come and it is no longer a barren clearcut, but it is a brand new forest.

A new forest rising from ashes of a wildfire.

Each year the trees grow and the picture is adorned with deer, turkeys and other wildlife that forage in this new forest.  As a forester I relish the changes I see with each passing year and how our work adds to the picture.  For a forester the picture is never done so we have to appreciate it for what it is at this moment in time.  Most folks have memories of that favorite camping spot in the forest that they went to as a child.  Memories that are so striking and indelible that they cannot imagine them ever changing.  However, these forest change every day.  Mostly slowly, but sometimes in blazing moments.  To the forest the changes are not good or bad, but simply different.  To the forester it is a canvas on which to apply his or her trade.  The forest changes and grows and our pictures change with it.  We may not always agree on what makes beautiful art or a beautiful forest, but I hope as practitioners of the trade we are passionate and dedicated to the process.

I did this watercolor for the children’s book Firestorm In The Forest , a Red Tail Publishing book.

As an artist working in the forest provides an endless source of subjects to paint or draw.  Never stale and always changing.  I never know when I will come across a bear crashing through the brush or a dramatic vista that will make me pause for a minute to take it in.