Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ups and downs

In the past few days there's been some really good stuff going on, and some not so great stuff. Saturday morning the alarm went off at 4:30 (not so good) but it was the start of another trip to Billings for another class with Jan Schoonover. It was a beautiful day for a 300 mile drive across North Dakota and Montana. When I left home, I could just make out the shapes of a herd of mule deer grazing in our hayfields. By the time I got to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, it was light enough to see several large herds of buffalo and elk grazing close to the interstate. I stopped to take a few pictures, but they didn't turn out all that great. After I got going again, there were more elk in a draw that would have made really great pictures, but I figured I couldn't stop every half mile or I'd never get there. There were also wild horses, deer and turkeys out grazing on the new shoots of green grass that are just starting to grow. Made getting up that early feel a little more worth it. The farther west I went, the greener it got. Montana is just pretty most any time I drive through it with all it's different landscapes, river bottoms, badlands, rim rock hills, the foot hills of the mountains off in the distance. Another really nice thing about Montana, there wasn't any wind. I'm surprised North Dakota hasn't blown right off the map these past couple weeks!

I arrived at Jan's house around 10:30 in the morning. Our project for the weekend was a pronghorn antelope. I've done an antelope with Jan before, but we are working on a project together and this is the first step. I was busy taking pictures and notes AND trying to keep up, but kept falling behind. We ended up working until about 8:30 Saturday evening. We got all the carving, hairing and most of the embossing embossing finished up.
Here's how my antelope looked at the end of the first day. On Sunday we finished up the putty in the scars and behind the horns, did some touch up work and painted our antelope. Well, Jan painted his and I watched, taking lots of pictures and notes. I always fall behind during the painting so I wanted to just watch what he was doing. When he was finished, he said "now it's your turn". I did start on mine, but I kept noticing there were some things about my antelope I didn't like so Jan showed me how to fix them. That's the really nice part about a class like that. Jan has done so many of these, he knows how to fix most any mistake. I'll try and get my painting finished one of these days.

Here's what Jan's antelope looks like finished, and mine not finished :o)

Last time I was at Jan's, he tried to sell me a picture he had done a couple years ago of two wolves. It's a really nice picture. Stacy and I both like it a lot, but it was a large picture and we just don't have a place for it. So this time when I was there, Jan offered to sell me a smaller version of the same picture. This is one he did back in 1997 and had hanging in his workshop. So now I have a new addition to my collection.

So all of that went pretty well. Then I get an email from Brent Howard last night telling me my grizzly bear didn't fare so well on his trip to the show in Indiana this coming weekend. I've had a pretty sick feeling in my stomach ever since. I thought I had it packed well enough to withstand anything the post office could throw at it, but I guess I underestimated them. Somehow the picture came loose from the frame and the nails on the back of the frame scratched up the front of the picture. Brent sent me some pictures of it, and it's not terrible, but it's not good either. Hopefully I'll be able fix it again when it gets back home.

Okay, that's it for now.

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