Woodcut: King of the Blues

A woodcut marathon this weekend!

Working for the first time on MDF board, I completed an artist proof hand pull of an image that I almost did as a small linocut, and I am so glad I took the plunge with larger MDF board!

“King of the Blues” is my tribute to not only B.B. King, but to his (and my) home state of Mississippi. The blues were born in the Mississippi Delta, and many of the greatest blues musicians were as well. By using the shape of the state as the borderlines for the main image, I tried to convey that feeling of coming forth from it.

King of the Blues Woodcut

King of the Blues Woodcut

Now, as this was the first time I used MDF board, let’s discuss its pros and cons…


  • Inexpensive for it’s size (a 24×48 board ran me less than $10)
  • Very easy to carve and cut
  • Absorbs ink well


  • Dulls your blades quickly
  • Absorbs ink TOO well
  • Difficult to seal, as it absorbs so well
  • Seems somewhat brittle at times, especially if you dig to deep

So clearly, it would seem that I think the pros outweigh the cons, but here is the thing, I enjoyed it.

This image will ultimately be a limited print. I pulled a few section tests on butcher paper and then one Artist Proof test on 20×33 inch, 140lbs watercolor paper. The butcher paper was continually coming back lacking full saturation, and I felt that was the fault of the paper and the wood.

However, when I got ready to pull the first Artist Proof, I found that the MDF board was soaking the ink up as an amazing rate. I ended up using more ink that I ever have before and was actually worried that I still did not have enough on it. As you can see from the above image, I may not have. But, this is also the fault of my pressing method, which involves a rolling pin and body weight.

What I found interesting was my first worry proved false; that the wood would resist the ink due to the shellac layer I used to seal the design down. Nope, but again I wonder if this was part of the spray shellac I used or the MDF’s high absorption rate.

Currently I am planning on making a few adjustments, those include thinning my ink slightly and pre-watering the paper. Both of these methods combined should raise the absorption rate of the paper, but may do the same to the wood. Anyone out there with MDF experience feel free to drop me a line and share your experiences or techniques.

That said, I did get a little crazy with the inking, and inked WELL outside of the image area. I have to do some cleaning up outside of the outline. The above print was large, larger than anything I have done, and I ended up getting a little assistance in placement from my wife.

After I clean it up some, I have a novel way of printing the run, and will start that with just a little research.

It may be offered as a limited print, the size of which will be determined by how long the wood cut lasts. I really don’t think its lifespan will stretch much into the double digits, and I’ll be ecstatic if I can get a run of 10 after another Artist Proof.

If you would like to be informed when the run is available for purchase, including prices and other information, feel free to let me know in the comments and I will start updates as soon as they are available.



Mr. Sipp, The Mississippi Blues Child: July 4th, 2014


Mr Sipp performing at the Bottleneck Blues Bar in Vicksburg, Mississippi. 07/04/14


A few weeks ago, on the 4th of July, I was asked to photograph the latest of the Vicksburg Blues Society’s Heritage Music Series. Above you can see one of those images…  Mr. Sipp, the Mississippi Blues Child, performing at the Bottleneck Blues Bar inside the Ameristar Casino in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Mr. Sipp, aka Castro Coleman, is a blues musician born in McComb, Mississippi. His electric and fun show has been hailed a one of the best on the music scene and he is the winner of the 2014 International Blues Challenge.  Find out more and listen to some of his music on his website: http://www.mrsippthemississippiblueschild.com

Thanks to Shirley Waring and the Vicksburg Blues Society for the opportunity to photograph this great performer.

The London Branch Trio, June 29th, 2014

London Branch Trio, June 29, 2014 group shot   Shirley Waring of the Vicksburg Heritage League asked me to shoot the Milt Hinton Memorial Jazz Concert this past Sunday and I had a blast. Dr. London Branch on bass, Chris Parker on piano, guest drummer Chad Anderson and guest vocalist Kelley Hunter. Wonderful evening with some spectacular musicians. A select few images can be located on my Flickr account. Happy 4th if July and God Bless! Stacy

Bryan Lee, The Braille Blues Daddy

Bryan Lee 062814 guitar vocals

Thanks to the Vicksburg Heritage League and the Vicksburg Blues Society, I was offered the opportunity to photograph a few concerts this past weekend. Thanks again to Shirley Waring, I had a blast and hope you like the images.

The above image is from legendary the Bryan Lee concert at the Bottleneck Blues Bar in Vicksburg, MS. The Bottleneck is located in Ameristar casino, and if you have the chance to visit it, one of the best blues clubs in the South.

Bryan Lee, aka Braille Blues Daddy, is a 2008 BMA nominee, a 2010 Grammy nominee and a 2011 BMA recipent. It was a great show, and if he is every in your area you can’t go wrong catching it.

More images at my Flickr account.

Thanks for stopping by. More Concert pictures later this week. God Bless.


National Go Skateboard Day

Young Skater in the Bowl

I honestly did not know it was National Go Skateboard Day this past June 21st.

To me, it was me and the wife’s eleventh anniversary. Eleven years that she has put  up with me, I am married to a beautiful saint.

Young Skater Before

Anyway, we had been up at a local bookstore when we ran into an old friend of mine that I see on average about once every few years, in the same books store.  We caught up a bit, and he invited me to come out to his place and check out his shop where he sculpts, and I told him to text me. A little while later, I get the text and the wife okays me to meet him up at  the local skate park.

Young Skater in the Bowl 2

The park was packed, as you may expect on National Go Skateboard Day, and one of the last bands was playing so we could barely hear each other talk. I had my kit with me, including my lens that decides not to focus at odd times. Tonight was one of those, I figured that the images were all going to be a wash, but after a while inpost the next morning, I salvaged three of the skater Cameron Caloss. Maybe I can salvage more later in the week.

Hope y’all like ’em.

Be safe and God Bless,


Grindstone Ford and the Natchez Trace, with 120 film

I learned photography on a film camera.

Creek Off the Natchez Trace

Believe it or not, that is something that a lot of photographers I’ve met in the last few years cannot say. I think I covered this before, but my first camera was a little Kodak 110 that was shaped like a block of wood. It had just three settings: portrait, landscape, and group. That little camera was in my back pocket for years before I moved up to a different one. But after I shot on my first Pentax K1000 I knew I was hooked.

Owen's Creek

I’ve gone through a good many SLR and DSLR cameras through the years. I even have a couple of TLR that I love dearly. I have a small collection of cameras, all but one functioning, and a nice set of lenses I can use with each of them.

But lately, I’ve been neglecting my film cameras, actually, photography in general.

The Path at Grindstone Ford

So while I was going through my computer files I found these images. At first glance they look very much like Instagram or Hipstamatic shots, square, grainy, a little yellowish. But they aren’t. I ttok these a little while back with a Kodak Hawkeye Brownie 120 film camera. It’s just about as basic as you can get. When I scanned them, I scanned them big and applied absolutely no filters to them. I have more shots like these, including some done with a little Holga and a Yashica A camera. I’ll upload them at some point also.

Road to Grindstone Ford

I am starting to hear the call of film. Think I’ll hang up the DSLR for a while and go back to basics.

Sara B in 1854

 These images were taken with a Kodak Hawkeye Brownie from the early 1950s. I gave the old camera a good deal of tender loving care and loaded with 120 film, the brand escapes me now. These were taken at the Grindstone Ford historic site off of the Natchez Trace in Mississippi.

I think this asthetic is what I need to go back to. The basics: no batteries or memory cards, just me, the camera, some film, and the road.

Be safe and God bless.