Sunday, December 5, 2010

Raven Jewelry - New Pendant!

What is it about Ravens and Crows I find so captivating?  To tell the truth, I didn't even realize how many of my designs were based upon the Raven until a customer pointed it out to me at an art fair!  I had Raven paintings, Raven sculptures, and Raven jewelry all around me!  Okay.  So I like them.  Something about their group intellect appeals to me - it's fascinating!

 My Raven Ring has been so well-received, that I was inspired to adapt the design to a pendant, presented to you here.  I strung this one on a very simple black leather cord, with an adjustable knot that allows you to change the length it hangs, although many chains & neckwires will fit through the sculpted bail on the back.
 Raven Pendant - approx 43 mm long

As with the Raven Ring, this pendant is crafted in sterling silver, with black onyx eyes.  The price of silver has been climbing steadily, but currently this piece sells for $225.  Call me personally at the studio to place an order for one: (505) 296-1400  ~OR~ email me at David (at)  (Don't include your credit card numbers in the email ... it's not safe!)   I'll start on yours right away!


Friday, May 21, 2010

Painting: Buffalo Spirit

This is actually a painting I did many, many years ago. I'm not usually prone to hang on to paintings I complete - They only serve their purpose when they are in the hands of a collector, where they can be seen out in public. But this one marked a turn in a new direction for me, in a theme that still inspires me ... so I've hung on to it! Now I'm ready to progress in the medium of painting again, instead of just limiting myself to jewelry and sculpture, and so I think it appropriate to find this piece a new home.

UPDATE:  This piece now has a new home!

Buffalo Spirit - 24" X 48"
I played around a bit with negative space turning into positive space - illustrating the concept that current reality, that which we can see and hear, is only an illusion created from whole-cloth imagination. The space, stars and planets represent the void from which we create ourselves, and the "gate" below hinting at a different reality.

Buffaloes (actually, bison to be technically correct) have always been a favorite subject. One of my customers once told me that they had heard of them referred to as "Whales of the Earth", because of their size and power. I liked that. It communicates to me.

It's 2 feet by 4 feet, a size and shape I like a lot, and it's acrylic on canvas. Here's a secret about this piece: When I painted it, I was a poor, skinny starving artist - so I repainted over an existing painting I wasn't really happy with. The other painting, "Sorcerer's Apprentice", was a bit too comic-bookish and hokey compared to the vision for this piece, Buffalo Spirit. Having no money for canvas, I painted over the first painting. I had previously photographed the original painting, so here it is for you to see:

Buffalo Spirit now belongs to my son, but if you'd like to see more of my paintings, keep an eye out for future posts to this blog! Call me at the studio at (505) 296-1400 if you'd like to see any of my available works currently available in the studio. You can also email me for more details: David (at)


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Painting: Raven Matrix

My primary medium, art jewelry, has often given me pause when working with the beautiful stones at my disposal. I love the matrix patterns found in turquoise stones, and have often wondered what they would look like in a larger scale. This gave rise to the bright idea of doing large paintings that would look like huge stones to grace your living spaces, just as the small gems grace your body. This is the first painting done in this theme: Raven Matrix

Actual size, 20" X 24"
I modeled the color and matrix patterns after one of my favorite stones: Carico Lake Turquoise from Lander County, Nevada. As I was sketching some guidelines to paint the matrix, I noticed a pattern that looked a lot like a raven in flight ... so, I pursued that theme and enhanced it! I like ravens.

To enhance the idea that it was a large cut gemstone, I did the painting on a Convexo canvas, one that is stretched over rounded stretcher bars, so the edges would be beveled like a cabochon-cut stone. I also limited the gloss varnish to the turquoise-colored areas, because the softer matrix stone seldom takes a polish like turquoise itself.

The painting is 20" X 24", and is ready to hang - no frame needed. The asking price is $1200, and you can have me ship it to you by calling me here at the studio: (505) 296 -1400. I haven't figured out how to do giclee reproduction prints yet, because of the beveled edges, so this one is it! It's also the first one in the series, so let me know if you have something else in mind - I'll be glad to work with you. Watch this space for other stones, too!



The USS ALBUQUERQUE (SSN 706) is the second United States Warship to be named after Albuquerque, New Mexico. The first was USCGS ALBUQUERQUE (PF-7), a patrol frigate commissioned in December 1943.
The current USS ALBUQUERQUE (SSN 706), a nuclear powered fast attack submarine of the LOS ANGELES class, was constructed at Electric Boat Shipyard in Groton, Connecticut. She was launched on March 13, 1982, and commissioned on May 21, 1983. ALBUQUERQUE is the nineteenth ship in the class and carries a complement of 127 (12 officers, 115 enlisted), all highly trained professionals in their respective fields.

On the occasion of her commissioning, the Mayor of Albuquerque at the time, the Hon. Harry Kinney, wanted to give a meaningful gift to the crew of the city's namesake. The idea was to create custom-made bronze belt buckles for every crew member.

I was lucky enough to win the bid to design and make the buckles for each of the crew, bearing a banner proclaiming his status as a "Plank Owner"--i.e., one of the original crew serving on the boat when she was commissioned. The idea is that eventually, when the boat is finally decommissioned, each of those crew members would be entitled to a plank from her deck.

"PLANK OWNER" version
Mayor Kinney evidently had quite a sense of humor. At the ship's commissioning on May 21, 1983, the Mayor also presented a set of keys for a new Rolls Royce to the Commanding Officer. The first skipper to pilot the submarine up the Rio Grande to Albuquerque for a port visit will win this prize! At each Change of Command these keys are turned over to the new Commanding Officer by the Mayor or his representative.

The City also asked me to make a version without the banner, that they could buy and distribute to dignitaries, VIP's and the family and friends of the crew members, as well as for some subsequent crew members who would serve in the future. I still make these buckles, and you can order one directly from me here in Albuquerque.

Actual size = about 3 1/4" long
The wearing of Dolphins is a longstanding naval tradition. Earning Dolphins is a significant event in a submariner's career; a special high point that instills tremendous personal pride and a sense of accomplishment. Just as wings signify an aviator, the dolphins signify a submariner who has earned them through a rigorous qualification process; hence, my design idea was to flank the ship's crest with dolphins, and frame the buckle with the ship's name and number.

Computers were not yet in common use back in 1983! I carved the original at twice-size, and reduced it with a complicated 3-dimensional pantograph machine, followed by meticulous detailing under a microscope by hand. The buckles are cast by the lost-wax process in a jewelers' bronze alloy, which resists tarnishing and has a remarkably rich golden color. I finish each buckle by a series of hand processes, rather than the mass-finishing techniques employed by mass-producers, so the finished result is almost sculpture-to-wear.

Soon, the buckles will be featured along with many others on my sister website, Masterpiece Buckles dot com. It's not active yet, so in the meantime, you can order them by calling me here at the studio: (505) 296-1400. The price is $125., plus $11 priority mail shipping & handling. Give me a few weeks to fill your order, as each buckle is handcrafted to order.