Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Custom Radiator Cover by Joel Runyan

When we contracted Joel Runyan to make a custom radiator cover that matched the others in our house we got more than we bargained for.  A neighbor who had custom mouldings made for their house recommended Joel to us.  When Joel came over to discuss our project he mentioned that he makes everything by hand.  But I didn't truly understand what that meant until I visited his studio.

The day I visited Joel was working on the slats for the radiator cover.  I watched in awe as he sawed a thin strip from a 1 by 6 plank and then hand-planed it to the perfect size and curvature of our existing slats.  I couldn't believe how well they matched!  We had done previous projects where we ordered custom mouldings that came close, but Joel's were an exact replica! 

(click image to enlarge)

I was also fascinated by all the old saws, chisels and vintage tools in Joel's studio.   Plus I got to meet Fatty and Mr. Lincoln, two beautiful and friendly orange and grey tabbies.  Fatty was so friendly I could hardly take a photo without him nudging my hand.  Plus I discovered Joel has a background in music theory and is working on a book about Bach... a true polymath! 

We had a wonderful experience working with Joel.  If you have a project you would like to discuss with him you can contact him at

A special thanks to our friend Tim who painted the radiator cover.  Tim, your hand-working and generous nature never ceases to amaze.  Thank you!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Street Banner Designs

Last month I was asked to design the street banners for North Avondale.  Their main request was that the banners reflect the recent artworks mural shown below.  The verdict is still out right now as to their favorite but I think they are leaning toward the above design.  I will post later which one they choose.  Which one is your favorite? 

Artworks Mural in North Avondale

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Newport Aquarium - Sketching/Photography

As I mentioned in my previous post I always feel torn between sketching and taking photos.  But sometimes I don't have a choice and this was the case with the octopus.  The octopus lives in a very dark room and I didn't bring my tripod so sketching was the only option.

The opposite was true of the puffer fish above.  He (or she) was moving around so much it was easier to take a photo.  Although I am always impressed how my sketching buddies are able to quickly render animals that won't sit still.  I think it involves a certain amount of creativity.  You have to guess how it would look if it were still and sometime you get it right and sometimes not so much.  It is something I know I need to work on and the penguins below gave me a chance.  They at least sat still for me for a minute or so before moving.

I also like to find time between photos and sketches to just enjoy the experience.  It was so nice at the end of our trip to sit and watch the penguins waddle about and swim and enjoy the company of good friends (both penguin and human).  All in all a very good trip.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Newport Aquarium - Anemone

Last week I went to the aquarium for a sketching adventure with my friends Christina, Amy and Monica.  We had a great time oohing and aahing over all the wonderful creatures there.  I was having a hard time settling in on what to draw and am always torn between taking photos and sketching.  But when I came across these incredible orange anemones I knew I had to draw them. 

I have a crazy love of all things that radiate from a central void so of course I love them for that reason.  But I also can't get over their soft, bulbous arms swaying in the current.  And just look at the amazing color! Plus their construction is so interesting.  The way that finger is poking through the filamentous skirt in the photo above is too cool!

I had so many photos and sketches that I had to divide them into two posts.  Check back in a few days for more aquarium fun!