The story behind “Austin Pillar”

Austin Pillar in frame

The original photo for this piece was taken on a trip to Austin for the Waco 52 exhibit. My daughter and I took approximately the same photo and I’m not sure which one of the two I used. The Texas state capitol building in Austin has four porches one facing each of the cardinal directions and they are all identical with these wonderful pillars, topped with white granite. The white really stands out amid all the native pink granite used on the exterior.

One fun fact I learned on that trip, the Texas state capital was not built using State or Federal money. The private company that built it was deeded land in the Texas panhandle in payment for their services. The building is a fabulous example of Doric architecture, soaring ceilings and mahogany wood work. I makes one wonder if they had seen the land they would be getting in return for the job. Only people who have been to the pan handle will get that joke.

I burned this image onto Baltic Birch plywood using the Walnut Hallow versa tool, it took approximately 24 hours. The frame is an antique wood frame I found at a resale shop and cut down to fit.


Who doesn’t like dragons right? I’ve named this guy Percival the Fierce. He wears a band on his tail because he was raised in captivity, but he is a captive no longer. His stance is fierce and defensive, although he has been badly used he is not attacking unless his aggressor comes any closer. The smoke from his nostrils is in preparation for a fight, not the result of burning down a village. On the leather work he guards a map to ancient treasure on the Irish coast. His title is written below him in ancient Celtic with a tiny British knight riding the D. He is not afraid of the knight as demonstrated by the fact that he has not yet turned to face him.

On the paper burning of Percival is seems that the fire he breaths has scorched the very paper that has given him life.

Story behind Leather Ornaments

Leather is one of my favorite things to burn on, the hot tip burns into the surface like a hot knife in butter. It is really satisfying. However, its also a very dirty burn, it builds up soot on the tip quickly and requires frequent cleaning. I usually use an emery board or fine sand paper.

I started doing these ornaments or dangles because I had scrap left over from making large maps of Middle Earth. Every leather worker knows those scraps are way to precious to throw away.

These are available and can be personalized with your town or name if you like. They will also come with a jute or suede strap hanger.

The night I met Henry Sisneros

The former Mayor of San Antonio and Secretary of HUD under Bill Clinton, Henry Sisneros was the keynote speaker for the Cen-Tex Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Waco last night. The Chamber was kind enough to invite local artists to display their work in a silent auction to raise money for their charitable causes. Mr. Sisneros was very interested and we spent about 15 minutes of his precious time explaining Pyrography and how my art comes about.

I guess I could have captured all of that in only one photo, (thank you Brian Broadway for capturing this ultra cool moment on his camera), but I decided to share all five pictures because it shows how much Mr. Sisneros and I were talking with our hands.

It was a wonderful evening and his key note address informed me of many wonderful things to come in Waco, situated as it is in the economic power triangle of Dallas, Austin and Houston, we can get involved and the Hispanic Chamber is very much involved, or we will get left far far behind.

If you have yet to visit Waco, or have not in a long time, come on down, I think you will be surprised in a very good way. You might even find a piece of Pyrography you like.

Texas Strong

Working at the studio

I’m really getting into this piece. The Austin Rotunda is a marvelous piece of architecture! I’ve dedicated this burning to the spirit of community and cooperation felt state wide and even neighboring states who came to the rescue of Houston and surrounding areas in the flood of 2017.


Introducing Cultivate 7twelve

My studio morphed, it was only temporary with Creative Waco in the lovely building at 712 Austin Ave in downtown Waco. We had a fabulously wonderful month. As incredible as it was there was a black cloud of doubt about the future hanging over us. Then this precious couple Rebekah and Jeremy Hagman stepped into the building and fell in love with it. They took a gamble and have bravely stepped into the Art scene of Waco and said into the night, “We want to light a candle here.” September was a month of hard work, elbow grease, paint, and fumbling steps giving birth to Cultivate 7twelve. A place to display and celebrate local Waco Art, hand crafts, food, friends, and many more days of joy. I will be there at the top of the stairs, and I hope you will find us.

Sky Screamer

Sky Screamer in Frame

Photo taken by Abigail Wilson at Six Flags over Texas of San Antonio

A study in negative space. I wanted to challenge myself and see if this would look as cool as the photograph. Looking up at this angle throws the balance off ever so slightly and gives me the slight feeling of the whirling ride. The mind is allowed to fill in the blanks where the cables should be giving the viewer that sense of freedom and fear we love so much about these rides.

Burned on Strathmore Bristol board paper with the Walnut Hallow versa tool.

Waco’s Water Works Building

A now defunct and derelict building sits beside the Brazos River.  At one time it was a restaurant and a gentlemen’s club of some reputation. now just another lonely structure almost immediately beneath a bridge, but it has these amazing architectural elements. There are six of these cement pillars in front by the stairs to the main entrance. And this window sits up at the peak of the roof with its twin on the opposite end of the building. A train caboose sticks out of the building on the street side completing the picture. Hopefully these elements will not be lost to decay and will be resurrected into a thriving business. Until then I will continue to stare as I pass by and make the effort to visit when I can.

The story behind this Waco font

Waco logo


When I first moved to the Waco area I fell in love with the architecture. Not a subject that I know very much about, but it seems that Waco’s style has been preserved through the years instead of updated. That suites me just fine. Everywhere you go there are hidden gems and interesting elements. In search of some of the history of Waco a friend pointed me to the Sanborn maps online. The Sanborn company mapped cities back in the day and may still do for the fire departments. I found the maps of Waco from 1899 and this fancy Waco font was their front fly leaf cover. I knew I had to imitate it for my Waco Board. More about this board later.

The story behind Abounding Joy

Abounding Joy
Abounding Joy For More Details Click

I burned this piece over a year ago and it is still one of my favorites, as you can see because it is the opening image on my website. Originally a Portuguese motivational poster, I have no idea what it said, Google’s translation was more confusing than helpful. I just love the playfulness of these children. It makes me happy.  I had a bunch of cousins that enjoyed getting together and we always had fun, this reminds me of those times.

On the technical side, this is burned on Strathmore Bristol board paper a kind of very thin slick card board like poster board, using the Walnut Hallow versa tool, a shading tip.  As I worked the piece, I started with the boy on the right and worked across to the left. The face on the child to the left was my greatest challenge. something just did not look right at first. While burning on wood its possible, not easy, but possible to scrape the burn off to some degree and start over, but not on paper. Paper gets burned all the way through and I was afraid I would have to start over completely. Then I realized why my first pass was not working out, the problem was easy to fix and it saved the piece from the trash bin. So not only is this one of my favorite images, it is also a personal success and very satisfying when People come up and admire it.