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#6433974 - 08/31/16 10:51 PM My Summer Vacation Report (lots of pix)
Dave Speer Offline

Registered: 12/27/07
Posts: 4710
Loc: Austin
"What I did over my summer vacation by me."

So in June I took a decoy painting class with Keith Mueller who has won (I believe) every category at the Ward World Championships for decoy carving. I learned a ton from Keith, our main project was a BWT drake inspired by old decoy carver Elmer Crowell who was a master at painting-- and, as Keith said "we're gonna do it like Crowell, but with a little extra paint." It's hard to tell in any one single picture but every feather on this bird is shaded and countershaded with multiple colors and values of paint.

That teal was a 40+ hr paint job so for stress relief, Keith usually teaches an antique in parallel. When your shoulders and neck are sore and your eyes are feeling squinty, it's a lot of fun to take a decoy and beat it on gravel, take a torch to it, etc. Here is the Franklin's Gull from class.

When I got back home, I was fired up about what I learned painting, but also a little burned out. I enjoyed doing the antique bird so much that I did a couple of contemporary antique doves.

Then I managed to remove half of my thumbnail after a several hour long session of hand sanding some stone sculptures one day. And to be honest as much as I like making ducks, I needed a break. So I started several projects, some of which are still not done. I did a lot of carving while my sanding thumb healed, and as such didn't paint birds for a little while since none were ready. This project is still in exactly this state, needs finish carving, sanding and paint. "Fish City."

The evening after I roughed out fish city, I had fish on the brain and wanted to try something; this is painted and carved... relieved only... the blacks are all low spots. It's basically a painting with just a touch of 3D. "Fish Cuz."

Ok let me not get too far off topic, here's some more ducks.

Gaddie head:

Picklehead decoys:

Redhead hen:

#6433975 - 08/31/16 10:51 PM Re: My Summer Vacation Report (lots of pix) [Re: Dave Speer]
Dave Speer Offline

Registered: 12/27/07
Posts: 4710
Loc: Austin
Did I say I wasn't gonna get off topic? Well for me it's all on topic, it's all wildlife art, and part of what I love to do when I'm not actually IN the outdoors.

Here is a green phase Brazilian soapstone fish carving I did, mounted on mesquite. While being just a generic fish riding a riverbed, it lives now in a very appropriate home, trout capital of the world, Bozeman, Montana.

And another diversion, "Tails UP!"

Being a moderator, it's hard for me to say this, but WHAT THIS FORUM NEEDS IS MORE NEKKID LADIES!!! AMIRIGHT?

I have a lot of work to do on her still. It was very rewarding and also frustrating trying to learn enough anatomy to carve her. I think I'll do more, but I have to at least finish this first! She needs LOTS of sanding and smoothing... no, her ribs are not gonna be poky like that when she's done.

... back to the birds... Two bird commission for one of our coastal duck guides:

Crowell-style snipe:

And finally, yes, there are more projects on my workbench in various states, here's a couple more decoys getting glued up. They haven't progressed at all since then, been SO busy!

I hope everyone had a wonderful "summer vacation" and thank you dear eight pound, six ounce, newborn infant Jesus, it's finally HUNTIN SEASON AGAIN!

#6434028 - 09/01/16 12:32 AM Re: My Summer Vacation Report (lots of pix) [Re: Dave Speer]
Fooshman Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 07/26/06
Posts: 14034
Loc: Black Dog, Texas
Looks like you have getting after it. up

Custom Crosses and Plaques

#6434632 - 09/01/16 02:17 PM Re: My Summer Vacation Report (lots of pix) [Re: Dave Speer]
Hogman4127 Offline

Registered: 09/23/13
Posts: 645
Work of art.

#6435391 - 09/02/16 06:01 AM Re: My Summer Vacation Report (lots of pix) [Re: Hogman4127]
Dave Speer Offline

Registered: 12/27/07
Posts: 4710
Loc: Austin
Originally Posted By: Hogman4127
Work of art.


#6446787 - 09/10/16 05:45 PM Re: My Summer Vacation Report (lots of pix) [Re: Dave Speer]
Dave Speer Offline

Registered: 12/27/07
Posts: 4710
Loc: Austin
How I spent the teal opener! I will get out for teal in a few days but I wanted to get this done and avoid some crowds. This is a frond decoy- as in palm frond. They're pretty popular in California, kinda like the buoy ducks are on the east coast, a local tradition. There is a highly contested palm frond decoy contest every year out in California, and next year at the Ward World Decoy Championship there will be a frond category for the first time.

#6446970 - 09/10/16 08:22 PM Re: My Summer Vacation Report (lots of pix) [Re: Dave Speer]
garrett Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 01/19/06
Posts: 10342
Your painting is looking good
Dear Ag2015, please assume this post is a joke and is not to be taken serious

#6447702 - 09/11/16 03:04 PM Re: My Summer Vacation Report (lots of pix) [Re: Dave Speer]
Sniper John Offline

Registered: 08/31/05
Posts: 16800
Loc: North Texas
I am truly amazed at how far your decoy art has come. Though I should not be. I took Dave out to kill his first ducks a very long time ago. Later in return he surprised me with a box of fly fishing flies made from those very ducks. I started fly fishing when I was 8 years old and let me tell y'all those flies where the work of an artist. I did fish with one of them, but it was a special fishing trip it was reserved for. The others I can't bring myself to use and will use them in some future shadow box. Keep up the great work Dave. Someday your decoys will be featured in collector books.


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